The TR Master Journal List is not a Journal Whitelist

Investigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa (IEDEE

Overstated.

The Thomson Reuters Master Journal List is not a journal whitelist and should not be used as one. Numerous low-quality and predatory journals are announcing their inclusion in this list as a mark or guarantee of quality, fooling many.

The purpose of the list is to serve as a comprehensive list of journals included in at least one of 24 different journal indexes produced by Thomson Reuters. If a journal is included in one or more of these indexes, it appears in the master list.

This is a problem because the barrier for entry into some of the Thomson Reuters indexes is very low. Take the index called Zoological Record, for example. It includes over 4700 journals, including many predatory journals that are unworthy of being included in any quality scholarly index.

TR Master List

Don’t be fooled by this list.

The journal shown in the top image above, Investigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa (IEDEE) is an example. It provides misleading information about the TR Master List.

On its home page, the journal declares,

IEDEE newly added [sic] to THOMSON REUTERS MASTER JOURNAL LIST

The Master Journal List includes all journal titles covered in Web of Science (WoS). This means that articles published in the journal will be searchable, discoverable and citable in Web of Science.

This is somewhat misleading. It’s included in one of Thomson Reuters easiest databases to get into, its Emerging Sources Citation Index.

Here’s a screenshot of the journal’s entry on the TR Master List:

TR Master List coverage

The whole truth.

As you see, according to the entry, it’s only included in Emerging Sources Citation index, a list I’ve documented as containing junk journals.

I encourage all ministries of education, all universities and colleges, all academic departments, and all funding agencies to stop using the Thomson Reuters Master List as a measure of quality.

The list is filled with dozens or hundreds of low-quality and predatory journals. Using this list as a quality indicator actually promotes the lower quality, open-access journals included in it, for it serves as advertising for them, drawing in authors seeking easy and fast acceptance of their article submissions.

30 Responses to The TR Master Journal List is not a Journal Whitelist

  1. IndRes says:

    Then you are asking Universities,Colleges to use this blog as whitelist.How authentic it could be ?

  2. Clifford Dacso, MD says:

    The forest is getting thicker. The number of journals that would populate a white list seems significantly smaller than predators. As long as there is money in publishing and quantity of publications weighs heavily in the academic advancement process, predatory OA will continue to be a growth industry. TR has the same incentive as Omics Publishing group — maximize corporate value. This is not necessarily a bad thing — but it is one more factor. Thanks once again to Beall for his vigilance.

  3. Ghazal says:

    Dear Mr Beall
    I believe ISI team has already been aware that their Master database contains many predatory journals and they have planned to introduce new indexes such as ESCI index, which is another attempt for hosting many predatory journals. Apparently they are in rush for including many journals and recently stop updating the web page that includes their recent journals’ selections as follows,
    http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/cgi-bin/jrnlst/jlcovchanges.cgi?PC=EX
    The main reason is because the list could be a source of investigation for people like you and make them look bad. I also recommend universities to choose Scimago ranking system as it reflects a better image on journals listed on Scopus. You can hardly find a predatory journal ranked Q1 in this list and most of the predatory journals are ranked Q4. The funny thing is that ISI JCR list has included many Q4 low quality journals such as “South African Journal of Industrial Engineering” and at the same time they have refused to include many Q1 journals.

  4. Hi Jeffrey,
    Thanks once again for your thoughtful contribution. I would like to ask you to consider one changes with your next post. When you attach a link with the text, would it be possible to select ‘Open in new tab/window’? Currently, when we click any link, your original post disappears. Many times, I lost original posts from the browser.

    • MC says:

      Press Ctrl and left click, or right click and choose ‘Open in new tab” in Chrome. Similar keystrokes exist in other browsers.

  5. Clearly, if the list includes journals Predatory, it is because TR favors it. Ultimately, the problem is not the list: the cause is the business model and its modes of scientific validation. This must change, otherwise, we will continue with such complaints.

    • Gary Williams says:

      Until our governments are convinced that certain sectors of society are too important to be left to the vagaries of the marketplace, then academia – like healthcare – will suffer from the parasitic intrusion of people who have no real understanding or consideration for the quality and accessibility of the various products they trade in.

  6. SH says:

    Do you mean that IEDEE is a predatory journal? I was under the impression that it was an Elsevier journal…

  7. Teshome Sirak says:

    Hello Dear professor, I like your concern but it is becoming difficult to get non-predator journals because ethically acceptable journal in one day maybe do unethical practice in another day. so how can we solve? pls I need your advise.

  8. […] The TR Master Journal List is not a Journal Whitelist Jeffrey Beall […]

  9. Derek Pyne says:

    You write “I encourage all ministries of education, all universities and colleges, all academic departments, and all funding agencies to stop using the Thomson Reuters Master List as a measure of quality.”
    I don’t disagree with you. However, the problem goes well beyond this list. Many university business schools, including my own, use the Australian Business Deans Council journal ranking to judge faculty. It includes several journals on your list, which are usually ranked C but in some cases are ranked B. I have even heard that some are ranked A, but I have not been able to personally verify any A rankings that are also on your list.

  10. The website of the ‘Journal of Global Health’ ( http://www.jogh.org/ ) has a blue square with the text ‘Unofficial Impact Factor (2014) 5.083’.

    I fail to understand what this means. The journal is not listed at https://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals/ and I am also unable to locate the publisher (‘Edinburgh University Global Health Society’) at https://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/

    • herr doktor bimler says:

      The ‘Unofficial Impact Factor’ square has been removed from the JoGH site, though I could see it on older copies of the site in the Internet Archive.
      I am given to understand that journals sometimes calculate a UIF because the noddies at Thomson-Reuters are taking too long to calculate an *official* IF; it is a kind of reversed-engineered version. When the value is described as “unofficial”, that is to say the journal’s own estimation, I can’t see any intent to deceive.

      • Thanks alot for your information. The internet archive (www.web.archive.org) shows that a blue square with the text ‘Unofficial Impact Factor’ was cached for the first time on 13 October 2014. The text in the blue square in this cached version lists ‘Unofficial Impact Factor (2013) 3.208’. This was still the case in the cached version of 7 April 2015.

        A cached version of 8 May 2015 lists ‘Unoffcial Impact Factor (2014) 5.083’. This was still the case on 30 April 2016. The situation of yesterday (1 May 2016) and of today (2 May 2016) is similar to the situation in the first half of 2014 (no blue square with details about an ‘Unofficial Impact Factor’, for the last time cached on 17 May 2014).

  11. Ghazal says:

    The Thomson Reuters firm has created several Slumdog Millionaires in the past. International Journal of Current Life Sciences (http://bretj.com/journals/view/ijcls), for instance, is a journal that received Zoological Record and placed its name on The Thomson Reuters Master Journal List. Shortly after, they managed to publish literally hundreds of papers with no peer review per months. Only in October, 2015, they published 500+ articles pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars from different countries. Although the journal was delisted from The Thomson Reuters Master Journal List, but a short period of 6-12 months was enough for a young Indian guy to get rich and became a Slumdog Millionaire. The funny thing is that many US universities give credit to an article published in a journal listed on Thomson Reuters Master Journal List while many countries black list several journals listed on this list.
    If you have recently visited Thomson Reuters you will see that most of their links are not working, for instance you may wish to request information about processing of a journal using the following link
    http://ip-science.thomsonreuters.com/info/jrneval-status/
    it will tell you ISI team will give you feedback in 7 business days but they will never do that. Their customer relationship management is very poor. This index has to be boycotted by universities all around the world. Australian government releases a while list, Scimago gives ranking system for journals listed on Scopus and I believe other universities and countries must initiate their own list and breaks the monopoly of Thomson Reuters money making business. Thomson Reuters’s careless activities have ruined science in many developing countries. Their evaluation system is very bias. In my area of research they have included many journals originated in US in their JCR list. International Journal of Industrial Engineering : Theory Applications and Practice ISSN: 10724761 published by University of Cincinnati is an example of it. This journal has never published any highly cited papers or any high quality articles. According to Scimago, it has never become Q1. However, this item was listed on their list. In my opinion, this journal is listed in their database because it is associated with University of Cincinnati. No mater it has no granted supported article, no highly cited paper, etc., the journal is listed on JCR list and at the same time, Thomson Reuters refuses to include journals with high quality, highly cited articles in the same area for no good reason. This simply means their method is bias. On Thomson Reuters website, we read the firm makes several billion dollars of revenue. I believe they manage to make such money because of the monopoly business they have made on their business model.
    Thanks to Beal’s blog, we are now able to make good awareness about unethical list such as Thomson Reuters Master list.

  12. Michel says:

    E-mail To

    Prof. Dr. Claudia-Neptina Manea
    Ovidius University of Constanta, Romania

    Greetings

    Accept appreciation from my side, you are the editor-in-chief of The Journal of Social Sciences Research (URL:http://arpgweb.com/?ic=journal&journal=7&info=edit). I have an inquiry about the indexation of that journal. As you are the Editor-in-Chief is it possible for you can provide us the indexation link of your journal for the following sources and your journal claims that indexation.

    1. J-Gate
    2. Slide Share
    3. ResearchGate
    4. Polska Bibliografia Naukowa
    5. SHERPA/RoMEO
    6. Citeulike

    According to my investigation, your journal is not indexed in above listed sources. If in case, I am right you are cheating with researcher by showing the wrong indexation.

    Regards

    Michel

    • mi says:

      Reply from Neptina Manea

      Dear Michel,

      The ARPG team has answered my email regarding the links that proved the indexation of the journal. They asked me to redirect you and your inquiry to them, so that they can answer all of your questions in an adequate manner (as I told you before, my position with the journal is more of a honorary one – my only involvement is in reviewing papers, I am not involved in any of the administrative subjects). Please send your request of information to them at the following email adresses editor@arpgweb.com ; info@arpgweb.com and I am sure that they will provide all the informations that you need in order for you to see that everything is in order.
      Kind regards,
      Neptina Manea

      —-
      My answer to her

      Thanks for coming back to me. I think you are the editor-in-chief you should check by yourself. This is not an administrative issue and dealing. Do you know that what is editor-in-chief? I am 200% sure the journal is not indexed in that I have listed

      1. J-Gate
      2. Slide Share
      3. ResearchGate
      4. Polska Bibliografia Naukowa
      5. SHERPA/RoMEO
      6. Citeulike

      If it is listed, please provide us the link. This is not a difficult task. In case, if anyone publishes and journal is not indexed that the list is available on the website. You and your team cheating with researchers that’s not good. I think that’s not a good attitude to put blame on the administrative staff and saying that I am working as a honor. Your team is charging USD 200 publication fee. Do you have some ethics?

      ??????????????????????????????????

  13. mi says:

    On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 10:19 PM, neptinal wrote:
    Dear Michel,
    I did check the databases and everything seems legite. You can check it too by simply accesing the databases. I found it there without any problems.
    For any further inquiry, please contact the ARPG, that will provide the informations needed.
    I did not put any blame on anyone, I just explained what my work is at the journal.
    I don’t charge anything for my work from anyone (my work is voluntary), so you should talk to those that do if you have any questions on the matter.
    If you are of good faith yourself, as I chose to believe, you will ask the persons I indicated and you will find your answer.
    If you don’t, I can only assume that you have a different agenda (especially since I have no information on you or your affiliation, so you are not a reliable source for me and untill now all your accusations are, to my knowledge, unfounded).
    In both cases, I am not the person you should be talking to.
    Kind regards,
    Neptina Manea
    —————–
    On Wed, May 4, 2016 at 10:26 PM, Editor ARPG wrote:

    Dear Prof. Dev

    Please identify yourself first. Please send your email from your institutional email id.
    After receiving the email from an institutional id we will answer all your questions.

    Regards,
    ANEEL KHAN

    Academic Research Publishing Group
    URL: http://www.arpgweb.com
    Pakistan Office: Rahim Yar Khan, 64200 Punjab, Pakistan
    Germany Office: 47 Kasselbergweg 63619 Bad Orb, Germany
    Email: editor@arpgweb.com ; info@arpgweb.com
    Voice: +92685956757

  14. mi says:

    Dear Jeffrey Beall

    Thanks for your good work. Is it possible for you to ask same question of indexation proof of following to ARPGWEB?

    1. J-Gate

    2. Slide Share

    3. ResearchGate

    4. Polska Bibliografia Naukowa

    5. SHERPA/RoMEO

    6. Citeulike

    There is story for you. They are cheating with the researchers.

    Thanks

  15. Dear all,
    I have described about the Thomson Reuters’ Master Journal List in my post. Take a look here: http://hafizphd.blogspot.my/2014/04/how-to-check-whether-journal-is-listed.html.

  16. Chris says:

    Emerging Sources isn’t actually “easy to get into”.

    Our 20% of our new journals have been accepted in Emerging Sources. Whereas 80% of our total content is in the full ISI.

    As someone who applies to Thomson Reuters regularly, I was actually surprised how tough the criteria was for emerging sources content.

    You’re just making assumptions based on a very simplistic/binary view of the industry.

    The journals you label “predatory” are probably in there because they have the potential to be high-impact, or Thomson Reuters see other potential in them.

    That is, of course the entire point of Emerging Sources – to find journals with high potential, not the finished product

  17. robotplayer says:

    You are looking at it in a very simplistic/binary way

    As someone working for a publisher, with a very in-depth knowledge of how the Thomson Reuters indexes work I find the theory that emerging sources is “easy to get into” a bit odd.

    It’s just as selective as the main index, albeit the criteria is different.

    Remember, the aim of emerging sources is to find journals with high-potential, not finished products. Journals that are high quality, from day 1, go straight into the main index.

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