Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Are predatory journals undermining the credibility of science? A bibliometric analysis of citers

Abstract

Warnings against publishing in predatory journals are plentiful and so are the suggested solutions to the problem. The existing studies all confirm that authors of articles published in potential predatory journals are typically young, inexperienced and from Asia or Africa. To what extend we can consider the problem negligible is determined by the impact they are having on the scholarly communication in terms of publications and citations. The existing literature can provide more information about the former than the latter. This paper is an analysis of potential predatory journals as well as potential poor scientific standards journals. Citations to 124 potential predatory journals and poor scientific standards journals are looked up in Scopus and the citing authors analysed in regards to geographic location, publications and citations. The results show that the characteristics of the citing author indeed resemble those of the publishing author. Implications for recommendations and future research are discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

References

  1. Anthony, M. (2015). Predatory journals. Home Healthc Now, 33(2), 65–66. doi:10.1097/nhh.0000000000000186.

  2. Asadi, A., Rahbar, N., Asadi, M., Asadi, F., & Khalili Paji, K. (2016). Online-based approaches to identify real journals and publishers from hijacked ones. Science and Engineering Ethics. doi:10.1007/s11948-015-9747-9.

  3. Bartholomew, R. E. (2014). Science for sale: The rise of predatory journals. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 107(10), 384–385. doi:10.1177/0141076814548526.

  4. Beall, J. (2012). Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature, 489(7415), 179.

  5. Beall, J. (2015a). Criteria for determining predatory open-access publishers. Scholarly openaccess. https://scholarlyoa.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/criteria-2015.pdf. Accessed 28 May 2016.

  6. Beall, J. (2015b). Predatory journals and the breakdown of research cultures. Information Development, 31(5), 473–476. doi:10.1177/0266666915601421.

  7. Beall, J. (2016). Predatory journals: Ban predators from the scientific record. Nature, 534(7607), 326. doi:10.1038/534326a.

  8. Beninger, P. G., Beall, J., & Shumway, S. E. (2016). Debasing the currency of science: The growing menace of predatory open access journals. Journal of Shellfish Research, 35(1), 1–5. doi:10.2983/035.035.0101.

  9. Berger, M., & Cirasella, J. (2015). Beyond Beall’s list better understanding predatory publishers. College & Research Libraries News, 76(3), 132–135.

  10. Betz, C. L. (2016). Authors beware: Open access predatory journals. Journal of Pediatric Nursing, 31(3), 233–234. doi:10.1016/j.pedn.2016.02.006.

  11. Björk, B.-C., & Solomon, D. (2013). The publishing delay in scholarly peer-reviewed journals. Journal of Informetrics, 7(4), 914–923.

  12. Bornmann, L., & Mutz, R. (2015). Growth rates of modern science: A bibliometric analysis based on the number of publications and cited references. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(11), 2215–2222. doi:10.1002/asi.23329.

  13. Clark, J., & Smith, R. (2015). Firm action needed on predatory journals. Bmj-British Medical Journal, 350, 2. doi:10.1136/bmj.h210.

  14. da Silva, J. A. T. (2015). A response to the editorial on predatory publishing. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 7(15), 8305–8306.

  15. Dadkhah, M., & Bianciardi, G. (2016). Ranking predatory journals: Solve the problem instead of removing it! Advanced Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 6(1), 1–4. doi:10.15171/apb.2016.001.

  16. Dahanukar, N., & Molur, S. (2012). Scientific conduct and misconduct: Honesty is still the best policy. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 4(9), 2845–2848.

  17. Das, S., & Chatterjee, S. S. (2017). Say no to evil: Predatory journals, what we should know. Asian Journal of Psychiatry, 28, 161–162. doi:10.1016/j.ajp.2017.05.011.

  18. Deprez, E. E., & Chen, C. (2017). Medical journals have a fake news problem. Bloomsberg Businessweek, Aug 29, available at Deprez, E. E., & Chen C. (2017). https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2017-08-29/medical-journals-have-a-fake-news-problem. Accessed 15 sept 2017.

  19. Eriksson, S., & Helgesson, G. (2016). The false academy: Predatory publishing in science and bioethics. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 20(2), 163–170. doi:10.1007/s11019-016-9740-3.

  20. Ezinwa Nwagwu, W., & Ojemeni, O. (2015). Penetration of Nigerian predatory biomedical open access journals 2007-2012: a bibiliometric study. Learned Publishing, 28(1), 23–34. doi:10.1087/20150105.

  21. Fitzpatrick, J. J. (2015). Predatory journals: When outcome is valued over quality. Applied Nursing Research, 28(1), 1. doi:10.1016/j.apnr.2014.12.004.

  22. Flanagan, J. (2015). Predatory publishers: Authors beware. International Journal of Nursing Knowledge, 26(1), 1. doi:10.1111/2047-3095.12069.

  23. Frandsen, T. F. (2017). Identifying predatory journals: Checklists and frameworks. Unpublished material.

  24. Gasparyan, A. Y., Yessirkepov, M., Voronov, A. A., Gerasimov, A. N., Kostyukova, E. I., & Kitas, G. D. (2015). Preserving the integrity of citations and references by all stakeholders of science communication. Journal of Korean Medical Science, 30(11), 1545–1552. doi:10.3346/jkms.2015.30.11.1545.

  25. Heneberg, P. (2013). Effects of print publication lag in dual format journals on scientometric indicators. PLoS ONE, 8(4), e59877.

  26. Jalalian, M. (2015). A second chance for authors of hijacked journals to publish in legitimate journals. Electron Physician, 7(2), 1017–1018. doi:10.14661/2015.1017-1018.

  27. Kmietowicz, Z. (2009). Students warned not to subscribe to journal “scam”. British Medical Journal, 338, 3. doi:10.1136/bmj.b735.

  28. Manca, A., Cugusi, L., Dvir, Z., & Deriu, F. (2017a). PubMed should raise the bar for journal inclusion. The Lancet, 390(10096), 734–735. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(17)31943-8.

  29. Manca, A., Martinez, G., Cugusi, L., Dragone, D., Dvir, Z., & Deriu, F. (2017b). The surge of predatory open-access in neurosciences and neurology. Neuroscience, 353, 166–173. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2017.04.014.

  30. Manca, A., Martinez, G., Cugusi, L., Dragone, D., Mercuro, G., & Deriu, F. (2017c). Predatory open access in rehabilitation. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 98(5), 1051–1056.

  31. Marušić, A., Bošnjak, L., & Jerončić, A. (2011). A systematic review of research on the meaning, ethics and practices of authorship across scholarly disciplines. PLoS ONE, 6(9), e23477.

  32. Masten, Y. B., & Ashcraft, A. S. (2016). The Dark Side of Dissemination: Traditional and Open Access Versus Predatory Journals. Nursing Education Perspectives, 37(5), 275–277. doi:10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000064.

  33. Moher, D., & Moher, E. (2016). Stop predatory publishers now: Act collaboratively. Annals of Internal Medicine, 164(9), 616–617. doi:10.7326/m15-3015.

  34. Moher, D., Shamseer, L., Cobey, K. D., Lalu, M. M., Galipeau, J., Avey, M. T., et al. (2017). Stop this waste of people, animals and money. Nature, 549(7670), 23–25. doi:10.1038/549023a

  35. Moustafa, K. (2015). Fake journals: Not always valid ways to distinguish them. Science and Engineering Ethics, 21(5), 1391–1392. doi:10.1007/s11948-014-9608-y.

  36. Nelson, N., & Huffman, J. (2015). Predatory journals in library databases: How much should we worry? The serials librarian, 69(2), 169–192.

  37. Nwagwu, W. E. (2015). Counterpoints about predatory open access and knowledge publishing in Africa. Learned Publishing, 28(2), 114–122. doi:10.1087/20150205.

  38. Nwagwu, W. E. (2016). Open access in the developing regions: Situating the altercations about predatory publishing. Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science-Revue Canadienne Des Sciences De L Information Et De Bibliotheconomie, 40(1), 58–80.

  39. Olivarez, J. D., Bales, S., & Sare, L. (Forthcoming). Format Aside: Applying Beall’s Criteria to Assess the Predatory Nature of both OA and Non-OA Library and Information Science Journals. College & Research Libraries.

  40. Omary, M. B., Wallace, M. B., El-Omar, E. M., Jalan, R., & Nathanson, M. H. (2015). A multi-journal partnership to highlight joint first-authors of manuscripts. Gut, 64(2), 189.

  41. Omobowale, A. O., Akanle, O., Adeniran, A. I., & Adegboyega, K. (2014). Peripheral scholarship and the context of foreign paid publishing in Nigeria. Current Sociology, 62(5), 666–684. doi:10.1177/0011392113508127.

  42. Oransky, D. (2017). Predatory journals: Not just a problem in developing world countries, says new Nature paper. Retraction Watch, September 6.

  43. Raghavan, R., Dahanukar, N., Knight, J. D. M., Bijukumar, A., Katwate, U., Krishnakumar, K., et al. (2014). Predatory journals and Indian ichthyology. Current Science, 107(5), 740–742.

  44. Raghavan, R., Dahanukar, N., & Molur, S. (2015). Curbing academic predators: JoTT’s policy regarding citation of publications from predatory journals. Journal of Threatened Taxa, 7(10), 7609–7611. doi:10.11609/JoTT.o4388.7609-11.

  45. Roberts, J. (2016). Predatory journals: Think before you submit. Headache, 56(4), 618–621. doi:10.1111/head.12818.

  46. Shen, C. Y., & Bjork, B. C. (2015). ‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics. BMC Medicine, 13, 15. doi:10.1186/s12916-015-0469-2.

  47. Tort, A. B., Targino, Z. H., & Amaral, O. B. (2012). Rising publication delays inflate journal impact factors. PLoS ONE, 7(12), e53374. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053374.

  48. Umlauf, M. G. (2016). Predatory open access journals: Avoiding profiteers, wasted effort and fraud. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 22(Suppl 1), 3–4. doi:10.1111/ijn.12433.

  49. Van Nuland, S. E., & Rogers, K. A. (2016). Academic nightmares: Predatory publishing. Anatomical Sciences Education, 10(4), 392–394. doi:10.1002/ase.1671.

  50. Ward, S. M. (2016). The rise of predatory publishing: How to avoid being scammed. Weed Science, 64(4), 772–778. doi:10.1614/WS-D-16-00080.1.

  51. Watkinson, A., Nicholas, D., Thornley, C., Herman, E., Jamali, H. R., Volentine, R., et al. (2016). Changes in the digital scholarly environment and issues of trust: An exploratory, qualitative analysis. Information Processing and Management, 52(3), 446–458. doi:10.1016/j.ipm.2015.10.002.

  52. Xia, J., Harmon, J. L., Connolly, K. G., Donnelly, R. M., Anderson, M. R., & Howard, H. A. (2015). Who publishes in “predatory” journals? Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66(7), 1406–1417. doi:10.1002/asi.23265.

Download references

Acknowledgements

The author gratefully acknowledges the valuable assistance with the initial data collection by Regine Ejstrup.

Author information

Correspondence to Tove Faber Frandsen.

Appendix: List of included cited journals (from Beall’s list)

Appendix: List of included cited journals (from Beall’s list)

  1. 1.

    Academic Exchange Quarterly.

  2. 2.

    Academicus International Scientific Journal.

  3. 3.

    Academy of Contemporary Research Journal (AOCRJ).

  4. 4.

    Acta de Gerencia Ciencia (CAGENA).

  5. 5.

    Advances in Forestry Letter.

  6. 6.

    Al Ameen Journal of Medical Sciences (AJMS).

  7. 7.

    American Journal of Advanced Drug Delivery.

  8. 8.

    American Journal of Advances in Medical Science (ARNACA).

  9. 9.

    American Journal of Engineering Research.

  10. 10.

    American Journal of Pharmacy and Health Research (AJPHR).

  11. 11.

    American Journal of PharmTech Research (AJPTR).

  12. 12.

    American Journal of Phytomedicine and Clinical Therapeutics.

  13. 13.

    American Journal of Social issues and Humanities.

  14. 14.

    American Research Journal.

  15. 15.

    Anglisticum: International Journal of Literature, Linguistics & Interdisciplinary Studies.

  16. 16.

    Archives Des Sciences Journal.

  17. 17.

    Archives of Pharmacy Practice.

  18. 18.

    ARNACA American Journal of Advances in Medical Science.

  19. 19.

    Asian Journal of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

  20. 20.

    Asian Journal of Health and Medical Sciences.

  21. 21.

    Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences.

  22. 22.

    Asian Journal of Business and Management Sciences (AJBMS).

  23. 23.

    Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Health Sciences.

  24. 24.

    Asian Journal of Pharmacy and Life Science.

  25. 25.

    Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Health Care (AJPRHC).

  26. 26.

    Australasian Journal of Herpetology.

  27. 27.

    Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences.

  28. 28.

    Australian Journal of Business and Management Research (AJBMR).

  29. 29.

    Ayupharm: International Journal of Ayurveda and Allied Sciences.

  30. 30.

    The Bioscan.

  31. 31.

    Bioresearch Bulletin.

  32. 32.

    Bioscience Discovery.

  33. 33.

    Biosciences, Biotechnology Research Asia (BBRA).

  34. 34.

    British Biomedical Bulletin.

  35. 35.

    British Journal of Economics, Finance and Management Sciences.

  36. 36.

    British Journal of Science.

  37. 37.

    Bulletin of Mathematical Sciences & Applications.

  38. 38.

    Bulletin of Pharmaceutical Research.

  39. 39.

    Bulletin of Society for Mathematical Services and Standards.

  40. 40.

    Calodema.

  41. 41.

    Canadian Chemical Transactions.

  42. 42.

    Case Studies Journals.

  43. 43.

    Chemical Science Transactions.

  44. 44.

    Computer Science Chronicle.

  45. 45.

    Computer Science Journal.

  46. 46.

    The Criterion: An International Journal in English.

  47. 47.

    Current Biotica.

  48. 48.

    Current Discovery.

  49. 49.

    Current Trends in Technology and Sciences (CTTS).

  50. 50.

    Direct Research Journals.

  51. 51.

    E-Library Science Research Journal.

  52. 52.

    ExcelingTech Publishing Company, Ltd.

  53. 53.

    Elixir International Journal (formerly Elixir Online Journal).

  54. 54.

    FOREX Technical Journal Library.

  55. 55.

    Frontiers in Aerospace Engineering.

  56. 56.

    Galaxy: International Multidisciplinary Research Journal.

  57. 57.

    Global Journal of Management Science and Technology.

  58. 58.

    Global Journal of Medicine and Public Health.

  59. 59.

    Golden Research Thoughts.

  60. 60.

    Indian Journal of Applied-Basic Medical Sciences.

  61. 61.

    Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biological Research (IJPBR).

  62. 62.

    Indian Journal of Research Anvikshiki.

  63. 63.

    Indian Journal of Research in Pharmacy and Biotechnology (IJRPB).

  64. 64.

    Indian Journal of Scientific Research (IJSR).

  65. 65.

    Indian Streams Research Journal.

  66. 66.

    Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Research.

  67. 67.

    Indo-Global Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

  68. 68.

    Innovations in Pharmaceuticals and Pharmacotherapy (IPP).

  69. 69.

    Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business.

  70. 70.

    Interdisciplinary Journal of Research in Business (IDJRB).

  71. 71.

    International Ayurvedic Medical Journal (IAMJ).

  72. 72.

    International Design Journal.

  73. 73.

    International Journal of Advanced Technology and Engineering Research (IJATER).

  74. 74.

    International Journal of Advancements in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering.

  75. 75.

    International Journal of Advances in Power Systems (IJAPS).

  76. 76.

    International Journal of Agronomy & Plant Production.

  77. 77.

    International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research.

  78. 78.

    International Journal of E-Computer Science Evolution.

  79. 79.

    The International Journal of Educational and Psychological Assessment.

  80. 80.

    The IJES: The International Journal of Engineering and Science.

  81. 81.

    International Journal of English and Education.

  82. 82.

    International Journal of English Language & Translation Studies (IJ-ELTS).

  83. 83.

    International Journal of Health Research.

  84. 84.

    International Journal of Health Sciences and Research.

  85. 85.

    International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention (IJHSSI).

  86. 86.

    International Journal of Humanities, Engineering and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

  87. 87.

    International Journal of Information and Communication Research.

  88. 88.

    International Journal of Latest Research in Engineering and Computing (IJLREC).

  89. 89.

    International Journal of Management, Economics and Social Sciences (IJMESS).

  90. 90.

    International Journal of Mathematics and Soft Computing (IJMSC).

  91. 91.

    International Journal of Medicobiologial Research.

  92. 92.

    International Journal of Novel Drug Delivery Technology.

  93. 93.

    International Journal of Power Electronics Engineering.

  94. 94.

    International Journal of Research Development (IJORD).

  95. 95.

    International Journal of Research in Medical and Dental Sciences.

  96. 96.

    International Journal of Science and Advanced Technology (IJSAT).

  97. 97.

    International Journal of Scientific Research and Application (IJSRA Publishing).

  98. 98.

    International Journal of Trends in Economics Management and Technology (IJTEMT).

  99. 99.

    Journal der Pharmazie Forschung (RAPSR).

  100. 100.

    Journal of Advances in Internal Medicine.

  101. 101.

    Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons (JPANDS).

  102. 102.

    Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy [Link dead as of 2013-05-06].

  103. 103.

    Journal of Behavioral Sciences in Asia.

  104. 104.

    Journal of Bio Innovation.

  105. 105.

    Journal of Business Management and Applied Economics.

  106. 106.

    Journal of Current Pharma Research.

  107. 107.

    Journal of ELT and Applied Linguistics (JELTAL).

  108. 108.

    Journal of International Academic Research for Multidisciplinary(JIARM).

  109. 109.

    Journal of Science Editing.

  110. 110.

    Kashmir Economic Review.

  111. 111.

    National Journal of Basic Medical Sciences.

  112. 112.

    National Journal of Medical and Dental Research.

  113. 113.

    Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology.

  114. 114.

    Plant Digest.

  115. 115.

    Reef Resources Assessment and Management Technical Paper.

  116. 116.

    Research Directions: International Multidisciplinary Research Journal.

  117. 117.

    Researchers World – Journal of Arts Science & Commerce.

  118. 118.

    Seventh Sense Research Group Journal.

  119. 119.

    South Asian Journal of Mathematics.

  120. 120.

    Tactful Management Research Journal (TMRJ).

  121. 121.

    Universal Journal of Applied Computer Science and Technology.

  122. 122.

    Universal Journal of Computer Science and Engineering Technology (UniCSE).

  123. 123.

    Weekly Science International Research Journal.

  124. 124.

    World Journal of Science and Technology (WJST).

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Frandsen, T.F. Are predatory journals undermining the credibility of science? A bibliometric analysis of citers. Scientometrics 113, 1513–1528 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-017-2520-x

Download citation

Keywords

  • Predatory journals
  • Citing authors
  • Citation analysis