Predatory journals continue to be a scourge of medical publishing. Just recently an article on The Publication Plan highlighted the concerning number of predatory journals indexed on PubMed. What tools are available to help fight this damaging advancement? Two years ago, following the closure of Beall’s list, Cabell’s International launched The Journal Blacklist, a searchable record of deceptive and predatory journals “to keep academia protected from exploitative operations”. In a recent article for The Scholarly Kitchen, Rick Anderson (J Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah), reviews The Journal Blacklist and how it has evolved over the past two years.
Incredibly, there are nearly 12,000 titles included in the Blacklist with another 1,000 under consideration. Anderson outlines what he considers the primary strengths of the list, including:
- defined inclusion criteria, grouped according to severity
- reasons for inclusion provided for each title
- a clear appeals procedure
- a platform for readers to provide information about journals.
He also identifies a few weaknesses, such as the lack of explanation as to why a journal is under consideration for inclusion and the presence of some “ambiguous and unclear” inclusion criteria. As discussed by commenters on the article, an additional drawback is that, unlike Beall’s list, this list is only available on subscription, which may limit access.
The rise of predatory journals affects everyone involved in scholarly publishing. The availability of tools such as ‘blacklists’ as well as guidance on how to identify legitimate journals, may help authors in the fight to restrict this exploitative business.