The term "publishing predator"
appeared not so long ago. Only ten years ago only a few knew about him. Now this concept is on the lips of many scientists. Why? The fact is that such publishers are not authoritative; they publish ordinary journals without any right to do so. Employees of such companies practically do not edit scientific papers that are submitted for publication. The sole purpose of a “predator-publisher” is to attract a scientist who would publish an article in such a journal and ask him for a remuneration, which is reported on as “the publication fee” itself.
Publishers of this kind very successfully simulate work and pretend to be serious organizations. Often, their sites have an excellent design that does not look "made on the knee." Well, since this kind of business is booming, fake publishers appear almost every day. At the moment, specialists, who monitor the situation, have already counted more than 8,000 publications produced by "predators." An investigation has recently been carried out in this direction, the results of which were already
published in this scientific journal Nature
According to those who conducted this investigation, the harm of fake scientific "journals" is not only in the fact that they are trying to solicit money from researchers, and they do it very successfully. The main problem is that when preparing an article, scientists spend time and resources, including man-hours, laboratory equipment and experimental animals. All this turns out to be unnecessary, since the publication in such a “journal” does not count towards the scientist.
Another interesting fact is that almost all such organizations are legally and financially clean. That is, only the scientific community has claims against them; the regulatory authorities of most countries do not have conflicts with such companies. They work according to the law, pay taxes. But these publishers do not perform their functions.
In the scientific community there is a perception that “predators” work only in poor countries. Representatives of the research group that studied the situation with such publishers, came to the conclusion that, contrary to established opinion, more than half of such publications are published in countries that are called rich. True, companies of this kind appeared initially, however, in poor countries. But the idea was appreciated and adopted by fraudsters from other countries where per capita income is average or above average.
The study found that the most often funded scientists and research groups published in such journals of the National Institutes of Health (Eng. National Institutes of Health (NIH)). This is the name of the establishment of the United States Department of Health
. It is the center of the US government, which is responsible for researching health and biomedical issues The organization includes 27 institutes and research centers.
There are a lot of researches, the results of which are published in useless for science publications. According to researchers, data from more than 2 million hospital patients were involved in the published works, and about 8,000 laboratory animals died in vain - their death did not give science anything. "For the first time, we were able to estimate the number of people and animals that were affected by such studies," said Kelly Coby, a project representative.
For science, such publications do not represent therefore. That they do not fall into the system of scientific publications such as the medical databases Medline
Moreover, knowing that the publication is not reviewed (or it is reviewed very poorly), the researchers work lightly. In some cases (there are more than it might seem), scientists do not even use control groups to verify their findings, made on the basis of tests with only one group (volunteers - patients or laboratory animals).
The study was conducted not only in order to assess the scope of work of fake scientific publications, but also to supplement the previously formulated criteria to help identify unscrupulous publishers. The main criteria are the lack of editorial policy, gross errors in published materials (including grammatical and stylistic), plus low-quality images. Most often in such publishing houses there is no post of editor. Even if there is such a position, plus the name of the person occupying it is indicated, then there is no evidence that the editor and other employees of the organization have adequate knowledge.
Back in 2015, a document was published
with a large number of criteria for identifying such publishers. The document can be called exhaustive, although, of course, it can be supplemented.
In general, such companies are just money making machines. They do not commit crimes, but, perhaps, harm even more than ordinary criminals - after all, this is not only about money, scientists waste their time and resources, including time.