Allegedly, there are over 12.000 so called predatory journals out there. Instead of supporting readers and science, these journals serve their own economic interests first and at best offer dubious merits for scholars. We believe that scholars working in any academic discipline have a professional interest and a responsibility to keep track of these journals. It is our job to warn the young or inexperienced of journals where a publication or editorship could be detrimental to their career and science is not served. We have seen “predatory” publishing take off in a big way and noticed how colleagues start to turn up in the pages of some of these journals. While many have assumed that this phenomenon mainly is a problem for low status universities, there are strong indications that predatory publishing is a part of a major trend towards the industrialization of misconduct and that it affects many top-flight research institutions (see Priyanka Pulla: “In India, elite institutes in shady journals”, Science 354(6319): 1511-1512). This trend, referred to by some as the dark side of publishing, needs to be reversed.
Thus we published this blog post in 2016. This is our second annual update (the first version can be found here). At first, we relied heavily on the work of Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, who run blacklists of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory publishers and journals. His lists have since been removed although they live on in new form (anonymous) at the Stop predatory journals site (SPJ) and they can also be found archived. These lists were not, however, the final say on the matter, as it is impossible for one person to judge reliably actors in every academic discipline. Moreover, since only questionable journals are listed, the good journals must be found elsewhere.
A response of gatekeeping needs to be anchored in each discipline and the scholars who make up that discipline. As a suitable response in bioethics, we have chosen to, first, collect a few authoritative lists of recommended bioethics journals that can be consulted by anyone in bioethics to find good journals to publish with. For our first post, we recommended a list of journals ourselves, which brought on some well-deserved questions and criticism about criteria for inclusion. Unfortunately then, our list ultimately drew attention from other parts of the message that we were more concerned to get across. Besides, there are many other parties making such lists. We therefore have dropped this feature. Instead we have enlarged the collection of good journal lists to the service of our readers. They are all of great use when further exploring the reputable journals available:
It is of prime importance to list the journals that are potentially or possibly predatory or of such a low quality that it might be dishonoring to engage with them. We have listed all 39 of them (up with three from last year, although some are presently not responsive) alphabetically and provided both the homepage URL and links to any professional discussion of these journals that we have found (which most often alerted us to their existence in the first place).
Each of these journals asks scholars for manuscripts from, or claims to publish papers in bioethics or related areas (such as practical philosophy). They have been reviewed by the authors of this blog post as well as by a group of reference scholars that we have asked for advice on the list. Those journals listed have unanimously been agreed are journals that – in light of the criticism put forth and the quality we see – we would not deem acceptable for us to publish in. Typical signs as to why a journal could fall in this category, such as extensive spamming, publishing in almost any subject, or fake data being included on the website etc., are listed here:
We have started to more systematically evaluate the journals against the 25 defining characteristics we outlined in the article linked to above (with the help of science and technology PhD students). The results will be added when they exist.
We would love to hear about your views on this blog post, and be especially grateful for pointers to journals engaging in sloppy or bad publishing practices. The list is not meant as a check-list but as a starting point for any bioethics scholar to ponder for him- or herself where to publish.
Also, anyone thinking that a journal in our list should be given due reconsideration might post their reasons for this as a comment to the blog post or send an email to us. Journals might start out with some sloppy practices but shape up over time and we will be happy to hear about it. You can make an appeal against the inclusion of a journal and we will deal with it promptly and publicly.
Please spread the content of this blog as much as you can and check back for updates (we will do a major update annually and continually add any further information found).
WHERE NOT TO PUBLISH IN BIOETHICS – THE 2018 LIST
- Advance Humanities and Social Sciences (Consortium Publisher)
Critical remark (2018): Behind this journal you’ll find OMICS, the most-ever discussed publisher of this kind, see http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/predatory-publisher-expanding-empire-in-canada. The only article published in 2016 is very badly edited, all the references are lost in the text and the paper would not pass an exam at our departments. 2017 volume is again only one article. The publisher is listed on SPJ.
- Austin Journal of Genetics and Genomic Research (Austin Publishing Group)
Criticism 1 │Criticism 2 │Criticism 3
Critical remark (2017): Spam e-mail about special issue on bioethics; Listed by SPJ; Romanian editorial member is said to be from a university in “Europe”; Another editorial board member is just called “Michael”; APG has been sued by International Association for Dental Research and The American Association of Neurological Surgeons for infringing on their IP rights. Student review concludes the journal is not suitable to publish in.
Critical remark (2018): Web page is presently down.
- Creative Education (Scientific Research Publishing – SCIRP)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; They claim misleadingly to be indexed by ISI but this relates to be among cited articles only – they are not indexed. A thorough review May 2017 concludes that it exhibits at least 5 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- East European Scientific Journal (East European Research Alliance)
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Criticised by Beall for having a bogus editorial board; Claims to be indexed by ISI but that is not the well-known Institute for Scientific Information (now Thompson Reuters), but rather the so-called International Scientific Indexing. Thorough reviews November 2018 and February 2019 conclude that it exhibits at least 13 or 14 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- European Academic Research (Kogaion Publishing Center, formerly Bridge Center)
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Uses impact factor from Universal Impact Factor (now defunct); A thorough review May 2017 concludes that it exhibits at least 15 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- European Scientific Journal (European Scientific Institute)
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Use of alternative indexes. A thorough review May 2017 concludes that it exhibits at least 9 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Advances in Social Science and Humanities
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Impact factor given by Global Impact Factor. A thorough review March 2019 concludes that it exhibits at least 10 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Contemporary Research & Review
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Indexed by Index Copernicus; Despite claims they seem not to be indexed by either Chemical Abstracts or DOAJ. A thorough review June 2017 concludes that it exhibits at least 9 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Current Research
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Uses IF from SJIF and Index Copernicus and more. It wrongly claims to be indexed by Thomson Reuters, ORCID and having a DOI among other things. A thorough review January 2018 concludes that it exhibits at least 12 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Ethics & Moral Philosophy (Journal Network)
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Publisher was criticised by Beall when launcing 350 journals at once; After several years not one associate editor has signed up and no article has been published; No editorial or contact details available.
- International Journal of Ethics in Engineering & Management Education
Critical remark (2017): Papers from almost any field; Claims to have a 5.4 Impact factor (from UJIF); Indexed by GJIF etc. A non-existent address in “Varginia”, US (sic!); Open access but asks for the copyright; Claims to be indexed in Scopus can’t be verified. A thorough review February 2018 concludes that it exhibits at least 16 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Humanities and Social Science (Centre for Promoting Ideas)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2 │ Criticism 3 │ Criticism 4
Critical remark (2019): The chief editor listed in April 2014 is a deceased person (2018). A thorough review in April 2019 concludes that it exhibits at least 9 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ and is on many other lists of blacklisted journals; An IF of 4.5 given by African Quality Centre for Journals; Open access but asks for the copyright; Publishes any subject; Says that the journal is indexed in DOAJ which it does not seem to be. A thorough review February 2018 concludes that it exhibits at least 13 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
Critical remark (2018): Web page is presently down.
- International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Research
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Claims an IF of 5.22 (by “Research Journal Impact Factor“); Despite title from India; Alternative indexing; A thorough review February 2018 concludes that it exhibits at least 13 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Has an amazing fast-track review option for $100 that guarantees “the review, editorial decision, author notification and publication” to take place “within 2 weeks”. “Editors” claim that repeated requests to be removed from the list of editors result in nothing. Thorough reviews in February and June 2018 conclude that it seems to exhibit at least 7 to 10 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Humanities & Social Studies
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; IF from International Impact Factor Services; States that there “is no scope of correction after the paper publication”.
Critical remark (2018): They write that the “review process will be completed expectedly within 3-4 days”.
- International Journal of Philosophy (SciencePG)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2
Critical remark (2017): Listed by SPJ; Alternative indexing and also IF from Universal Impact Factor (now defunct); Promises a two-week peer review. Thorough reviews in April and November 2018 conclude that it seems to exhibit at least 10 or 8 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals and also find obvious examples of pseudo-science among the published articles.
- International Journal of Philosophy and Theology (American Research Institute for Policy Development)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2 │ Criticism 3
Critical remark: A thorough review in June 2018 concludes that “there are grounds to believe that the American Research Institute never intended to create a serious scientific periodical and that, on the contrary, its publications are out-and-out predatory journals.”
- International Journal of Public Health and Human Rights (Bioinfo Publications)
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ; On many other blacklists and IF from Index Copernicus.
- International Journal of Research in Humanities and Social Studies (Sryahwa Publications)
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ; Open access but asks for the copyright. A thorough review in April 2018 concludes that it seems to exhibit at least 9 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- International Journal of Science Social Studies Humanities and Management (Brainy Buzz)
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ; This “international journal” is run by three editors from India; A fast-track review for $50 guarantees “the review, editorial decision, and author notification” on the manuscript “to take place within 5 working Days”; Publishes any subject.
Critical remark (2018): Journal seems to have ceased operations
- International Journal of Social Science and Humanities Research (Research Publish Journals)
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ; On their homepage they state that in order to get a high IF their journals are “indexed in top class organisation around the world” although no major index is used.
- International Open Journal of Philosophy (Academic and Scientific Publishing)
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ and was heavily critized on Beall’s blog; The editorial board consists of one person from Iran; Although boosting 12 issues a year they have published only 1 article in the journal’s first four years; A thorough review March 1 2017 concludes that it exhibits 17 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals and one in March 2019 that it exhibits at least 13 criteria.
- International Researchers
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ; Indexed by e.g. Index Copernicus; Claims that it is “Monitor by Thomson Reuters” but is not part of the TR journal citation reports; Several pages are not working at time of review; A thorough review April 24 2017 concludes that it exhibits at least 6 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- Internet Journal of Law, Healthcare and Ethics (ISPUB)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2
Critical remark (2017): Formerly on Beall’s list.
- Jacobs Journal of Clinical Trials
Critical remark (2018): Spamming with invitation to special issue on ‘Ethical Issues in Health Care Research’. Have been severely criticized here and also in this scholarly article. Publisher listed on SPJ. A randomly chosen article from issue 1 is markedly flawed in execution.
- Journal of Academic and Business Ethics (Academic and Business Research Institute)
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ as well as several other blacklists; Journal seems uncertain about it’s own name, the header curiously says “Journal of ethical and legal issues”.
- Journal of Bioethics and Applications (Sci Forschen)
Critical remark (2018): Brand new journal with no articles yet. Publisher has been criticized for spamming more than once, have a bad record at Scam Analyze, and is listed on SPJ.
- Journal of Clinical Research & Bioethics (OMICS)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2 │ Criticism 3 │ Criticism 4 │ Criticism 5 │ Criticism 6
Critical remark (2017): This publisher is listed on SPJ and was taken to court for possible fraud by the Federal Trade Commission in the US (and lost).
- Journal of Law and Ethics
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ; Claims to be on Ulrichs but is not; Claims to be in the Norwegian list and can actually be found there but under its former name (4 years earlier) and with 0 points.
- Journal of Studies in Social Sciences and Humanities
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ; Alternative indexing; Uses several alternative IF providers. A thorough review October 2017 concludes that it exhibits at least 9 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- JSM Health Education and Primary Health Care
Spamming with invitation to special issue on ‘Bioethics’. The publisher is listed on SPJ, and criticized and exposed here. It is indexed by spoof indexer Directory of Research Journals Indexing among others (whose website is now gone, BTW).
- Medical Ethics and Communication (Avid Science)
Critical remarks (2017): Listed on SPJ; Spamming researchers with offer of eBook publication for $350.
- Nova Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences
Critical remark (2018): This publisher was on Beall’s list; Uses alternative impact factors and indexing; Publishes in less than 30 days; Curiously, it says no fee is charged for publication.
- Open Journal of Philosophy (Scientific Research Publishing – SCIRP)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2 │ Criticism 3 │ Criticism 4
- Philosophical Papers and Review (Academic Journals)
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ and blacklisted by the Ministry of Higher Education of Malaysia; Although it claims to be a peer-review journal, it states that manuscripts “are reviewed by editorial board members or other qualified persons”.
- Philosophy Study (David Publishing Company)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ.
- The Recent Advances in Academic Science Journal (Swedish Scientific Publications)
Critical remark (2018): Despite the publisher’s name it seems based in India. The only Swedish editor’s existence cannot be verified. Website quality is lacking. Listed on SPJ. A thorough review October 2017 concludes that it exhibits at least 15 of the 25 criteria for “predatory” journals.
- World Journal of Social Sciences and Humanities (Science and Education Publishing, SciEP)
Criticism 1 │Criticism 2
Critical remark (2017): Listed on SPJ as well as many other blacklists.
Journal of International Ethical Theory and Practice (MedCrave)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2 │ Criticism 3 │ Criticism 4 │ Criticism 5 │ Criticism 6 │ Criticism 7
Critical remark (May 2018): New journal with no articles or issues yet – but still is in need of so many editors that spam emails are sent. They kindly allow for scientific articles: “The research articles can include the findings and the methodology you used.” MedCrave uses many alternative indexing services. They are listed by SPJ. They also spam the Internet with claims for all criticism to be a hoax or fake news.
The following journals are all included in Cabells’ blacklist of “predatory journals”:
- American Open Ethics Journal (Research and Knowledge Publication)
- Ethics Today Journal (Franklin Publishing)
- Universal Open Ethics Journal (Adyan Academic Press)
Journal of Research in Philosophy and History (Scholink)
Criticism 1 │
Critical remark (June 2018): Listed on several lists of predatory publishers. They only do “peer review” through their own editorial board, a flowchart states. They claim to check for plagiarism but the first 2018 article abstract run by us through a checker turned out to be self-plagiarized from a book and it looks to have been published many times over. Unfortunately, the next paper checked in the same issue was also published the previous year by another journal listed above…
International Journal of Current Research and Academic Review (Excellent Publishers)
Critical remark (June 2018): Listed by SPJ and Cabells because of misleading claims about credentials, metrics, and too quick review; alternative indexing; publishes in almost any field imaginable; the editor -in-chief is head of the “Excellent Education and Researh Institute” (sic) which does not seem to exist even when spelled right?
Annals of Bioethics & Clinical Applications (Medwin Publishers)
Criticism 1 │ Criticism 2
Critical remark: Publisher was on Beall’s list and is on many other lists of these journals. They say that they are “accepting all type of original works that is related to the disciplines of the journal” and indeed the flow chart of manuscript handling does not have a reject route. Indexed by alternative indexes.
In light of recent legal action taken against people trying to warn others about dubious publishers and journals – see here and here – we want to stress that this blog post is about where we would like our articles to show up, it is about quality, and as such it is an expression of a professional judgement intended to help authors find good journals with which to publish. Indirectly, this may also help readers to be more discerning about the articles they read. As such it is no different from other rankings that can be found for various products and services everywhere. Our list of where not to publish implies no accusation of deception or fraud but claims to identify journals that experienced bioethicists would usually not find to be of high quality. Those criticisms linked to might be more upfront or confrontational; us linking to them does not imply an endorsement of any objectionable statement made therein. We would also like to point out that individual papers published in these journals might of course nevertheless be perfectly acceptable contributions to the scholarly literature of bioethics.
Stefan Eriksson & Gert Helgesson
Read more about Stefan’s work at CRB here
Essential resources on so-called predatory publishing and open access:
- Open access – the rise and fall of a community-driven model of scientific communication, by J Schöpfel.
- Predatory Publishing, Questionable Peer Review, and Fraudulent Conferences, by John D Bowman.
- Predatory and Fake Scientific Journals/Publishers – A Global Outbreak with Rising Trend: A Review, by Tin et al.
- Rise of the predators: Business is booming in the murky global market of suspect and sham publishers and journals, by Bryn Nelson.
- ‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics, by Cenyu Shen and Bo-Christer Björk.
- Spurious alternative impact factors: The scale of the problem from an academic perspective, by Gutierrez et al.
- The Writing Style of Predatory Publishers, by Markowitz et al.
- How should we treat those taken in by predatory journals?, by Dalmeet Singh Chawla.
- Time to stop talking about ‘predatory journals’, by Eriksson & Helgesson.
- Why Open Research, a nice site advocating open access publishing for research