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Critical analysis of scholarly open-access publishing

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    New scholarly open-access publishers continue to appear at a fast pace. Here are three that launched recently — one with a generic name, one with a stolen name, and one with a suspicious name.

    Here are the three publishers I will describe in this blog post:

    1. Open Access Publisher
    2. Open Journal Systems
    3. MedWin Publishers
    OA what?

    OA what?

    1. Open Access Publisher

    The first thing you notice about this publisher is that its name doesn’t match its initials. Why isn’t it OAP? I think it’s a typo — a typo in their own name — and this is a bad sign.

    Also. The name itself is bland. Can you imagine trying to find this publisher’s website through a Google search?

    This publisher’s “contact us” page doesn’t list any physical location, but I think it’s based in Hong Kong. They claim they’re not charging author fees at this time, and they are trying to bait article submissions with the promise of a research fund for authors:

    There is an OAE scientific financial support (about $10 000 000) for those authors who need to support their research.

    To make itself look legitimate, this publisher created its own medical association, the Asia-Pacific Association of Medical Research. They publish eight medical journals. My advice: Don’t send any papers to this publisher.

    No creativity whatsoever.

    No creativity whatsoever.

    1. Open Journal Systems

    This crazy publisher named itself after the open-source software it uses to host its journals. That’s right, Open Journals Systems is the name of the open-source journal management software made available by the Public Knowledge Project at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

    If the format looks familiar, that’s because the software is free, and it’s used by dozens if not hundreds of open-access publishers, especially predatory ones. Few publishers change the settings and just use the defaults, as this one does.

    I got one of their spam emails:

    This is to inform you that we hereby call for the submission of academic/research papers for publication. Please visit the journal’s homepages for more information. All the journals is part of the Open Journal Systems/ Public Knowledge Project.

    They publish four unneeded, broad-scope medical journals and one unneeded CAM journal. They claim to be based in “Manchester, United Kingdom.” Their website is minimalist, lacking much information conventionally provided by publishers. It’s also amateurish and unworthy of its name. My advice: Don’t even let your worst enemies publish here.

    This is the most dangerous of the three.

    This is the most dangerous of the three.

    1. MedWin Publishers

    This brand-new publisher launched recently with 33 journals in the biomedical sciences, journals covering fields already saturated with existing periodicals. There’s no need for any of these.

    The publisher claims it’s based in Troy, Michigan. Researchers who submit their work here will see it published rather quickly:

    Authors are usually informed within 4-7 days about the acceptance or rejection of their article and if accepted it gets published in 2 days of acceptance.

    What efficiency. I am not sure who’s behind this fleet launch of new journals. It smells like OMICS International, a company that already publishes hundreds of low-quality OA journals under many imprints. I think OMICS is trying to saturate the market to starve out the competition. My advice: It’s likely you’ll receive a spam email from this publisher. When it arrives, delete it.


    Appendix: List of journals from each publisher:

    A. Open Access Publisher

    1. Plastic and Aesthetic Research
    2. Neuroimmunology and Neuroinflammation
    3. Journal of Cancer Metastasis and Treatment
    4. Hepatoma Research
    5. Artery Plus
    6. Journal of Unexplored Cancer Data
    7. Translational Genetics and Genomics
    8. Stomatological Disease and Science

    B. Open Journal Systems

    1. Annals of Complementary and Alternative Medicine
    2. Journal of Pharmacology and Clinical Sciences
    3. Journal of Microbiology and Antimicrobial Agents
    4. Annals of Medical and Biomedical Sciences
    5. Annals of British Medical Sciences

    C. MedWin Publishers

    1. Advances in Clinical Toxicology
    2. Advances in Pharmacology and Clinical Trials
    3. Anaesthesia and Critical Care Medicine Journal
    4. Diabetis International
    5. Ecology and Toxicology Open Access
    6. Endocrinology Open Access
    7. Food Science and Nutrition Technology
    8. Gastroenterology & Hepatology International Journal
    9. International Journal of Biochemistry an Physiology
    10. International Journal of Cell Science
    11. International Journal of Forensic Sciences
    12. International Journal of Oceanography and Aquaculture
    13. International Journal of Veterinary Science and Technology
    14. Nanomedicine and Nanotechnology Open Access
    15. Neurology and Nephrology Open Access
    16. Open Access Journal of Dental Sciences
    17. Open Access Journal Cardiology
    18. Open Access Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
    19. Open Access Journal of Agricultural Research
    20. Open Access Journal of Gynecology
    21. Open Access Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
    22. Open Access Journal of Oncology
    23. Open Access Journal of Opthalmology
    24. Open Access Journal of Pharmaceutical Research
    25. Open Access Journal of Pulmonary & Respiratory Sciences
    26. Open Access Journal of Urology and Nephrology
    27. Orthopaedics and Rheumatology Open Access
    28. Otolaryngology Open Access Journal
    29. Pediatrics and Neonatal Biology Open Access
    30. Psychology and Research International Journal
    31. Public Health Open Access
    32. Vaccines and Vaccination Open Access
    33. Virology and Immunlogy Journal


    denverjeffreyOA what?No creativity whatsoever.This is the most dangerous of the three.denverjeffreyOA what?No creativity whatsoever.This is the most dangerous of the three.

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    Investigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa (IEDEE


    The Thomson Reuters Master Journal List is not a journal whitelist and should not be used as one. Numerous low-quality and predatory journals are announcing their inclusion in this list as a mark or guarantee of quality, fooling many.

    The purpose of the list is to serve as a comprehensive list of journals included in at least one of 24 different journal indexes produced by Thomson Reuters. If a journal is included in one or more of these indexes, it appears in the master list.

    This is a problem because the barrier for entry into some of the Thomson Reuters indexes is very low. Take the index called Zoological Record, for example. It includes over 4700 journals, including many predatory journals that are unworthy of being included in any quality scholarly index.

    TR Master List

    Don’t be fooled by this list.

    The journal shown in the top image above, Investigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa (IEDEE) is an example. It provides misleading information about the TR Master List.

    On its home page, the journal declares,


    The Master Journal List includes all journal titles covered in Web of Science (WoS). This means that articles published in the journal will be searchable, discoverable and citable in Web of Science.

    This is somewhat misleading. It’s included in one of Thomson Reuters easiest databases to get into, its Emerging Sources Citation Index.

    Here’s a screenshot of the journal’s entry on the TR Master List:

    TR Master List coverage

    The whole truth.

    As you see, according to the entry, it’s only included in Emerging Sources Citation index, a list I’ve documented as containing junk journals.

    I encourage all ministries of education, all universities and colleges, all academic departments, and all funding agencies to stop using the Thomson Reuters Master List as a measure of quality.

    The list is filled with dozens or hundreds of low-quality and predatory journals. Using this list as a quality indicator actually promotes the lower quality, open-access journals included in it, for it serves as advertising for them, drawing in authors seeking easy and fast acceptance of their article submissions.

    denverjeffreyInvestigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa (IEDEETR Master ListTR Master List coveragedenverjeffreyInvestigaciones Europeas de Dirección y Economía de la Empresa (IEDEETR Master ListTR Master List coverage

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    A screenshot of part of the hijacked journal's website.

    A screenshot of part of the hijacked journal’s website.

    A scholarly journal sponsored by a United Nations organization and published in Chile has been hijacked, with the hijackers creating a counterfeit website and widely soliciting manuscript submissions. However, unlike most journal hijacking cases, in this case, the apparent perpetrator’s name and location are easily found.

    The journal is CEPAL Review (Revista CEPAL), published in Santiago, Chile by ECLAC, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, a UN agency.

    The hijacked journal, which bears the same title of and tries to present itself as the authentic journal, is located here: http://www.cepalreview.org/ The hijacked journal uses the free Open Journal Systems software — a favorite of journal hijackers — for its publishing platform.

    Generally, the domain-name registration data for hijacked journal websites is blinded. Rather surprisingly, the domain name data for this one is freely available:

    Domain Name: CEPALREVIEW.ORG
    Domain ID: D188245835-LROR
    WHOIS Server:
    Referral URL: http://www.PublicDomainRegistry.com
    Updated Date: 2016-07-09T03:45:57Z
    Creation Date: 2016-05-09T12:28:42Z
    Registry Expiry Date: 2017-05-09T12:28:42Z
    Sponsoring Registrar: PDR Ltd. d/b/a PublicDomainRegistry.com
    Sponsoring Registrar IANA ID: 303
    Domain Status: clientTransferProhibited https://icann.org/epp#clientTransferProhibited
    Registrant ID: DI_42937315
    Registrant Name: Mehmet Bahaeddin YORGUN
    Registrant Organization: N/A
    Registrant Street: Vali Mithatbey Mah. Hastahane Cad.
    Registrant Street: Nedim Odabasi Tic. Mrk. A blok Kat 2 No 2
    Registrant City: VAN
    Registrant State/Province: MERKEZ
    Registrant Postal Code: 65100
    Registrant Country: TR
    Registrant Phone: +90.05078722929

    This registration data points to a Mr. Mehmet Bahaeddin Yorgun, from Van, a city in eastern Turkey also known as a center of international smuggling.

    cepal review

    An image from the authentic journal’s website.

    This hijacked journal is currently spamming, hoping to lure submissions from researchers needing a publication in an impact factor journal. The spam email (partial screenshot below) lists the journal’s editor as “Dr. Osvaldo Sunkle.” The correct spelling of his name  is Osvaldo Sunkel.

    Hijacked journals continue to be a problem, fooling researchers in many countries. I’ve noticed an increase in their spamming in the past month. Please help me sound the warning about them so that researchers avoid their traps.

    I call on Mehmet Bahaeddin Yorgun to shut down this bogus website.

    Part of the hijacked journal's spam.

    Part of the hijacked journal’s spam.

    Hat tip: Dr. Marco van de Weert

    Appendix: A recent spam email from the hijacked journal:


    Journal Citation Reports®, Thomson Reuters
    IF: 0.133; 2014/2015


    CEPAL Review journal is a peer reviewed multidisciplinary international journal publishing original and high-quality articles covering a wide range of topics in engineering, science and technology. Published papers in CEPAL Review will be indexed in very important Indexing & Abstracting databases such as Social Sciences Citation Index, SCOPUS, EBSCO, Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory and etc. The journal welcomes author submission of original and significant contributions. Articles submitted should not have been previously published or be currently under consideration for publication any place else and should report original unpublished research results.

    * Papers can be written in English, Spanish or Portuguese.
    * All articles are sent for blind peer review, with a very fast and without delay review procedure (within approximately two week after the submission).
    * Authors have to read through the author guidelines [1] carefully before beginning the submission process.
    * Submissions are accepted through the online submission system [2] Or via e-mail: cepalreview@gmail.com.

    Learn more and read existing OnlineOpen papers in CEPAL Review [3]


    *Arts and Literature, Agricultural Sciences, Biological Sciences, Chemical Sciences, Computer and Mathematical Sciences, Engineering, Environmental Sciences, Medicine and Physics, Management and Economic, Humanities, Linguistics, Philosophy, All scientific fields.


    denverjeffreyA screenshot of part of the hijacked journal's website.cepal reviewPart of the hijacked journal's spam.denverjeffreyA screenshot of part of the hijacked journal's website.cepal reviewPart of the hijacked journal's spam.

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    by Jeffrey Beall, January 3, 2017. Each year at this time I formally announce my updated list of predatory publishers. Because the publisher list is now very large, and because I now publish four, continuously-updated lists, the annual releases do not include the actual lists but instead include statistical and explanatory data about the lists and links to them.

    Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers: This year, 2017, marks the seventh annual release or announcement of this list, which is also continuously updated. The list this year includes 1155 publishers, an increase of 232 over 2016. There are now over one thousand predatory open-access publishers.

    Number of predatory publishers, 2011-2017.

    Number of predatory publishers, 2011-2017.

    Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access journals: This year, 2017, marks the fifth annual release of this list, which is also continuously updated. The list this year includes 1294 journals, an increase of 412 over 2016. This is the first year that the number of standalone journals is higher than the number of publishers.

    Number of predatory, standalone journals, 2013-2017.

    Number of predatory, standalone journals, 2013-2017.

    Misleading metrics and Hijacked journals:  The Misleading metrics list includes companies that “calculate” and publish counterfeit impact factors (or some similar measure) to publishers, metrics the publishers then use in their websites and spam email to trick scholars into thinking their journals have legitimate impact factors.

    The Hijacked journals list includes journals for which someone has created a counterfeit website, stealing the journal’s identity and soliciting articles submissions using the author-pays model (gold open-access).

    Fake impact factor companies, 2015-2017.

    Fake impact factor companies, 2015-2017.

    Number of known hijacked journals, 2015-2017.

    Number of known hijacked journals, 2015-2017.

    Here are links to current edition of each list:

    Acknowledgement: I am very grateful for all the help, support, suggestions, and advice I have received over the past year. I especially thank those who have forwarded information — such as spam emails — to me, emails providing information about new and questionable journals and publishers, and emails that share the sender’s analysis of the journal or publisher in question. □

    denverjeffrey2015Number of predatory publishers, 2011-2017.Number of predatory, standalone journals, 2013-2017.Fake impact factor companies, 2015-2017.Number of known hijacked journals, 2015-2017.denverjeffrey2015Number of predatory publishers, 2011-2017.Number of predatory, standalone journals, 2013-2017.Fake impact factor companies, 2015-2017.Number of known hijacked journals, 2015-2017.

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