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Predatory Journals Spamming for Publications: What Should Researchers Do?

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In the internet era spam has become a big problem. Researchers are troubled with unsolicited or bulk spam emails inviting them to publish. However, this strategy has helped predatory journals hunt their prey and earn money. These journals have grown tremendously during the past few years despite serious efforts by researchers and scholarly organizations to hinder their growth. Predatory journals and publishers are often based in developing countries, and they potentially target researchers from these counties by using different tactics identified in previous research. In response to the spread of predatory publishing, scientists are trying to develop criteria and guidelines to help avoid them—for example, the recently reported “predatory rate”. This article attempts to (a) highlight the strategies used by predatory journals to convince researchers to publish with them, (b) report their article processing charges, (c) note their presence in Jeffrey Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers, (d) rank them based on the predatory rate, and (e) put forward suggestions for junior researchers (especially in developing counties), who are the most likely targets of predatory journals.

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  1. This is an approach of ranking predatory journals based on Beall’s criteria for detection of predatory journals. The criteria for ranking a predatory journal is based on a journal’s editorial section (Email, Affiliation, and Number of editors), review process and publishing (Review time, Unclear review process, Number of papers in each issue, Questionable special issue), announcement (Availability of journal full address, Using bogus metric and index, Send journal spam email to receive papers), and OA policies and publication charges (Fast track fee, Submission fee, Publication Fee, Charging both authors and readers). The total weighted predatory rate (PR) score ranges between 0 and 1 where score greater than 0.22 reflects a predatory journal, greater than 0 and lower than 0.22 reflects a journal with predatory practices, and 0 value confirms a non-predatory journal.


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I thank K. Shashok (Author AID in the Eastern Mediterranean) for improving the use of English in the manuscript and for helpful suggestions.

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Aamir Raoof Memon contributed to all the aspects of this manuscript and takes the responsibility of it.

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Correspondence to Aamir Raoof Memon.

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Memon, A.R. Predatory Journals Spamming for Publications: What Should Researchers Do?. Sci Eng Ethics 24, 1617–1639 (2018).

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