The Internet has made a lot of things easier. Unfortunately, these include the creation of a new breed of predatory system of which Filipino scientists and researchers should be wary.
In a symposium on predatory journals and conferences held recently at Hotel Jen in Pasay City, Dr. Fidel R. Nemenzo (Vice-Chancellor for Research and Development at the University of the Philippines Diliman) raised the issue of hijacked journals-- fake journals that steal the identity of legitimate ones to trick scientists and researchers into submitting their research articles.
“They ride on the prestige of legitimate journals, they solicit paper submissions, and they collect publishing fees through fake websites,” detailed Dr. Nemenzo. He added that the websites used by hijacked journals are usually more visually attractive than the legitimate websites. This makes it possible for scientists and researchers to fall for the bait.
Consequently, good research will be tainted with bad reputation when published in bogus publications.
“The problem with this is that research results that are published in both hijacked journals and predatory journals are now finding themselves into research literature…So just imagine the ripple effect of this contamination of legitimate research by fraudulent research that are published in these journals that do not screen paper submissions,” said Dr. Nemenzo.
To prevent getting victimized not only by hijacked journals but by other types of predatory journals and conferences as well, Dr. Nemenzo advised the scientific community to exercise due diligence. He mentioned a number of red flags that scientists and researchers should look out for such as high acceptance rate, faulty grammar in website content and formal letters, aggressive solicitation, and rapid publication among others.
Dr. Nemenzoalso cited a number of online references that list legitimate journalssuch as the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (www.oaspa.org). Meanwhile, he citesthe Beall’s list (www.scholarlyoa.com) which identifies potential, possible, or probable predatory journals and publishers that scientists and researchers should avoid.
However, Dr. Jose Florencio F. Lapeña of the University of the Philippines Manila, one of the reactors in the symposium, said that caution should still be observed when using whitelists and blacklists. He explained that there are journals listed in the Beall’s list that are actually legitimate and journals indexed in whitelists that are predatory in nature. “No list is infallible,” he said.
Hence, to better equipthe Filipino scientific community with the capacity to discern the good from the bad, Dr. Nemenzo and Dr. Lapeña, along with other reactors in the symposium namely, Dr. Jose Maria Balmaceda (University of the Philippines Diliman), Dr. Franco Teves (Mindanao State University – Iligan State University), and Dr. Evelyn Mae Tecson-Mendoza (National Academy of Science and Technlogy), have all agreed that information drive should be the first step to take. Dr. Tecson-Mendoza further emphasized that it is especially important that the younger generation of Filipino scientists and researchers be informed about the dangers of predatory journals and conferences and how to avoid them.
The symposium was organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology, an attached agency of the Department of Science and Technology, in partnership with the University of the Philippines Diliman.