Penetrating the Omerta of Predatory Publishing: The Romanian Connection
Not so long ago, a well institutionalized predatory journal exposed itself by publishing a hoax article that blew the whistle for its devastating influence on the academic affairs of a small country. This paper puts that experiment in context, gives all the important details and analyzes the results. The experiment was inspired by well-known cases of scientific activism and is in line with recent efforts against predatory publishers. The paper presents the evidence in detail and uses it to analyze the publishing practices of the offending journal, using established criteria for assessing predatory publications. That journal somehow acquired an impact factor and charged money to publish thousands of “scientific” papers without any peer review. Since the impact factor is the major official evaluation criteria for scientists in Serbia, these papers disturbed the whole academic evaluation process. Credentials acquired by those publications form a strong obstacle to institutionalized reasoned efforts against such practices. This case warns the whole community of the long lasting damage when journals with low publishing ethics are taken seriously.