Scientific journals are supposed to publish accurate, honest, peer-reviewed articles, providing sources for scientists to find important information for their own research. There are many legitimate journals, both in print and online, that do provide accurate, well-researched, peer-reviewed articles. These journals may charge a fee for publication, but they do so to cover the cost of publication, including revision, proofreading, and peer review. However, recently a few news articles have exposed journals that have agreed to publish fake, and even plagiarized, papers in the past, leading many people to wonder why a journal would do so.
Open Access Journals
The Internet has become an easy environment for publishing scientific research, especially with the founding of open access journals. Many open access, digital journals are legitimate, following a business model similar to that of their print peers focusing on publishing accurate research beneficial to the scientific community. However, predatory journals that only care about profit, and not the validity of research, also exist online. It is these profit-focused, predatory journals that have been found to publish a fake research papers.
Exposing Predatory Journals
In one notable report on such journals, a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen prepared a paper that was largely plagiarized and riddled with inaccuracies, incorrect grammar, and incoherent language to see if he could still get it published by using the best plagiarism checker. He found eight journals willing to publish his fake scientific paper for a fee. Other similar studies into these false journals have also discovered that they are willing to accept flawed and inaccurate papers.
In It for the Money
These false journals do not have any significant review process in place because they do not actually care about what they publish. They exist only to make a profit. They pose as legitimate journals, and even buy fake impact factors to make them appear legitimate. However, unlike a reputed journal, they do not review or edit the copy.
There are hundreds of such predatory journals that are willing to publish fake research and they continue to grow in number. Unfortunately, it is largely up to researchers and review boards to identify which of these journals are real. There are online lists naming fake journals but new journals are constantly created and it takes time to add new journals to these lists. Researchers need to be careful when submitting their work to journals that do not have national recognition in their fields.
The Danger of Publishing in a Predatory Journal
Publishing research is an important part of a scientist’s career. It can be difficult to be published in the larger journals, making some scientists search for smaller journals with easier publishing requirements. However, researchers need to be aware of the possibility of scams. Publishing in one of these journals will damage an individual’s career. If the research is sound and the paper accurate, then there is always the possibility of finding a legitimate journal in which to publish, even if it may take some time. Scientific journals that do not review the work and publish fake and plagiarized papers do so merely for profit, and provide no benefit to researchers.