Science

‘Reputed institutions publish in bogus journals’

Contrary to popular belief, 57% of primary biomedical research papers published in predatory journals are from developed countries. Of the 1,907 papers published in 220 predatory journals, 27% were by researchers based in India, followed by the U.S. at 15%. The predatory journals were chosen from a list drawn up by University of Colorado Denver librarian Jeffrey Beall.

“Our findings suggest that the problem of predatory publishing is a global phenomenon that researchers from across the globe from a variety of academic institutions have contributed to,” Larissa Shamseer, from the University of Ottawa and one of the authors of the comment piece, said in an email to The Hindu.

Researchers from prestigious international universities in the U.S. too published in predatory journals.

Harvard in the picture

With nine papers, Harvard University had the highest number of papers published in bogus journals, followed by the University of Texas — 11 papers from all campuses. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, published seven papers in such journals. According to the 2017 Institute for Democracy and Economic Analysis (IDEA) study, about 15,000 papers from researchers based in the U.S. are published in predatory journals.

Papers by researchers from reputed institutions in India have found their way into bogus journals. A 12-month investigation by a team of researchers led by Dr. David Moher from Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ontario, Canada, found that with 20 papers by 14 researchers, D.Y. Patil University based in Mumbai had the most number of papers published in trash journals from India. Manipal University with 15 papers and nine papers by researchers at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute were the other top publishers in predatory journals.

The study found that the papers were “atrocious in terms of reporting”. Only 40% declared receiving ethics committee approval, nearly a three-quarter of the papers did not provide information on funding and assessing the risk of bias was abysmally small.

The results of the study were published on September 6 in the journal Nature.

Considering that researchers from reputed institutions must be aware of respected journals in their field of specialisation, are they publishing in predatory journals knowing fully well its true nature?

“Some may be duped into thinking these journals are legitimate. Alternatively, there may be researchers who knowingly publish in these journals. At most academic institutions, the focus of evaluation is on quantity of scientific publications, rather than on their quality,” Ms. Shamseer said.

The University Grants Commission’s revised white list of approved journals too has 84 predatory journals, of which 71 are still active.

This article has been corrected for a typographical error.

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Printable version | Apr 23, 2021 12:05:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/reputed-institutions-publish-in-bogus-journals/article19632682.ece

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