Scoping Review of the Predatory Journals in Scopus: First Five Years (2012-2017)


Publishing has changed since the emerging of open access journals in the 2000s. Unethical practices that include publishing articles with fast tracking (2 weeks for publication), no peer-review or even false peer-review, or forming false journals with false impact factors have appeared and such journals were named “predatory journals” by Jeffrey Beall. Predatory journals often have web pages similar to indexed journals and very low publication fees (article processing charges) with no quality control (1-3). The topic was noticed by publishers, editors and authors, as a problem that has to be dealt with. Therefore, the purpose of this scoping review is to provide an overview of the literature on predatory journals (publishing).


Scoping review aimed to map the existing literature in the field of interest in terms of the volume, nature, and characteristic of the primary research (3). A search was conducted in Scopus database with string query: (TITLE-ABS-KEY ("predatory journal") OR TITLE-ABS-KEY ("predatory journals") OR TITLE-ABS-KEY ("predatory publishing") OR TITLE-ABS-KEY ("predatory publisher")) AND (LIMIT-TO (PUBYEAR, 2017) OR LIMIT-TO (PUBYEAR, 2016) OR LIMIT-TO (PUBYEAR, 2015) OR LIMIT-TO (PUBYEAR, 2014) OR LIMIT-TO (PUBYEAR, 2013) OR LIMIT-TO (PUBYEAR, 2012)). Scopus was chosen as it is a wide general database that contains more journals then Web of Science and covers all scientific fields. The research covers the period from the first article in which the term "predatory journals" was published in 2012 and covers 5 years, therefore from January 1st 2012 to December 31st 2017. The records were classified according to the type of article (reviews, original articles, other types (conference proceedings and books) and corrections), country of first author, institution and subject area. Sources (names of the journals) and first authors of records were also identified.

Results and Discussion

The search yielded 291 records. Most of the published records were reviews [N=99 (34 %)] and original articles [N=38 (13 %)]; the rest were other types of scientific communication [N=151 (52 %)] and 3 (1 %) records were classified as corrections. Among other types of records there were six conference proceedings and one book. Most of the published articles were affiliated with the first authors from the USA [N=74 (25 %)]; India [N=30 (10 %)]; and Canada [N=22 (8 %)]. The institution with the majority of published articles is also from the USA (University of Colorado with 15 (5 %) publications), followed by the institution from the UK (University of Manchester with 10 (3 %) publications). Biomedical sciences (N=238) were the area with most articles, followed by social sciences (N=104) and computer science and engineering (N=40). One tenth of articles on predatory journals were published in the Journal of Korean Medical Science [N=11 (3.8 %)], Biochemia Medica [N=6 (2.1 %)], Current Science [N=6 (2.1 %)] and Nature [N=6 (2.1 %)]. Majority of the articles were written by Beall (N=18), Dadkhah (N=13), Gasparyan (N=7) and Kitas (N=7).


The topic is relatively new, and the articles containing the keyword “predatory” have first been published in 2012. Since then the number of articles on predatory publishing is increasing each year. Most of the articles are reviews, so we think that more investigation is needed in order to understand the phenomena more deeply and educate authors effectively.

  • Evgenia Arh
  • Ksenija Baždarić