Predatory Journals vs Peer Reviewed Journals
Publishing scientific papers is not an easy task, especially for doctoral students or other novice researchers know this. Each of them would like their work to be published in a prestigious journal with a high impact factor. Moreover, the requirement for doctoral studies (currently in doctoral schools) in Poland is that a doctoral student should have at least one published article. Such a requirement, although logical from the point of view of Polish science, is often difficult to meet due to the extremely rigorous review process in this type of journals, which often blocks the author’s way to publication at the very first stage (the same also applies to experienced researchers). Of course, there are academic journals whose task is to publish the works of students and doctoral students, but they are overloaded with submissions and there is no certainty that the article will be published. Among other things, that is why the so-called predatory journals came to be.
These types of journals prey on researchers (not only beginner ones) and will publish any paper for a fee, and they are scientific only in name and have little to do with scientific quality. This has been a problem for the academic community for a long time because, unlike scientific publishing houses, they are created only to publish all submitted articles. No attention is paid to any editing process or language correction, and there is little or no reviewer supervision. Their only goal is profit, and scientists, in turn, can say they have a published paper. As emphasized by prof. Aleksander Welfe – macroeconomist, vice-president of the Polish Academy of Sciences: The process of an alleged review by a “predator” usually takes a few days, while in real scientific journals – from submission of an article to publication – sometimes over a year. On the websites of predatory journals, the publication policy looks good, but it is fiction.
So is it possible to limit this practice and are the materials published there really “worthless”? In both cases, yes and no.
In order to limit this type of activity, it would be necessary to identify publication channels that are unreliable or do not meet certain basic standards, something like a blacklist. These types of channels should then be excluded from all kinds of scientist evaluation systems: grant applications, applications for positions, and lists of scored publications.
As mentioned before, predatory journals charge exorbitant fees for publishing a work. They always publish open access. This does not mean, however, that all scientific papers published there are predatory. There are many great journals published this way. Polish Ministry of Education and Science has purchased open access and appropriate licenses from them, so in the case of publications by Polish scientists, they do not incur any additional fees. This is a fee paid not by the authors, but by the universities. Nevertheless, as emphasized by Prof. Welfe: Unfortunately, this is currently a very common phenomenon [publishing in predatory journals – ed. eCORRECTOR]. It’s actually a catastrophe. There are major state universities, which in the last evaluation, in terms of article publications, submitted a list on which nearly half were articles in predatory publications. It ruins the whole system of evaluation and ranking of units.
So is there a way to increase the chances of getting your manuscript published in magazines with a high impact factor, so as not to have to head towards “predatory” ones?
In addition to substantive issues, the review process pays great attention to language and style, especially if the publication is written in English by a non-native speaker. Therefore, the aforementioned way may be professional proofreading carried out by a native speaker with at least a Ph.D. degree in the field of work or a related one. This solution will give the manuscript the fluency of a native speaker, as well as the insight of an expert who understands the research area, and will ensure that the appropriate specialized vocabulary is used. A description of such services can be found at this link.
Full interview (in Polish) with Prof. Welfe on predatory journals is available here