Blacklist of “Scientific” Journals to Return

For any television fans that may have stumbled upon this post, it has nothing to do with Raymond Reddington and it will not be as clever as this author’s favorite James Spader character, Alan Shore (from Boston Legal). Nonetheless, as readers of scientific journals we were excited at the announcement this week that the “blacklist” of “scientific” journals is returning, albeit from a new publisher and with a little help from the original.

For those that may not have followed Jeffrey Beall’s blog that called out potential predatory journals, you would not have known it was shut down earlier this year. In a world where the number of publishers is growing and the need to obtain content is equaled by the desire of scientific and medical professionals to get published, the check on publishers provided by Mr. Beall was unique. His list of open-access journals that he reported as publishing papers without providing certain services, such as peer-review, had grown to thousands since its inception in 2010.

Fortunately, Cabell’s International will (re)launch the list of predatory journals in mid-June. We used the “(re)” in the previous sentence loosely because the list from Cabell’s will be its own, using its own criteria which sound more objective than Beall’s, but it has been reported that Beall was a consultant for Cabell’s (at least for some time). Cabell’s list will reportedly include almost 4,000 journals. While the inclusion criteria have not been published (to date) some reportedly include: fake editors, plagiarized articles and unclear peer-review policies.

We put the word “scientific” in quotes in this post because it seems to us that an article published in a journal that is not peer-reviewed, has fake editors, or was plagiarized should not qualify as “scientific”. For pharmaceutical, medical device and nutraceutical companies that track the literature, Cabell’s list is a valuable resource to assist with assessing the reliability of certain publications. Certainly experts and attorneys involved in product liability cases should check the sources of the information they rely upon and Cabell’s list should prove to be a valuable tool for us as well.

Information for this post was obtained from Andrew Silver’s May 31, 2017 article for nature.com, which can be found here.

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