Fake journals damage the integrity of publishing with a pretense of academic rigor and the goal of enriching themselves from research money.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung submitted an article to the Journal of Integrative Oncology on 20 July 2018, in which a fictitious author, “R. Funden” (equivalent in English to “I. Maginary”), wrote a fake study on “Die kombinierten Effekte von Essigsäureethylesterextrakten in Bienenharz auf das Absterben menschlicher Darmkrebsstellen” (English: “The combined effects of ethyl acetate extracts in bee resin on the death of human colon cancer sites”). The journal accepted the article with the claim that a reviewer wanted the label on a graphic improved and asked if the ethics commission had approved the study; with those minor changes the article was accepted and the author asked to pay 1892 € publication fees.
OMICS is the publisher of The Journal of Integrative Oncology, and the US Federal Trade Commission “filed a complaint against the academic journal publisher OMICS Group and two of its subsidiaries, saying the publisher deceives scholars and misrepresents the editorial rigor of its journals” (Straumsheim, 2016).
There are blacklists (such as Beall’s list of potential predatory publishers) and white lists (often maintained by subject specialties within universities), but scholars should also watch for the obvious signs: overly fast peer review without substantive comments, undocumented impact-factor claims, Article Processing Charges (APCs), and grandiose names or names similar to established journals.
Anonymous. “Beall’s List of Predatory Journals and Publishers.” last updated July 04, 2018. https://beallslist.weebly.com/.
Bauer, Patrick, Till Krause, Katharina Kropshofer, Katrin Langhans, and Lorenz Wagner. “Das Scheingeschäft: Angriff auf die Wissenschaft.” Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, July 20, 2018. https://projekte.sueddeutsche.de/artikel/wissen/angriff-auf-die-wissenschaft-e398250/?reduced=true.
Straumsheim, Carl. “Feds Target ‛Predatory’ Publishers.” Inside Higher Ed, August 29, 2016. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2016/08/29/federal-trade-commission-begins-crack-down-predatory-publishers.
NOTE – parts of this text come from:
Seadle, Michael. “Defining Predatory Journals.” HEADT Centre, Information Integrity Column, 2018, no. 3 (August 1, 2018). http://headt.eu/research/research-integrity/column-on-information-integrity/3-2018-information-integrity-column/#chapter1.