doi:10.1038/nindia.2017.115 Published online 6 September 2017
The researchers contacted 16 vice-presidents of research at some of the top institutions from the survey. "Our e-mail to Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute bounced back. Three institutions provided feedback; one (Manipal University, India, 15 papers) detailed an intervention launched earlier this year, and provided data that the effort reduced the number of articles published in presumed predatory journals."
D. Y. Patil University in Navi Mumbai, India, which calls itself a "deemed to be" university on its website, had the most number of papers (20) in their sample. However, the university authorities did not reply to the researchers' emails. "Nor did the University of Tehran, which, with 14 papers from 14 authors, tied with D. Y. Patil University for the most unique authors."
When the researchers set out to contact corresponding authors at some of the leading institutions, they found that 15 articles — including all 9 at Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute — did not include author e-mails.
Interestingly, just one of the 10 most common funders reported in the study — the University Grants Commission (UGC), India — provided guidance about journal selection on its website. However, UGC is now being criticised5 for creating fertile ground for the growth of fake publications in India by introducing an Academic Performance Indicator (API) system. Under this system, a certain number of papers have to be published by a research scholar prior to submission of the doctoral thesis, and by the teachers in colleges and universities at the time of their recruitment and assessment for promotion.
The OHRI research group has identified 13 tell-tale signs of predatory journals including "low article-processing fees (less than US$150); spelling and grammar errors on the website; an overly broad scope; language that targets authors rather than readers; promises of rapid publication; and a lack of information about retraction policies, manuscript handling or digital preservation." They say manuscript submissions by e-mail and the inclusion of distorted images are also common.
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3. Xia, J. et al. J. Assoc. Infor. Sci. Tech. 66, 1406–1417 (2015)
4. Shen, C. & Björk, B.-C. BMC Med. 13, 230 (2015)
5. S. C. Lakhotia. Mis-conceived and mis-implemented academic assessment rules underlie the scourge of predatory journals and conferences. Proc. Indian Natn. Sci. Acad. 83 (2017) doi: 10.16943/ptinsa/2017/49141