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Predatory journals make desperate bid for authenticity

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The Hindu | CHENNAI April 21, 2017 | National | R Prasad |

They try getting indexed on DOAJ and other websites to cheat innocent researchers

One more evidence that India has a huge and growing number of predatory journal publishers comes from the India office of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). Since March 2014, when the new criteria for DOAJ listing were put out, there have been about 1,600 applications from Open Access journal publishers in India.  Of these, only 4% (74) were found to be from genuine publishers and accepted for inclusion in the DOAJ directory. While 18% applications are still being processed, 78% were rejected for various reasons. One of the main reasons for rejection is the predatory or dubious nature of the journals.  Desperate to give websites an air of authenticity, predatory journals try getting indexed on DOAJ and other websites. Being indexed in DOAJ makes the task of cheating innocent researchers more easier. The business model of predatory journal publishing is based on levying article processing charge (APC) on authors even while offering no editorial services.  The DOAJ India office receives applications from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal. Nearly 70% of applications come from India, while the other countries account for 30%.

‘Flashy impact factor’

“Nearly 20% of the journals have a flashy impact factor and quick publication time, which are quick give-aways,” says Bengaluru-based Leena Shah, DOAJ Ambassador, India. “Under contact address, some journal websites do not provide any address but just a provision for comments. In many cases, we have written to people who have been listed as reviewers to know if the journal website is genuine.”  In some cases, even when the website looks fine, the DOAJ staff tend to look at papers published in the journals if they suspect the genuineness of the journal. “We are not subject experts, but we use certain methods to evaluate a journal,” she says. “Assessing journal websites is not an easy process.”  “We can’t police predatory journals. Can you bring down each and every predatory journal? Instead, we can educate the academic community about the cons of publishing in predatory journals,” says Ms. Shah. “The list of approved journals put out by the UGC is one way of rooting out predatory journals.”  The UGC has approved a list of 38,653 journals that are indexed in Web of Science, Scopus and Indian Citation Index.  Journals covered in selected indexing and abstracting services have been added to the UGC Approved List of Journals. In a recent letter, the UGC indicated that the approved list is available as a web-based database with search and browse interface at www.ugc.ac.in/journallist/. In a DOAJ blog post, Ms. Shah noted: “In March 2017, DOAJ submitted a request to the UGC to include Open Access journals that are listed in DOAJ in the approved list.” – Courtesy


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