As part of our ongoing mission to protect and foster research integrity, the following journals from the publisher Hindawi have been removed from our Journalytics Academic and Journalytics Medicine databases for failure to meet our quality criteria, pending re-evaluation of their policies and practices:
Advances In Materials Science And Engineering (ISSN: 1687-8434)
Biomed Research International (ISSN: 2314-6133)
Computational And Mathematical Methods In Medicine (ISSN: 1748-670X)
Computational Intelligence And Neuroscience (ISSN: 1687-5265)
Contrast Media & Molecular Imaging (ISSN: 1555-4309)
Disease Markers (ISSN: 0278-0240)
Education Research International (ISSN: 2090-4002)
Evidence-Based Complementary And Alternative Medicine (ISSN: 1741-427X)
Journal Of Environmental And Public Health (ISSN: 1687-9805)
Journal Of Healthcare Engineering (ISSN: 2040-2295)
Journal Of Nanomaterials (ISSN: 1687-4110)
Journal Of Oncology (ISSN: 1687-8450)
Journal of Sensors (ISSN: 1687-725X)
Mathematical Problems In Engineering (ISSN: 1024-123X)
Mobile Information Systems (ISSN: 1574-017X)
Oxidative Medicine And Cellular Longevity (ISSN: 1942-0900)
Scanning (ISSN: 0161-0457)
Scientific Programming (ISSN: 1058-9244)
Security and Communication Networks (ISSN: 1939-0114)
Wireless Communications & Mobile Computing (ISSN: 1530-8669)
Wiley’s statement confirming ‘compromised articles’ in Hindawi special issues, coupled with strong evidence that at least some of the retracted content was generated by paper mills, points to the absence of a functional peer review system in place at the above listed journals. The backbone of not just any legitimate, trustworthy journal, but of all of academic and medical publishing, is a robust and closely managed peer review process.
We covered the wave of retraction notices in recent years from scientific and medical publications on our Journalytics Medicine blog in November. Retractions are, to a certain extent, ‘part of the process’ for journals, but retractions at this level by one publisher shows a breakdown in that process. It is our hope that the removal of these journals from our databases will motivate all scholarly and medical publishers to review their current publication processes and make the necessary improvements or changes to any substandard elements.
Despite admittedly painting a “sobering picture,” the report stresses that the SDGs can be rescued with concentrated global effort in three crucial areas:
armed conflicts and the senseless loss of lives and resources that accompany them must be ended in favor of diplomacy and peace – preconditions for sustainability
the blueprint laid out by the SDGs must be met with urgency
a global economy that works for all must be created to ensure developing countries are not left behind.
Those are no small tasks and there is no denying that moving the planet forward on the path to sustainability will require coordinated worldwide action. Fortunately, the SDG roadmap is clear and as Liu Zhenmin, former Under-Secretary-General for the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs points out in the 2022 Report, “just as the impact of crises is compounded when they are linked, so are solutions.”
We must rise higher to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals – and stay true to our promise of a world of peace, dignity and prosperity on a healthy planet.
António Guterres Secretary-General, United Nations
To help in this effort, researchers, authors, educators, reviewers, and editorial boards are invited to join the SDG Publishers Compact Fellows and the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI) in a Sustainable Solutions Summit next month. The virtual event will focus on the top recommended actions and trends to better align academic research, education materials, and the sharing of research findings with making the world a better place through connections to the SDGs.
SDG research output is increasing and it is clear that scholarship and science must be driving forces behind the push for the Global Goals. But to succeed, the gap between researchers and practitioners must be closed. Groups like the SDG Publishers Compact Fellows and HESI, and events like the Sustainable Solutions Summit, will be key to leveraging the power of scholarly publishing to help solve the SDGs.
It’s hard to imagine where the scholarly publishing landscape would be today without open access. As we reach two decades from the inception of open access, it’s important to evaluate how this model has revolutionized research and its potential future directions.
Before diving into the numbers, it’s important to note that open access reporting is unstandardized. Depending on the databases assessed and definitions of open access, document types, and related terms, the reported number of open access articles per year can differ dramatically between reports. However, overarching trends remain relatively consistent across reports.
In 2022, the Research Information Observatory partnered with the Max Planck Digital Library and Big Data Analytics Group to compile and publish their data paper, “Long Term Global Trends in Open Access.” Their report found that the percentage of articles that are accessible without paywall subscriptions has increased substantially: around 30% of articles published in 2010 were openly accessible, which jumped to around 50% of articles published in 2019.
Future Expectations and Projections for Open Access
During his time working at Cabells, predatory publishing practices turned into a near obsession for Simon Linacre – so much so, he wrote a book about it: The Predator Effect. Here he shares details of the book, and how predatory journals could form part of a publishing ethics crisis.
In a recent conversation with a senior academic regarding publishing ethics, the discussion veered between predatory publishing, paper mills, paraphrasing software and the question of whether an article written by AI could be regarded as an original piece of work. Shaking his head, the academic sighed and exclaimed: “Retirement is starting to look pretty good right now!” The conversation demonstrated what a lot of people in scholarly communications feel right now, which is that at this moment in time, we are losing the arms race when it comes to research integrity and publishing ethics.
In the last year, we have seen the number of predatory journals included on Cabells’ Predatory Report database approach 17,000, thousands of articles be retracted by major publishers such as Wiley and IoP, and major scandals, such as one I worked on with Digital Science company Ripeta, where one author was responsible for dozens of plagiarised articles. The concern is that many more articles might have leaked into the scholarly communications system from paper mills, and this coupled with leaps in technology that enable students and authors to buy essays and articles generated by AI without lifting a finger themselves. Now wonder older scholars who didn’t have to deal with such technologies are shaking their heads in despair.
These issues can be rather abstract as they don’t necessarily translate into tangible impacts for most people, but this also means they can be misunderstood and underestimated. For example, what happens when an individual reads about a cure in a predatory journal and tries to use it and makes the condition of a patient worse? Or what about someone qualifying for a position based on coursework they cheated on? There are numerous instances where a breakdown in ethics and integrity can cause major problems.
More broadly, the whole fabric of trust that society has in academic research risks being undermined with so many options open to bad actors if they wish to buck the system for their own ends. We have seen this with the fateful Wakefield article about the MMR vaccine in the 1990s, the effects of which are still being felt today. That was an anomaly, but if people ceased to believe that published research was trustworthy because of these numerous threats, then we will indeed be in a perilous position.
In October, the State of Open Data (SoOD) report was published by Figshare, Digital Science and Springer Nature. It produced the results of a huge survey of researchers which showed open data sharing was only growing gradually, and policymaking needed to be more joined up and consistent
In November, The Predator Effect was published – a short open access ebook detailing the history and impact of predatory publishing practices.
While each of these publications offers some sobering findings in terms of the problems faced by scholarly communications, they also offer some hope that technology might provide some solutions in the future. In terms of predatory journals, this means using not only using technology as one solution, but using multiple solutions together in a joined up way. As I say in the book:
“Using technology to improve hygiene factors such as legitimate references may be another strategy that, if adopted together and more widely, will have a significant impact on predatory journal output.” (Linacre, 2022)
Concerns around trust in science are real, but so is the anticipation that technology can show how scholarly communications can move forward. As a former publisher, I thought technology could easily solve the problem, but thanks to working at Cabells I understood much more work is required in equipping researchers with the right tools, knowledge and know how to avoid predatory journals. In the past, collaboration in the industry has often been slow and not fully inclusive, but this will have to change if a breakdown in research integrity and publication ethics is going to be avoided.
Last month, Cabells was lucky enough to attend two of our favorite conferences – the Charleston Library Conference, appropriately held in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, and GBSN Beyond, the annual conference of the Global Business School Network (GBSN), this year held in The Netherlands. We were excited to attend the events not just due to the amazing locations, or to once again be together with the scholarly community (something we have sorely missed), but also for the chance to spread the word on a project we are passionate about – helping publishers, researchers, educators, and practitioners work together to achieve the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Our first stop was the Charleston Library Conference, where our project manager, Clarice Martel, took part in an outstanding panel to present, “Sustainability, Open Science, and Scholarly Communications.” The session discussed ways that the scientific community, publishers, and librarians can drive change and wider societal outreach through open science policies and by embracing SDGs as a key topic in research impact, mission, and practice. Clarice was joined on the panel by Robin Kear, Liaison Librarian at the University of Pittsburgh, Lucy Frisch, Director of Content Marketing Strategy at Springer Nature, and Laura Helmuth, who is the editor in chief of Scientific American.
Having a panel comprised of knowledgeable and passionate stakeholders from all corners of scholarly communication was key in creating a comprehensive and action-inspiring session. Themes that ran through each part of the presentation were the vital importance of advocating for open access (OA) research, further development of OA-focused resources and related initiatives, and the importance of supporting education and action plans around SDGs and other sustainability-focused science.
Clarice highlighted Cabells work with the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (HESI), an open partnership between several UN entities and the higher education community. HESI aims to create an interface between higher education, science, and policy-making by supporting sustainable development, convening multi-stakeholder discussions and action, and sharing best practices. Stressing the importance of establishing and adhering to best practices and driving action around SDGs, Clarice also discussed our work as part of the SDG Publishers Compact Fellows group, focusing on action tips to put research into practice.
A few days later, on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Dr. Julia Neufeind, journal metric scientist at Cabells, joined forces with Dr. Steingard to present, “Measuring the Relevance of Academic Research in Terms of the SDGs” at GBSN Beyond. The session touched on several crucial issues in need of attention and action, such as the paucity of articles published (only 2.8% as of December 2021) in ‘top-tier’ journals that address SDGs and related research, and the need to transform from ‘quality’ to ‘impact’ when assessing academic publications.
We are committed to further developing the SDGII and will continue our efforts to encourage all areas of science to share in incentivizing researchers to perform work that addresses the SDGs, and to highlight journals that recognize and prioritize these global challenges.
Cabells was excited and honored to have the opportunity to take part in the EduData Summit (EDS), which took place at the United Nations in New York City in June. The EDS is the “world’s premium forum for data-driven educators – a platform for strategists, data scientists, CIOs and other dataheads to discuss and share best practices at the intersection of big data, predictive analytics, learning analytics, and education.”
Cabells CTO Lucas Toutloff was joined by Rachel Martin, Global Sustainability Director at Elsevier, and David Steingard from Saint Joseph’s University’s Haub School of Business for the virtual presentation “Industry-University Collaboration for Impact with the UN SDGs.” The panel discussed the importance of connecting research and science to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) widely, and more specifically, bridging the gap between researchers and practitioners. The SDGs are 17 interconnected goals spanning a large set of environmental, social, and economic topics and represent a universal call to action for building a more sustainable planet by 2030.
Scholarly publishing can steer research and innovation toward the SDGs if we specifically and collectively shift the focus to address these crucial objectives and solutions. Researchers must lead the way by providing solutions for practitioners to put into action. Cabells, as one of the first U.S. organizations and non-primary publishers globally to be awarded membership to the SDG Publishers Compact, along with having the privilege of being part of the Compact’s Fellows Group, is fully invested in helping to leverage the power of scholarly publishing to achieve the SDGs.
The SDG Publisher’s Compact and Fellows Group
The SDG Publisher’s Compact’s core mission is to create practical and actionable recommendations for stakeholders in every corner of academic research – publishers, editors and reviewers, researchers and students, authors and librarians – for how they can have the SDGs at the forefront of their research agenda so we can collectively bridge the gap between researchers and practice.
The goal of the Compact Fellows Group is to encourage all areas of the ecosystem to share in incentivizing researchers to perform work that supports and addresses the SDG and help smooth the transition from research to practice. The Fellows Group has created specific best practices and recommendations for each sector that can be acted upon immediately to drive research into the hands of practitioners. The goal is to incentivize research that is driving innovation to address the SDGs which means we need to have ways to parse through, discover, and measure this research, because “what gets measured gets done.”
A major component in this process is establishing a broad spectrum of reporting and insights to drive incentives and measures of impactful research to gauge how an institution, individual researcher, or journal is performing in terms of SDGs. SDG Publisher’s Compact members have a responsibility to drive research to action and impact and devise ways to measure its effectiveness, reward those who conduct and publish impactful research in impactful journals, and continue to encourage those who don’t.
The SDG Impact Intensity Journal Rating
Toward this end, and in the spirit of SDG 17 “Partnerships for the Goals,” we are working with SJU on a publisher-neutral, AI-driven academic journals rating system assessing scholarly impact on the SDGs, called the SDG Impact IntensityTM (SDGII) journal rating. Data, scholarship, and science will be the driving forces for meeting the 2030 goal and as SDG research output is increasing, funders, universities, and commercial and not-for-profit organizations need to know money, time, and research is being well spent and having an impact.
We have discussed (here and here) our commitment to doing our part to advance progress on meeting the SDGs and, ultimately, the 2030 Agenda. Our work with Professor Steingard and his team from SJU in developing the SDGII to help business schools determine the impact their research is having on society by addressing global crises has been some of our most rewarding work. Working within the business school ecosystem, we’re examining how the SDGs can inspire a transformation from quality to impact in business by looking at journals in terms of their alignment and taxonomy connection to the SDGs.
Cabells and SJU are trying to address this problem through the SDGII by shifting the philosophy on what “counts” when looking at business journals and noting which publications are driving impact with respect to the SDGs. We are working to integrate, promote, and ultimately change the benchmarks of what matters in academic output and the data that drives decision-making.
Sustainability is the crisis of our generation, and sustainability‑mindedness has been an important point in academic research. The SDGII is designed to give stakeholders on every level the ability to measure what they’re doing and to serve as a cross‑motivational tool to drive the industry forward on issues of sustainability. As mentioned earlier, when it comes to incentives, what gets measured gets done. The traditional metrics of evaluating the quality of research journals focus mainly on citation intensity which evaluates journals based on how much they are used and cited. While this makes sense on some level, research must be read to have an impact after all, it’s missing the mark by not considering, and measuring, impact on SDGs.
The SDGII is an alternative, complementary metric that will evaluate a journals SDG research and output through artificial intelligence and machine learning and build a profile for the publication to demonstrate its impact on these issues. Rather than throw out the traditional approach of evaluating quality and value of a journal, we are seeking to build on the foundation that good journals have in terms of things like scholarly rigor, audience, citations, and rankings. We want to move the needle to highlight research and journals that address the SDGs and the SDGII will help business schools demonstrate how their research is achieving societal impact and meeting the Global Goals.
Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted in August, 2021.
As members of our journal evaluation team work their way around the universe of academic and medical publications, one of the more brazen and egregious predatory publishing scams they encounter is the hijacked, or cloned, journal. One recent case of this scheme uncovered by our team, while frustrating in its flagrance, also offered some levity by way of its ineptitude. But make no mistake, hijacked journals are one of the more nefarious and injurious operations carried out by predatory publishers. They cause extensive damage not just to the legitimate journal that has had its name and brand stolen, but to medical and academic research at large, their respective communities of researchers and funders, and, ultimately, society.
There are a few different variations on the hijacked journal, but all include a counterfeit operation stealing the title, branding, ISSN, and/or domain name of a legitimate journal to create a duplicate, fraudulent version of the same. They do this to lure unsuspecting (or not) researchers into submitting their manuscripts (on any topic, not just those covered by the original, legitimate publication) for promises of rapid publication for a fee.
A recent case of journal hijacking investigated by our team involved the legitimate journal, Tierärztliche Praxis, a veterinary journal out of Germany with two series, one for small and one for large animal practitioners:
by this counterfeit operation, using the same name:
One of the more immediate problems caused by cloned journals is how difficult they make it for scholars to discover and engage with the legitimate journal, as shown in the image below of Google search results for “Tierärztliche Praxis.” The first several search results refer to the fake journal, including the top result which links to the fake journal homepage:
“Tierärztliche praxis” translates to “veterinary practice” in English, and the legitimate journal is of course aimed at veterinary practitioners. Not so for the fake Tierärztliche Praxis “journal” (whose “publishers” didn’t bother/don’t care to find out what “tierärztliche” translates to) which claims to be a multidisciplinary journal covering all subjects and will accept articles on anything by anyone willing to pay to be published:
Aside from a few of the more obvious signs of deception found with the cloned journal: a poor website with duplicate text and poor grammar, an overly simple submission process, no consideration of the range of topics covered, to name a few, this journal’s “archive” of (stolen) articles takes things to a new level:
A few things to note:
The stolen article shown in the pictures above is not even from the original journal that is being hijacked, but from a completely different journal, Tuexenia.
The white rectangle near the top left of the page to cover the original journal’s title and the poorly superimposed hijacked journal title and ISSN at the header of the pages, and the volume information and page number in the footer (without bothering to redact the original article page numbers).
The FINGER at the bottom left of just about every other page of this stolen article.
Sadly, not all hijacked or otherwise predatory journals are this easy to spot. Medical and academic researchers must be hyper-vigilant when it comes to selecting a publication to which they submit their work. Refer to Cabells Predatory Reports criteria to become familiar with the tactics used by predatory publishers. Look at journal websites with a critical eye and be mindful of some of the more obvious red flags such as promises of fast publication, no information on the peer review process, dead links or poor grammar on the website, or pictures (with or without fingers) of obviously altered articles in the journal archives.
The theme of the Society for Scholarly Publishing’s (SSP) 44th Annual Meeting, which kicks off today and runs through Friday, is “Building a More Connected Scholarly Community.” It has been (and has felt like) a long, COVID-‘inspired’ two years’ worth of remote work, Zoom meetings, and virtual conferences. While not fully out of the woods yet (will we ever be?), 2022 has afforded the scholarly community the opportunity to get back to in-person gatherings to reconnect with old friends and establish ties with new ones. The chance to meet with so many friends and colleagues face-to-face might have been taken for granted in year’s past, but that is no longer the case.
As if being back together in person wasn’t enough to get us psyched for SSP, we have more to look forward to in Chicago. In addition to proudly serving as Diamond Sponsors of this year’s meeting, we are also honored to be receiving a certificate of gratitude for our support of the SSP’s Generations Fund, which provides sustainable funding for SSP’s Fellowship, Mentoring, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. Like the SSP, we believe that a community is only as strong as its leaders, and we stand behind their commitment to supporting and developing an inclusive next generation of difference-makers.
The capper to SSP 2022 for us will be when our CTO, Lucas Toutloff, takes part in an exciting panel on Thursday for Session 4F, “Open Science and SDGs: Harnessing Open Science to Address Global Issues.” As signatories and Fellows of the SDG Publishers Compact, Cabells is driven to champion the UN’s SDGs and promote dynamic, mission-driven research and journals. This session will examine ways that the scientific community and journalism can drive change and wider societal outreach through open science policies and by embracing SDGs as a key topic in research impact.
Lucas, along with Dr. David Steingard from Saint Joseph’s University (with whom we’ve developed the SDGII™ journal rating metric), Dr. Laura Helmuth, Editor in Chief of Scientific American, and Paul Perrin from the University of Notre Dame, will discuss case studies around the current state of open science, open science policy, and the practical ways that open science is impacting the SDG program. Also, and key to Cabells’ mission, the panel will explore a method for operationalizing SDG-mindedness as a tool for measuring both research impact and potential.
Check out the full 2022 program here and or find out more about the annual meeting here. We hope to see you in Chicago!
If you plan on attending the Society for Scholarly Publishing’s (SSP) 44th Annual Meeting next month in Chicago, be sure to make time to attend Session 4F, “Open Science and SDGs: Harnessing Open Science to Address Global Issues.” Lucas Toutloff, CTO at Cabells, will be part of an outstanding panel that will be discussing ways the scientific community and journalism can drive change and wider societal outreach through open science policies and by embracing SDGs as a key topic in research impact.
We’ve also been thrilled at the growth of and excitement for the SDG Impact Intensity™ (SDGII) academic journal rating, the first system for evaluating how journals contribute to positively impacting the SDGs. The SDGII is the result of our collaboration with Dr. David Steingard, Director of the SDG Dashboard initiative and Associate Professor of Leadership, Ethics, & Organizational Sustainability at the Haub School of Business at Saint Joseph’s University, and his team of researchers.
The SDGII uses SJU’s AI-based methodology to look at article output in journals from Cabells’ Journalytics database and gives those journals a ranking determined by the relative focus they have exhibited in their article publications over the last five years with respect to the SDGs. The SDGII provides a rating of up to five ‘SDG wheels’ to summarize the SDG relevance of articles published over a five-year period (2016-2020).
At PRME, we discussed how impact-focused metrics can support progressive publication and business education agendas and unveiled a new iteration of the metric – the SDGII 3000, which provides a rating to measure the SDG-intensity of 3000 academic business journals, as well as the net impact of a business school’s faculty on publications advancing the SDGs. The SDGII 3000 will analyze 95%+ of all relevant business school and SDG-related journals where faculty publish and represents a massive expansion of the measurement of the social and environmental impact of publications through the SDGs.
We look forward to continuing this discussion in Chicago at the SSP conference, both during our session and beyond. We will discuss the ways that open science is impacting SDG initiatives and programs and explore methods for operationalizing SDG-mindedness as a tool for measuring both research impact and potential. The momentum is building for this game-changing initiative and we hope to see continued interest and excitement from all corners of academia.