Predatory Journals: The Downside of the Push for Open Access

In theory, I agree with the concept of the “Open Access” movement. In reality, this push for open access seems to have resulted in an exponential increase in predatory journals and publishers. One just needs to look at the history of Beall’s List to see this in action. In only 5 years, the number of potential  possible, or probably predatory scholarly open-access publishers has increased from 18 in 2011 to 693 as of this past January. Furthermore, in just 3 years, the list of potential, possible, or probably predatory scholarly open-access journals has increased from 126 in 2011 to 507 as of this past January.


From Beall's List Website
From Beall’s List Website

For our Open Access Journal blog prompt, I selected one from Beall’s list. The International Journal of Food and Nutritional Sciences (IJFANS), sounds scholarly enough, and would likely not seem suspect to the general public. It may very well be legitimate, but since it is on Beall’s list, that is concerning.

Where Is the Journal From?: The Editor in Chief of the IJFANS is a professor at the University of Oslo in Oslo, Norway. The Managing, Associate, and Assistant Editors are all from institutions in India.  I looked up the Editor in Chief from the University of Oslo, and he does indeed work at this institution. However, when I searched for the Managing Editor, my computer gave me a scary-looking warning and emitted a loud and startling beeping noise warning me to NOT proceed to the webpage. This was concerning, so I stopped my investigation of the editorial board there! More over, the managing editor has only 3 publications which are indexed on PubMed, which further increases my doubts about this open access journal.

What are the Purpose, Goals, and Scope of the Journal?: The Aim & Hope of the IJFANS is…“To publish research articles in rapidly developing field of Food Sciences and Clinical Nutrition… Aim of IJFANS is to publish review and research articles in rapidly developing field of Food Sciences and Clinical Nutrition…The journal aims to cover the latest outstanding developments in the field of Food Sciences and Clinical Nutrition specifically in their respective following branches.”

How Does the Journal Address/Explain Open Access? How (if at all) does it position itself within the open access movement?: “This journal is an online journal having full access to the published review and research papers. Manuscripts submitted to the editor are first reviewed by journal’s reviewer and, if necessary, by other experts. All review and research articles will be subject to thorough and fair review by the Editors….As this is an open access journal and if the manuscript is accepted for publication, the authors has to pay US dollar $100 or Euro 80 (Foreign Authors) or Rs. 3500 (Indian Authors) per article towards processing and publishing may be intimated within one week from the date of manuscript submission. The modes of fee payment will also be intimated in the acceptance letter”

Basically, this journal only briefly addresses the Open Access portion. Apparently, so long as you pay, your article can be published within a week of submission. This is a prime example of the downside to the push for open access, more predatory journals! Several times a week I get email solicitations to submit papers for publication in these open access journals. While I recognize them as being predatory thanks to VT librarians presenting on this topic in my department seminar, I worry that other researchers may not be aware of this trend. In addition, I’m concerned that the public will not distinguish between high-quality open access journals and those which are predatory.

What experiences with predatory journals do you have?





About tanyamh

A PhD Student at Virginia Tech. This blog was created as a class requirement for Contemporary Pedagogy - Spring 2013.

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