This month we are taking a break from the flurry of AI news to address another major and pressing concern: the surge of predatory journals (see a relevant guide/definition here) being witnessed in the academic sphere. This trend not only undermines the integrity of scholarly publishing, but also poses a threat to public trust in research.
A recent article highlights a number of points, revealing that some sources estimate there to be around 15,000 predatory journals, which is an astounding number. The authors of the article interviewed authors published in such predatory journals for a forthcoming study, and found that reasons for choosing to submit work to such journals hinged on a diverse set of reasons, including a lack of awareness, but notably, also a lack of concern. Some authors reported that their universities were more concerned with the quantity rather than the quality of their published work, and this relates to the other cited reason of lengthy peer review processes and high rejection rates from more reputable journals. This throws into sharp relief the failure of the current “publish-or-perish” paradigm in academia.
Core problems with predatory journals lie in the lack of rigorous peer-review processes and ethical editorial standards in these journals, which allows for the publication of subpar or misleading research. The consequences extend beyond the academic community, and can impact policy-making, public perception, and even clinical practices. These revelations suggest that it is now more important than ever to thoroughly address systemic problems and toxic incentives as a means of saving academic publishing from this spiral of self-destruction.
Click here for the Japanese version.