Cabells’ Predatory Reports Passes 15,000 Predatory Journals Listed

Despite the increasing awareness of the perils of predatory journals and librarians' warnings about their dangers, the number of journals is rising not falling as the academic community had hoped.

In its press release, Cabells reports that its Cabells’ Predatory Reports database recently surpassed 15,000 individual predatory journal entries. This represents a nearly fourfold increase in the number of predatory journals listed since the resource launched in 2017 with 4,000 titles, showing consistent growth to keep pace with the ever-expanding universe of predatory publishing operators.

Many library LibGuides explain the nature of predatory journals. They are fraudulent. They claim peer review when they don’t actually provide that. They extract large APCs (Article Processing Charges) from authors. They claim to be indexed in the major databases for scholarly materials but aren’t. They do no editing, even if they state that they do. They exercise no quality control. In short, they are hugely dangerous. They subvert the notion of reliable information and can be career-killing for new scholars.

The first tracking of predatory journals began in 2008 with Beall’s List. It ceased in 2017 and Cabells picked up the mantle, although it approached the process somewhat differently and with more rigour. As Cabells explains, its “team of journal evaluation experts spearhead the maintenance and expansion of Predatory Reports by evaluating suspected journals against more than 70 behaviours indicative of deceptive publishing practices.” Cabells is proud that its evaluations are based on objective and transparent methodologies. Each record in its database identifies the practices that Cabells found to be in opposition to “legitimate journal established procedures.’

Predatory Reports is complemented by Cabells’ Journalytics, a curated database of over 11,000 verified, reputable academic journals providing publication information, metrics, and analytics to help scholars identify the most appropriate journals in which to publish research to maximize impact.

What is alarming is what Cabells’ Director of Business Relations, and head of the Predatory Reports team, Kathleen Berryman, calls “nonstop growth in the number of predatory publishers and journals in operation”. She is particularly concerned about the absence of peer review, which makes valid research findings that might even be groundbreaking, suspect. Without peer review, readers can’t assume the validity of the research. Trust in scholarly expertise declines as a result. It’s clearly important for librarians to be in the forefront of stopping predatory publishing.

Cabells Predatory Reports “allows academics and their institutions to validate journal choices and resist the temptations presented by these false claims in offers that come their way.”