Predatory publishers are taking over LinkedIn. They are using it to spam for article submissions to their low-quality journals and to make themselves look like legitimate businesses. They are abusing the social network, but little or nothing is being done to stop them.
LinkedIn is supposed to be a social networking site for professionals, especially those offering or seeking employment. However, it’s being taken over by marketers, especially those for predatory open-access journals.
Many individual journals create LinkedIn profiles intended only for people, sending “invitations” to connect on LinkedIn. They use LinkedIn as a free spam platform, luring researchers to submit manuscripts to their pay-to-publish journals.
Moreover, the editors of many predatory journals have set up personal profiles and use them to offer quick and easy publishing in the open-access journals they are associated with.
Previously, I have written about predatory publishers creating fake personae to market their quick and easy scholarly publishing, pirating pictures of attractive people to illustrate their profiles and then sending messages to researchers also on the site.
Now, predatory journals are creating accounts for the journals themselves, accounts that are supposed to be for people, not business entities.
I’ve used the “Report” feature on LinkedIn to alert the website administrators to these predatory publishers masquerading as people, but I’ve seen no evidence that this has had any effect. LinkedIn doesn’t police its accounts, apparently.
Some predatory publishers set up profiles as businesses on LinkedIn, using the network to make themselves look legitimate and boost their SEO. The result is that many LinkedIn business accounts are mere scammers and international mafia.
LinkedIn is enabling corrupt business practices, the pollution of science communication, and predatory publishers. Its value as a social networking site for professionals is decreasing. □
Appendix: Key to the images.
Science Publishing Group publishes 280 predatory journals.