European Science Editing 47: e52348, doi: 10.3897/ese.2021.e52348
Avoiding predatory journals and publishers: a cross-sectional study
expand article infoAlehegn Adane Kinde
‡ University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia
Open Access

Background: Predatory journals (PJs) are journals that receive and publish articles through unethical publishing practices. Due to the boom of PJs, researchers face a wide range of journals from which to choose. Non-peer reviewed and low-quality articles can ruin the trustworthiness of science and have a damaging impact on decision-makers.

Objective: To assess the level of awareness among Ethiopian researchers of PJs and to improve the awareness level through training.

Method: The participants were professors, associate professors, assistant professors, and lecturers from different disciplines. The study included 18 statements for participants to indicate their level of awareness on the Likert scale, questions on knowledge resources on PJs, and open-ended questions about ways of avoiding PJs. A one-day programme trained the participants in detecting and avoiding PJs.

Results: 43 participants completed the pre-assessment online survey and 37 participants completed the post-assessment survey. Many researchers were unaware of PJs and found it somewhat difficult to differentiate PJs from legitimate journals. However, during the post-assessment, the awareness level improved and the participants’ rating of the task of differentiating PJs from legitimate journals changed from ‘Somewhat difficult’ to ‘Easy’.

Conclusion: Many researchers were unaware of the potential distinctions between PJs and legitimate journals that are crucial to an appropriate journal for publishing. Especially low awareness was found on the journal impact factor, journal indexing services, and reputable publishers. Hence, before manuscript submission, authors ought to know and practise evaluating journals on the basis of the recommended criteria.

Academic publishing, legitimate journal, predatory journal, research visibility