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Open Access at CBS: Predatory Journals

In this LibGuide you will find everything related to Open Access at Copenhagen Business School. Navigate by clicking on the blue tabs.

Contact info

For questions, please contact Lene Hald and Claus Rosenkrantz Hansen at oa@cbs.dk

Predatory Journals

Further reading

Pulikottil Wilson Vinny, Venugopalan Y. Vishnu, Vivek Lal. "Trends in scientific publishing: Dark clouds loom large", Journal of the Neurological Sciences, Volume 363, 2016, Pages 119-120, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2016.02.040

Jeffrey R. Basford, Allen W. Heinemann. "Predatory Publishing in Rehabilitation. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation", Volume 98, Issue 5, May 2017, Pages 1057-1058, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2017.01.002

"5 tips til at undvige et fuptidsskrift" - article published in Ingeniøren, October 30, 2018 (only in Danish): https://ing.dk/artikel/5-tips-at-undvige-fuptidsskrift-221468

Intro

Predatory Journals

Predatory journals pretend to be legitimate Open Access journals, but in reality their goal is to exploit the Open Access author-pays model, by charging researchers publication fees without providing any of the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals, e.g. quality peer review.

How to spot predatory journals

It can be difficult to spot a predatory journal - click on the tab above to learn how.

The best and simplest advice is to ask your peers if they know about the journal you plan to submit to. If nobody is familiar with the journal, you should proceed with caution and explore further before submitting your manuscript.

Be cautious if...

The number of predatory journals is rising and on the surface it can be difficult to see if a journal is predatory. If you dig a bit deeper, however, there are certain signs that will eventually give them away:

  • Aggressive marketing, including spamming campaigns
  • The title of the journal will often imitate the title of renowned and serious journals
  • The editorial board is made up of researchers of no standing within the scientific scope of the journal – or an, to all appearances, plausible editorial board is comprised of unwitting researchers
  • Unrealistic peer-review timelines
  • False claims that the journal is indexed by well-known citation databases such as Web of Science and Scopus

Questions to help you decide if you should submit your manuscript or not

Does the journal's website make you suspicious?
Check the journal's website. Most predatory journals look professional, but some have websites filled with errors, which should always make you cautious.

Is the journal indexed in Directory of Open Access Journals?
Some predatory journals claim they are indexed in Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), even though they are not. Check the DOAJ website and see if a journal is actually indexed in the database.

Does the journal have a Journal Impact Factor or CiteScore?
Predatory journals might boast impact factors like Journal Impact Factor or CiteScore (see LibGuide on journal metrics and rankings), even if they don't have one.

Does the journal send out spam-like emails inviting you to submit?
Some predatory journals use spam-like marketing campaigns to lure researchers to submitting manuscripts to their journals.

Can you verify the journal's contact information?
Check the journal's contact information. Is the address valid and an actually existing address?

Does the editorial board look genuine and trustworthy?
Look at the editorial board and see if something makes you suspicious. Some predatory journals lists well-established researchers as reviewers and part of the editorial board without their permission.

How is the peer review process described?
Check the description of the journals peer review process - are the peer review timelines realistic, and how do those timelines compare with well-known and genuine journals? If you find articles in the journal with a lot of mistakes and errors, this is also a sign of a poor peer review process, if one has even occurred at all.

What do the previous published issues tell you about the trustworthiness of the journal? 
Predatory journals aim to publish as many articles as possible and thereby generate as much money as possible. They often claim to publish articles that cover all disciplines. If they have a scientific scope, check previous issues and see if the scientific areas covered are exceeding the journal's aim and scope.

Tools to avoid predatory journals

Luckily, good and easy-to-use tools exist. Click on the tabs above to learn about:

  • (check if a journal is blacklisted)
  •  (watch the video and visit the platform for advice and tools)
  •  (directory of Open Access journals)

Before submitting your manuscript to a journal, look up the journal in Cabell's Journal Blacklist and make sure it is not a blacklisted journal.

Click here to access Cabells Journal Blacklist (note that you can only access Cabell's if you are a CBS employee or student).

You can search by title, ISSN or discipline - or you can do an advanced search, where you can search by keyword, publisher, country and/or Open Access.  

About Cabell's Journal Blacklist
Cabell's Journal Blacklist is a list of approximately 11,000 journals that are estimated to be predatory based on more than 60 behavioral indicators. Among other things, the journals are screened for use of misleading metrics, unrealistic peer review time frames, and other irregular publication practices.

Cabell's is transparent in its blacklist criteria, and displays a complete record of when, what and why a journal is blacklisted.

Read more about the blacklist criteria.

Think. Check.Submit is a simple tool that provides you with three easy steps to help you clarify whether to submit to a journal or not; what questions should you ask yourself, and what precautions can you take. Watch the video and look for more information on the webpage: thinkchecksubmit.org.

Conferences can also be scams

Note that also conferences can be predatory. The tool thinkcheckattend.org can help you prevent being scammed into attending a fake conference.

The Bibliometric Research Indicator

You can also use the The Bibliometric Research Indicator (BFI) to verify the legitimacy of a journal. If a journal is indexed in the BFI list, it is most likely not  predatory.

Note that a journal NOT indexed in the BFI-list, can still be a good journal with quality peer review.

Consequences

The consequences of publishing in a predatory journal can be damaging, both economically and in regards to the reputation of the researcher and his/her institution.

Example of consequences:

  • Research is lost: The scientific value of an article published in a predatory journal will not be recognized because of the lack of quality peer review. Moreover, the article can be legally tied to the predatory journal and very difficult to withdraw.
  • Economic consequences: As mentioned above it can be very difficult to withdraw articles published in predatory journals. There are examples of predatory journals that have demanded significant retraction fees from researchers trying to reclaim their articles from the journals.
  • Reputation: It goes without saying but if a researcher by mistake publishes an article in a predatory journal, it is damaging for the reputation of not only the researcher but also the institution of the researcher.
  • Impact and visibility: Publishing in predatory journals means that you miss out on citations and visibility.