Predatory journals: fortify the defences

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Ongoing initiatives are crucial for keeping researchers informed about predatory journals and the fraudulent strategies they use to recruit submissions (see P. Sorokowski et al. Nature 543, 481483; 2017). For example, these journals will often add names of real researchers to their editorial boards for credibility, but without consent. We urge all scholarly publishers to join the fight against such practices.

Beall's online list of potential, possible or probable predatory open-access publishers, now discontinued, was invaluable for dealing with harassment by predatory journals. An anonymous website now provides a record of the entire list (see, but it will need to be continually updated using Beall's criteria if it is to be effective.

Publishers could help by providing guidelines for choosing reliable journals in which to publish. An example is the 'Think. Check. Submit' initiative (, which is supported by respected organizations and publishers such as the Directory of Open Access Journals and Springer Nature.

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  1. Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    • Vinicius J. Giglio
  2. Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia.

    • Osmar J. Luiz

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  1. Report this comment #69845

    Zhenhua Zhang said:

    Peer review: Avoid pseudo review

    The publication contributes often form the basis for research funding and career advancement. Due to the lack of valuable peer review, many researchers publish papers blindly in predatory journals which seriously threatens the quality of scholarship (Predatory journals recruit fake editor; doi:10.1038/543481a; Nature 543, 481-483; 2017; On the other hand, in order to publish articles in non-predatory high-level journals, some authors who want to avoid the real peer review often recommend their own acquaintances because of the existence of reviewers recommended by authors. Some other authors even use the real names of the reviewers in the process of recommending reviewers, but impersonate the reviewer's e-mail address, which makes the editor think that the article is sent to the real reviewer (

    In response to this situation, the review system should be able to get the Reviewer Locator Results from Google or Web of Science. The review system should also be able to verify the information of the recommended expert online, identify the authenticity of the expert, and whether the author has a collaborative relationship with the recommended expert. By reviewing the recommended reviewers, the review system should verify whether the authors recommend peer-related experts directly related to the literature, and whether the authors are willing to accept peer-to-peer evaluations of their own research results.

    Of course, journals can also be based on specific circumstances, to cancel the process of reviewers recommended by authors. BioMed Central (BMC) retracted 43 manus cripts including 41 Chinese authors' in 2015, which was due to the undue influence and harm of the peer review process. Now, BMC has canceled the process of author's advice on the recommendation of reviewers ( ).

    In addition, there is a third-party agency that provides details of the counterfeiting of potential peer reviewers for these above papers. The phenomenon has attracted wide attention that the academic papers are written, submitted or reviewed by the third-party agencies. Academic journals should make it clear to authors that it is forbidden to cooperate with the third-party agency to do these counterfeiting behaviors (

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