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Time to stop talking about 'predatory journals'

A lot has been said about predatory journals in recent years, but the validity of the term has also been questioned since what it denotes seems quite disparate. In this short paper, we suggest that we should all stop talking about ‘predatory journals’ and instead focus on two different kinds of flaws among journals so labeled by its critics: being deceptive and being of low quality.

While a journal can be deceptive in different ways and to different degrees, being deceptive in one way is enough to classify the journal as deceptive. Deceptive journals should be stopped, if possible. Low quality is more constructively treated as a matter of degree. As we write in the paper: “The more criteria a journal fulfils and the worse within each criterion, the worse its quality.” We hope this distinction to be fruitful in future discussion of research ethics.

Stefan Eriksson, Gert Helgesson. Time to stop talking about ‘predatory journals’. Learned Publishing 2017. doi: 10.1002/leap.1135.