Journals that publish work without proper peer review and which charge scholars sometimes huge fees to submit should not be allowed to share space with legitimate journals and publishers, whether open access or not. These journals and publishers cheapen intellectual work by misleading scholars, preying particularly early career researchers trying to gain an edge. The credibility of scholars duped into publishing in these journals can be seriously damaged by doing so. It is important that as a scholarly community we help to protect each other from being taken advantage of in this way.
Some Basic Criteria
Journals and publishers engaging in any of the following behaviors will be listed here as possibly predatory:
- Charging exorbitant rates for publication of articles in conjuction with a lack of peer-review or editorial oversight.
- Notifying authors of fees only after acceptance.
- Targeting scholars through mass-email spamming in attempts to get them to publish or serve on editorial boards.
- Quick acceptance of low-quality papers, including hoax papers.
- Listing scholars as members of editorial boards without their permission or not allowing them to resign.
- Listing fake scholars as members of editorial boards or authors.
- Copying the visual design and language of the marketing materials and websites of legitimate, established journals.
- Fraudulent or improper use of ISSNs.
- Giving false information about the location of the publishing operation.
- Fake, non-existent, or mis-represented impact factors.
After Jeffrey Beall took down his list of predatory journals in January 2017 in order to avoid continued harassment and threats, a small group of scholars and information professionals decided to anonymously rebuild and resurrect that list.
The anonymity of the maintainers allows for them not to be harassed, but the structure of the site and the platform allows for a community-based approach to curating and maintaining these lists. It is hoped that a community of people will develop around the site in order to vet and investigate journals already on the lists and contribute new submissions. To read more about Beall’s list, see the article in Inside Higher Ed: “No More ‘Beall’s List’” by Carl Straumsheim (January 18, 2017).
The site runs on GitHub and anyone can use the affordances of that platform to make contributions, suggestions, edits, or add journals and publishers to the list. In addition to the existing lists, it is hoped that we can add more data about both journals and publishers in order to maintain a fair case for boycotting them. Lists will be available for easy export through this platform. It is hoped that this collaborative approach will give some ownership of the list to the scholarly community that is meant to be served by it.
For information on how to contribute, see the “Contribute” page.