Predatory publications: what to fear when publishing in Scopus.

Publishing scammers are one of the biggest problems graduate students and researchers who are planning their first publication on Scopus may encounter.

Unscrupulous publications are aimed exclusively at generating income and discredit scientific activity, sow distrust in indexed journals, reducing scientific publications to pure formality. Most of them are actively advertised, but stop their activity after a short time, or resume work, but under a different name, often representing themselves as a “young publication” with great prospects.

The term “predatory magazines” has become widely known in the scientific community thanks to the American librarian Geoffrey Bill, who monitors the field of scientific periodicals and identifies unscrupulous publications. Jeffrey Bill has been compiling a list of such publishers and magazines for several years. Currently, a list of more than 1000 publishers and about 1300 magazines has been compiled, and unfortunately, it is constantly updated. The list is used by the Scopus and Web of Sainz scientific databases to identify pseudo-scientific publications.

The characteristic features of “predatory publications” are as follows:

  1. The editorial board of the journal does not review the submitted scientific materials, but assigns this mission to the author himself, puts forward the requirement to write a review on his own article or get it from his colleagues. As a result, without the participation of the editors, a review can turn out to be biased and always positive.
  2. In the journal, on a paid basis, intermediary services are offered regarding the preparation of reviews or payment is required until the article is submitted for consideration by the editorial board. Legal paid services are considered to be the technical preparation of the manuscript, translation, editing, the rest – divorce.
  3. The magazine is actively advertised, offers inexperienced authors publishing services in the shortest possible time, for example, in a few days.
  4. Keeps secret information about members of the editorial board, experts and publication staff. Not specified ISSN edition.
  5. The publication reports deliberately false information: about inclusion in the prestigious databases of Web of Science and Scopus, cites citation indices and other indicators that are not true.
  6. Low real scientometric indicators of the publication (impact factor, quartile, SJR indicator, CiteScore and others).
  7. The journal issues contain a large number of articles (for example, more than 40), and the volume of publications themselves is insignificant (about 3-4 pages).
  8. The authors are invited to increase the scientific level of publication by the editorial staff on a paid basis.
  9. The magazine is engaged in manipulations with scientometric indicators and citation, for example, it practices excessive self-citation. For a fee, co-authorship with more reputable scientists is offered.

The scientific community and leading scientific publishers are increasingly engaged in the fight against such scammers. Lists of “predatory publications” are compiled, mechanisms are being developed to detect fraud and manipulate scientometric indices. Magazines that do not meet the requirements of scientific publishing ethics are excluded from leading databases. The scientific publishing house Elsevier, which owns the Scopus database, is also actively working to identify such journals and excludes them from its database. Publication in a “predatory journal” can turn out to be a waste of time and money for the author, negatively affect his reputation in the scientific community, put him on the set goal, undermine the credibility of international publications.