Freiermuth, M.R. (2023), Now you have to pay! A deeper look at publishing practices of predatory journals

Freiermuth, M.R. (2023), Now you have to pay! A deeper look at publishing practices of predatory journals. Learned Publishing, 36: 667-688.

In this study, by using Beall’s (Scholarly open-access, 2014; Beall’s list of predatory journals and publishers, 2018) predatory journal lists as well as direct e-mail solicitations from journals, we intentionally submitted a poorly written manuscript to 58 open-access journals using counterfeit names and affiliations. Although there have been several studies examining the practices of questionable journals, there is a lack of research investigating the interactive processes in detail. Our analysis, then, was to provide a more comprehensive view of the underlying reasoning for the acceptance or rejection of a manuscript. Of the 31 journals acknowledging receipt of our manuscript, 21 accepted it either unexpurgated or asked only for cosmetic revisions. Regarding ‘positive responses’, we point to five common flaws associated with such journals, namely that (1) they lack any interest in the researchers who are submitting manuscripts; (2) they do not judge academic writing in accordance with expected conventions; (3) they appear to be indifferent to scholarship including research design, plagiarism issues, and citation quality; (4) their review process is opaque and overly hasty, and (5) the tone they use in correspondence e-mail messages is highly inappropriate. Based upon the investigation, it is clear that such journals‘ primary aim is in securing the article processing fee. Our findings paint a more comprehensive picture of questionable journal practices with the hope of disseminating such information to the broader scholarly community.

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