More on predatory journals and scientific misconduct

A new paper by Mauro Sylos Labini is forthcoming in Research Policy!

 “Walk on the Wild Side: ‘Predatory’ Journals and Information Asymmetries in Scientific Evaluations”

Abstract

In recent years the academic world has witnessed the mushrooming of journals
that falsely pretend to be legitimate academic outlets. We study this
phenomenon using information from 46,000 researchers seeking promotion in
Italian academia. About 5% of them have published in journals included in
the blacklist of `potential, possible, or probable predatory journals’ elaborated
by the scholarly librarian Jeffrey Beall. Data from a survey that we
conducted among these researchers confi rms that at least one third of these
journals do not provide peer review or they engage in some other type of
irregular editorial practice. We identify two factors that may have spurred
publications in dubious journals. First, some of these journals have managed
to be included in citation indexes such as Scopus that many institutions consider
as a guarantee of quality. Second, we show that authors who publish
in these journals are more likely to receive positive assessments when they
are evaluated by (randomly selected) committee members who lack research
expertise. Overall, our analysis suggests that the proliferation of `predatory’
journals reflects the existence of severe information asymmetries in scienti fic
evaluations.

The paper is co-authored with  M. Bagues and N. Zinovyeva (Department of Economics, Aalto University).