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UGS 303: Jerusalem / Edgar

Predatory journals, or those with flimsy peer review

Special Cases

Predatory Journals: Poor quality or even fraudulent journals that lure academics to publish in them for a fee (to be clear, many legitimate journals charge publication fees, but they offer editorial and publishing services). 

Pseudo-journals: While many of these fraudulent journals are predatory, there is a subcategory of journals whose aim goes beyond making money off of authors. They seem to want to spread pseudo-science or what amounts to propaganda in a controversial subject area. 

How can you identify these, since they are often incorrectly marked peer reviewed in databases and on the journal's site?  

1) Check the references: Did the author cite their information? What evidence did they use to support their claims? Poor quality articles do not bother to cite information, or they cite poor quality sources. The articles you need for this paper will have long bibliographies of scholarly books and peer reviewed sources. 

2) Unreasonably short peer review times: The article may tell you when the article was submitted and then when it was published. Ex. submitted Sept. 1, published Sept. 6 – no way they did peer review.

3) Claiming they are indexed in Google or Google Scholar: Journals don't have control over this. 

4) Overly broad subject areas: Ex. International Journal of Humanities.

5) Very few articles published (especially if the journal has been out for a few years)

If you see something, say something (to me). Librarians have some power to get these journals correctly marked or even purged from our collections. Confused? Ask me!


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Elise Nacca
Perry-CastaƱeda (Main) Library (PCL)

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