Predatory journals: Beall's List is missed

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Beall's List of predatory publishers, now withdrawn, was instrumental in the fight against the dubious practices of some online open-access science journals (see P. Sorokowski et al. Nature 543, 481483; 2017). To borrow a metaphor from James Woolsey, director of the CIA when the Soviet Union was collapsing: 'we live now in a jungle filled with a bewildering variety of predatory publishers. And Beall's List was easier to keep track of.'

The list was a government standard for checking academic publishers and journals worldwide. We now urgently need other standards to take its place. Ethics committees must draw up guidelines for distinguishing reputable from disreputable journals. And citation databases such as Scopus and the Web of Science need to weed out journals suspected of predatory practices to prevent authors from unwittingly submitting manuscripts to them.

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  1. Cambridge Judge Business School, Cambridge, UK.

    • Wadim Strielkowski

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  1. Report this comment #69707

    Aristote Aristotle said:

    Nature tries to stigmatize other competitor journals and there is a huge conflict of interest with this. Nature and its mushrooming sisters are the most predatory journals ever.

  2. Report this comment #69737

    Jan Jakubik said:

    Wadim Strielkowski missing Beal's list?! What an irony!
    Wadim Strielkowski published over last 3 years about 60 papers or books mostly in unknown and disreputable journals. More about Wadim Strielkowski can be found in his own biography here

  3. Report this comment #69797

    Wadim Strielkowski said:

    Mr. Jan Jakubik's comment clearly shows that we urgently need to replace Beall's List with something that would be both verifiable and acceptable for the whole academic community. Beall?s List was made a standard for checking academic publishers and journals in many countries at the ministerial level (although many countries, including the Czech Republic, never made Beall's List official and considered all journals indexed in Scopus and Web of Science as appropriate). Now that Beall?s List (in fact, a private blog) has been taken down in January this year, all we are left with are its archived copies from dubious sources all over the Internet and a plethora of opinions and accusations what to consider "good" and "bad" journals. This situations gives people like Mr. Jakubik an opportunity to call some good academic journals "unknown and disreputable" because they personally think so. In the absence of clear rules anyone can be blamed of anything and this might lead to an academic witch hunt.

  4. Report this comment #69807

    Aristote Aristotle said:

    Why a so-called "Beall's list" should miss? And it misses whom?
    Wadim Strielkowski contradicts himself and he seems ignore how and why.
    Do not defame governments by claiming that Beall's list has become a government standard.
    If there is really a government that relies on such a bogus list, it should be because of people like you who work for such governments and because they are unable to know that Beall's list has zero scientific value.
    Otherwise, can you tell what is the scientific value of a personal blog, or a list made by a guy sitting down in his office to distribute subjective judgments on journal X and Y?
    Nature also contradicts itself. It has already announced the support of DORA that recommends against using biased metrics or reputation of journals to judge people or papers, but it takes part in defaming other journals to remain alone in the arena.
    So, the first to blame is Nature, not you, Wadim Strielkowski .
    Some Nature's practices are by far worst than many so-called predatory journals.

  5. Report this comment #69843

    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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