Predatory journals and publishers jeopardising (security) science – With the hope this blog can prevent several articles published in such a way
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Although this blog is not solely concerned with security science, predatory publishing has a significant impact on science as a wholeF. Krawczyk and E. Kulczycki, “How is open access accused of being predatory? The impact of Beall’s lists of predatory journals on academic publishing,” The Journal of Academic Librarianship, … Continue reading. Therefore, we cannot neglect the harms that such journals and publishers cause. This blog details the author’s personal experiences with two predatory journals that he obtained by knowingly playing their game in order to write this report.
Such publishing involves charging publication fees to authors without any or minimal review and without providing editorial and publishing services that legitimate academic journals provide regardless of open access nature. Beall reffered to predatory journals and publishers as scammersJ. Beall, “Medical Publishing Triage – Chronicling Predatory Open Access Publishers,” Annals of Medicine and Surgery, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 47–49, 2013, doi: … Continue reading, maybe having a fake editorial boardP. Sorokowski, E. Kulczycki, A. Sorokowska, and K. Pisanski, “Predatory journals recruit fake editor,” Nature, vol. 543, no. 7646, pp. 481–483, 2017, doi: 10.1038/543481a. and using quasi-impact factorsJ. Xia and M. P. Smith, “Alternative journal impact factors in open access publishing,” Learned Publishing, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 403–411, Oct. 2018, doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1200.. As BeallJ. Beall, “Predatory publishers are corrupting open access,” Nature, vol. 489, no. 7415, p. 179, 2012, doi: 10.1038/489179a. wrote, “[…] predatory publishers are dishonest and lack transparency. They aim to dupe researchers, especially those inexperienced in scholarly communication. They set up websites that closely resemble those of legitimate online publishers and publish journals of questionable and downright low quality. Many purports to be headquartered in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Australia but really hail from Pakistan, India or Nigeria.” Those predators are responsible for spamming the scholars’ mailboxesM. Kozak, O. Iefremova, and J. Hartley, “Spamming in scholarly publishing: A case study,” J Assoc Inf Sci Technol, vol. 67, no. 8, pp. 2009–2015, Aug. 2016, doi: … Continue reading.
Beall listed predatory journals and publishers up until January 2017, when he closed his blog. A copy of the last version of the list is currently available at https://beallslist.net/, and scholars are trying to improve Beall’s approach or redefine the whole concept of predatory publishingA. Grudniewicz et al., “Predatory journals: no definition, no defence,” Nature, vol. 576, no. 7786, pp. 210–212, Dec. 2019, doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03759-y.. An actual list is available at https://www.openacessjournal.com.
The following introduces two case studies which involved the author. The first one discusses the need for reviewers by the editor of the American Journal of Computer Science and Technology, while the second one is about publication in the International Journal of Economics and Finance. The two lists each include these two journals. Chronological order is used to explain the events.
1. Invitation to be a reviewer of the American Journal of Computer Science and Technology
On November 08, 2022, the following letter arrived:
Call for EԀitоrial Commіttее MеmЬеrs/Rеviеѡers
|Help to Advance Your Community||Add to Your Αсademiс Reputation||Assessing the Newest Ɍesearcհ|
Dear Zsolt Bederna; Zoltan Rajnai,
American Јoυrnal of Computer Science and Technology (AJCST) is an open-aᴄᴄҽss and sϲհolarly ϳoᴜrnal for scientists, professors, and students involved in the area of computer science and technology.
|Recruiting EԀitоrial ΒoarԀ MеmЬеr/Rеviеѡer|
AJ/CST is seeking for active, qualified and high-profile scientists and rеѕеarchers to jοіn as EԀitоrial ΒoarԀ MеmЬеrs and Rеviеѡers.
You can find the details of jοіning us via: http://www.amjocst.net/j53y/lEqma
The Rеviеѡer and EԀitоrial team are one of the factors that determine the quality of a ϳoᴜrnal. We list some of the EԀitоrial MеmЬеrs and Rеviеѡers of AJCST for your reference.
AJCST | EԀitоrial ΒoarԀ MеmЬеrs
X Y Department of Computer Science and Engineering, SRM Institute Of Science And Technology, Ramapuram, Chennai, India
X Y Department of Computer Science, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an, China
Dr X Y Department of Computer Science and Аpplіcatіons, St. Aloysius College (Autonomous), Mangaluru, India
X Y Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of Florida, Gainesville, United States
AJCST | Rеviеѡers
X Y Department of Information Technology, University of Eastern Philippines, Catarman, Philippines
X Y Department of Computer Science, University of Thi-Qar, Nasiriyah, Iraq
X Y Department of Ɍesearcհ Processes and Data Management, IT Center of RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, Germany
X Y Information System Management,College of Business Informatics,University of Information Technology and Communication, Baghdad, Iraq
We are deeply impressed by your rеѕеarch, the excerpt of which is listed below:
Тitlҽ: Analysis of the cybersecurity ecosystem in the European Union
AЬstrаct: The information society is a complex network of interconnected public and private entities and human beings. Many of them choose a certain level of technological development from the generally available solutions to support internal processes attaining objectives that support operations, creating technological dependence via internal or external servіϲes of the information and communication technologies (ICTs). Due to the technological development and technological dependence caused by ICTs, a society-wide political need has arisen for tackling security requirements for cyberspace in several sectors to satisfy the individuals’ needs that directly or indirectly define the requirements for such servіϲes, resulting in a complex ecosystem with several раrticiраnts. Although the European Union has formulated some crucial rules via regulations and directives with which it increasingly defined cybersecurity stakeholders from time to time, there are several missing affected parties. This ρaρҽr aims to rеvіеw the relevant technological, societal, and economic factors of the information society creating the necessity to strictly handle cybersecurity requirements and analyse decisive stakeholders via a theoretical framework. Furthermore, it also identifies the current legislative framework iѕѕuеs to identify pain points.
On November 15 2022, the application was sent.
On November 21 2022, the application was accepted.
The Initial Term of the appointment shall be 2 years: commenced on Nov.21, 2022, and ends on Nov.21, 2024. If both sides agree, it may be extended once it expires.
On November 25 2022, the notification arrived in email:
Dear Zsolt Bederna,
We feel honored to inform you that your application for serving as a reviewer of American Journal of Computer Science and Technology has been accepted and your name has appeared in the reviewer list on the journal’s website. Please check your information via the link below:
The Initial Term of the appointment shall be 2 years: began on Nov.21, 2022, and ends on Nov.21, 2024. It can be renewed upon expiration, if both sides agree.
If you want to download the certificate, please click the following website for more details:
As a reviewer, you are expected to:
- Review submitted manuscripts.
- Provide detailed comments on submitted papers.
- Hold decision on paper’s acceptance or rejection.
- Recommend well-written quality papers for publication in this journal.
- Call for papers from your acquaintances.
Meanwhile, you can:
- Publish your paper after being accepted by the peer review process.
- Use the journal logo or claim the journal to your scientific career development.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us.
But since then, only a few invitations to submit manuscript was sent from time to time:
Warmest greetings from American Joսrnаl of Computer Science and Technology (ΙЅЅN: 2640-012X).
We highly appreciate your support to this jоurnαl as a rеᴠiеwer ever since November 21, 2022. Because of your rich αcαdеmic expertise and knowledge, we would be deeply honored if you can support the jоurnαl further.
Invіtatіοn to SuƄmіt Your Original Artiᴄlеs
We іnνіte you to рubliѕh your manυsϲripts of high quality in the jоurnαl. Taking your rich knowledge and researϲհ experience into account, we are sure that your researϲհ results can enlighten many αcαdеmic peers and help with scientific development in related fields.
2. Publishing at the International Journal of Economics and Finance
On January 12 2023, the editorial assistant sent the following invitation:
I am writing this email with regard to your research paper “Analysis of the cybersecurity ecosystem in the European Union” published by “International Cybersecurity Law Review”. I read it and felt that your workis worthy of admiration. It shows your potential to influence and inspire fellow researchers and scholars.
I am Michael, the editorial assistant of International Journal of Economics and Finance (IJEF). IJEF is a peer-reviewed journal published by the Canadian Center of Science and Education and can be found both online and in print. The journal publishes research papers covering these subjects: economics, financial economics and finance, and it has been indexed by ANVUR, CNKI, Elektronische Zeitschriftenbibliothek (EZB), Gale’s Academic Databases, Harvard Library, Lockss, Norwegian Centre for Research Data (NSD), RePEc, ROAD, ZBW-German National Library of Economics, Zeitschriften daten bank (ZDB) and so on.
Right now, with the next issue scheduled to publish in February 2023, it is a great pleasure to invite you to contribute your best erudition and research. Your contribution will help us to establish a high standard. If you are interested, please find the journal’s profile at http://ijef.ccsenet.org and submit your manuscripts online. Or you can send your paper directly to the e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions, please contact the editorial assistant at email@example.com
Besides, we can also publicize special issues, if you are interested in publishing the special issue with us, please reply to us and we will discuss more details.
We would appreciate it if you could share this information with your colleagues and associates.
On the same day, the assistant received the following answer:
I appreciate your email, it is honorific and I find your writing admirable. Unfortunately, I was unable to respond to your mail at that time due to other manuscript adjustments that had to be made for private company projects and required by reviewers. However, I would gladly contribute to the following issue that is open for receiving manuscripts. Currently, I’m working on a manuscript with the job title “Hypothetical financial-perspective analysis of cyber threat actors”, and I intend to finish it within the month. I truly hope that it will also work.
On January 31 2023, the manuscript was sent.
On February 02 2023, the editorial assistant sent:
Thanks for your email. Your article has been received. We use a double-blind system for peer reviews. The paper will be peer reviewed by at least two experts, and the review process may take four to ten weeks. We will inform you of our decision and forward the reviewers’ comments as soon as possible.
However, please note that we will charge the authors an article processing fee (for formatting and hosting) for each article they publish (USD300/article). Please let me know whether you will be paying the APC, and, if so, I will arrange a peer review of your paper.
On February 03 2023, the editorial assistant sent:
Thanks for your quick reply, and your article has been assigned to a peer reviewer. We will inform you of our decision and forward the reviewers’ comments as soon as possible.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
On March 09 2023, the editorial assistant sent:
Dear Zsolt Bederna,
Thank you for your submission to the journal. We have reached a decision regarding your submission. Please find the result attached.
Also, please confirm receipt of this e-mail. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
The reviewers notes only the following:
The Introduction incorporates a partial literature review, that could be given in the specific section. Besides, the structure of this work also can be presented at the end of Introduction.
The conclusion section summarizes the content of the study but does not mention a further studier extension of the study and policy implications for decision-makers in society.
On March 13 2023, the minimally revised manuscript was sent to the editorial assistant.
On the same day, the payment was done through Paypal:
You sent a payment of $300.00 USD to 赵 立俊 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
On March 15 2023, the editorial assistant sent an email with the following content:
We have received your revised paper. Please scan your payment receipt to us, then we can confirm your payment timely.
On the same day, the proof of payment was sent.
On March 31 2023, the editorial assistant sent the following update:
We are working on your paper for publication. Please find the current version as an attachment. Review your paper, and give us feedback before March 31, 2023. We will publish the current version if we do not get your response by this time.
Please do not change the format and layout, that has been designed for publication. More importantly, please review the language for errors. If you make any changes in the Word file, please mark it in red or inform us via e-mail.
Publishing any paper in a predatory journal represents wasted time, effort, and opportunity since the article has no scientific value, and the research cannot be republished in a reputable journal. Also, publishing in predatory journals can reflect badly on a researcher’s reputation. Therefore, researchers must do their due diligence to check the given journal, watching the signs indicating the probability of the predatory nature.
This blog has been created to assist in recognizing such signals, with the hope and intention that it can help in overshadowing, obscuring predatory journals. All efforts are worthwhile if it helps to prevent such publication.
The article published in the International Journal of Economics and Finance is not intended to be introduced in any of the author’s scientific activities. However, in terms of topic relevance, the content is the restructured, revised, and improved version of the manuscript, that is available as a blog.
Zsolt Bederna is a PhD candidate at Óbuda University Doctoral School on Safety and Security Sciences, Hungary, with the research topic of information and communication technology’s security in critical infrastructures. He conducted various research on different perspectives of cybersecurity, such as the Union-level governance as well as national-level and business effects of cyberattacks, including financial and non-financial impacts. He is a security expert in the business area, holding ISACA, ISC(2), and EC-Council certificates. He is the founder and CEO of a cybersecurity consulting firm and a CTO at a startup working with user awareness.
|↑1||F. Krawczyk and E. Kulczycki, “How is open access accused of being predatory? The impact of Beall’s lists of predatory journals on academic publishing,” The Journal of Academic Librarianship, vol. 47, no. 2, p. 102271, 2021, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102271.|
|↑2||J. Beall, “Medical Publishing Triage – Chronicling Predatory Open Access Publishers,” Annals of Medicine and Surgery, vol. 2, no. 2, pp. 47–49, 2013, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2049-0801(13)70035-9.|
|↑3||P. Sorokowski, E. Kulczycki, A. Sorokowska, and K. Pisanski, “Predatory journals recruit fake editor,” Nature, vol. 543, no. 7646, pp. 481–483, 2017, doi: 10.1038/543481a.|
|↑4||J. Xia and M. P. Smith, “Alternative journal impact factors in open access publishing,” Learned Publishing, vol. 31, no. 4, pp. 403–411, Oct. 2018, doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1200.|
|↑5||J. Beall, “Predatory publishers are corrupting open access,” Nature, vol. 489, no. 7415, p. 179, 2012, doi: 10.1038/489179a.|
|↑6||M. Kozak, O. Iefremova, and J. Hartley, “Spamming in scholarly publishing: A case study,” J Assoc Inf Sci Technol, vol. 67, no. 8, pp. 2009–2015, Aug. 2016, doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23521.|
|↑7||A. Grudniewicz et al., “Predatory journals: no definition, no defence,” Nature, vol. 576, no. 7786, pp. 210–212, Dec. 2019, doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03759-y.|