Beware of Predatory Journals
Identity theft, it seems, is no longer just a threat to humans. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, recently reported that two established scholarly journals, Wulfenia and Archives des Sciences, had been "hijacked." These journals are still published in print only, so the identity thieves set up online versions using the journals' titles, mailing addresses, impact factors, and International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSNs). They then began soliciting articles for publication and collecting fees from authors, a standard practice in open access publishing. At the same time, it is alleged that the online journals have been selling older articles as their own that were previously published in other, legitimate journals.
Beall has reported on other open access journals that appear to have been established for no reason except to collect author fees. They do not assume the identity of an existing journal, but some of them have very similar titles. Others aim for something unique, like the "Antarctica Journals" reported in July 2012, which sport titles such as the Antarctica Journal of Software Engineering. Some of these predatory journals maintain addresses in the U.S. to give the appearance of legitimacy, but are in fact being run from other countries.
If you want to investigate an open access journal, a good first step is to see if its publisher is among the members of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. If you want to go further, see Jeffrey Bealls' Criteria for Determining Predatory Open Access Publishers. While these bogus journals are an unfortunate development in the world of scholarly publishing, remember that open access publishing also has significant benefits. For more information, see our previously published story on Open Access Week or contact the Lewis Library Reference Office (LIB-222, 817-735-2070).