Monday, 6 January 2020

Predatory journals

I was looking for some information recently on Rensis Likert, and one of the articles that I turned up in Google Scholar was really poorly written. This was a major flag for me that the journal which published the article may well have been a predatory journal.

Predatory journals are those which don't quite ring true. There aren't enough hoops for authors to jump before getting published. The quality of the work that is published within them doesn't seem high enough. There are basic grammatical errors or sweeping statements made. They may be journals where researchers pay some sort of fee to have their article published – it may be called a marketing fee, or a subscription, but publication won't take place until payment is made. There is a great list of the characteristics used to determine predatory journals here (Brezgov, 31 May 2019). Brezgov notes over 50 characteristics which need to be considered: with the quality of the writing being one of the key factors (31 May 2019).

While checking out - and finding - the particular publication that I was looking for was on the dodgy list (it was), I suddenly realised that I had never written a blog post giving directions to where those predatory journal lists can be found.

The pre-eminent voice in the field has been Jeremy Beall, but what started as a side-line for him alongside his research job got far too big for him to continue alone. His work is currently being updated by others, and can be found here. Then there is the site Stop Predatory Journals, which can be found here, and Brezgov who does some updating of Beall's list here.

Whenever you read something that doesn't quite ring true, check out the lists. There are a STAGGERING number of journals which are not legitimate: almost 1200 on Stop Predatory Journals alone, with more being created each year. 

Drawing on these sources diminishes the credibility of our own research, so to protect our own reputations, we need to be careful.



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