Exploring authors engagement in journals with questionable practices: a case study of OMICS

Main Article Content

Cherifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri
Lucas Pergola
Hugo Castaneda


The paper aims to understand the context and drivers of researchers' decision to submit a manuscript to a journal with questionable practices. Using OMICS as a case study and asking authors for their views, the paper presents their profile, motivations and publishing experiences. The methodology is based on a questionnaire sent by e-mail to all authors of articles in journals published by OMICS (+2200). The authors were asked about (a) the factors that influenced their decision to submit their article; (b) their publishing experience with OMICS; (c) their level of satisfaction; and (d) whether or not they would repeat the experience. A total of 86 responses were collected and 18 e-mails were received. The analysis made it possible to add details to the profiles of authors already identified in the literature, but also allowed new and more nuanced profiles. This research extends our knowledge on the phenomenon of predatory publishing from the authors' feedback and provides a better understanding of the socio-economic, psychosocial and geo-political conditions that drive researchers' decisions to submit their work to a possible, potential, or probable predatory journal. At the same time, it reveals some of the strategies used by OMICS to persuade authors to submit their papers. The findings will help to inform institutional policies that seek to put in place efficient measures to combat predatory publishing.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Boukacem-Zeghmouri, C., Pergola, L., & Castaneda, H. (2023). Exploring authors engagement in journals with questionable practices: a case study of OMICS. Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, 28(2), 103–128. https://doi.org/10.22452/mjlis.vol28no2.6
Author Biography

Cherifa Boukacem-Zeghmouri, Claude Bernard University Lyon 1

Chérifa BOUKACEM ZEGHMOURI is full Professor in Information and Communication Sciences at Claude Bernard University Lyon 1. Based on the theoretical framework of cultural and creative industries, her research addresses mutations of scholarly communication to open and collaborative models. New forms of production, circulation, evaluation and legitimization of scientific research constitute her main research themes.


Allman, D. 2019. Pseudo or perish: problematizing the ‘predatory’ in global health publishing. Critical Public Health, Vol. 29, no. 4, 413–423. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/09581596.2019.1606417.

Beigel, F. 2014. Publishing from the periphery: Structural heterogeneity and segmented circuits. The evaluation of scientific publications for tenure in Argentina’s CONICET. Current Sociology, Vol. 62, no. 5, 743–765. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392114533977.

Beall, J. 2012. Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature, Vol.489, no. 7415, 179. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/489179a.

Bell, K. 2017. ‘Predatory’ open access journals as parody: Exposing the limitations of ‘legitimate’ academic publishing. TripleC, Vol. 5, no.2, 651–662. Available at: https://doi.org/10.31269/triplec.v15i2.870.

Boltanski, L., and Thévenot, L. 1991. De la justification. Les économies de la grandeur. Gallimard.

Boukacem‐Zeghmouri, C., Rakotoary, S., and Bador, P. 2021. La prédation dans le champ de la publication scientifique : un objet de recherche révélateur des mutations de la communication scientifique ouverte. Nature Sciences Sociétés. Vol. 29, no 4, 382-395. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1051/nss/2022008.

Boukacem-Zeghmouri, C., Leduc, C., and Chalabi, L. 2014. Intégration des ressources Springer dans les pratiques et activités des chercheurs algériens : État des lieux et recommandations. Available at: https://archivesic.ccsd.cnrs.fr/sic_01003684.

Burgess-Jackson, K. 2020. Why I publish in “Predatory” journals—and why you should, too. Philosophy International Journal, Vol. 3, no. 4, 1-11. Available at: https://doi.org/10.23880/phij-16000160.

Chambers, A. H. 2019. How I became easy prey to a predatory publisher, Science, Available at: https://doi.org/10.1126/science.caredit.aax9725.

Cobey, K. D., Grudniewicz, A., Manoj, M. L., Rice, D. B., Raffoul, H., and Moher, D. 2019. Knowledge and motivations of researchers publishing in presumed predatory journals: A survey. BMJ Open, Vol. 9, no. 3, 1-9, e026516. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-026516.

Cohen, A. J., Patino, G., Kamal, P., Ndoye, M., Tresh, A., Mena, J., Butler, C., Washington, S., and Breyer, B. N. 2019. Perspectives from authors and editors in the biomedical disciplines on predatory journals: Survey study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, Vol. 21, no. 8, 1-11, e13769. Available at: https://doi.org/10.2196/13769.

Demir, S. B. 2018. Predatory journals: Who publishes in them and why? Journal of Informetrics, Vol. 12, no. 4, 1296–1311. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joi.2018.10.008.

Downes, M. 2020. Thousands of Australian academics on the editorial boards of journals run by predatory publishers, Learned Publishing, Vol. 33, no. 3, 287–295. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1297.

Downes, M. 2021. Membership of the editorial boards of journals published by the predatory publisher OMICS: willing and unwilling participation. Information Research. Vol. 26, no. 4, Available at: http://informationr.net/ir/26-4/paper912.html

Downes, M. 2023. The phantom of the author: predatory publisher OMICS is ghost-writing its own articles. Learned Publishing. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1573.

Dyer, O. 2019. US consumer agency wins $50m order against predatory publisher OMICS. BMJ, Vol. 365, no. l1639. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l1639.

Eykens, J., Guns, R., Jakaria Rahman, A.I.M., and Engels, T. C.E. 2019. Identifying publications in questionable journals in the context of performance-based research funding, PloS One, Vol. 14, no. 11, 1-19. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0224541.

Ebadi, S., and Zamani, G. 2018. Predatory publishing as a case of symbolic violence: A critical English for academic purposes approach. Cogent Education, Vol. 5, no. 1. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2018.1501889.

Frandsen, T. F., 2019. Why do researchers decide to publish in questionable journals? A review of the literature, Learned Publishing, Vol. 32, no. 1, 57–62. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1214.

Grudniewicz, A., Moher, D., Cobey, K. D., Bryson, G. L., Cukier, S., Allen, K., Ardern, C., Balcom, L., Barros, T., Berger, M., Ciro, J. B., Cugusi, L., Donladson, M. R., Egger, M., Graham, I. D., Hodgkinson, M., Khan, K. M., Mabizela, M., Manca, A., Milzow, K., Mouton, J., Marvelous, M., Olijhoek, T., Ommaya, A., Patwardhan, B., Poff, D., Proulx, L., Rodger, M., Severin, A., Strinzel, M., Sylos-Labini, M., Tamblyn, R., Van Niekerk, M., Wicherts, J. M., and Lalu, M. M. 2019. Predatory journals: no definition, no defence, Nature, Vol. 576, 210–212. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-03759-y.

Hedding D. W., 2019. Payouts push professors towards predatory journals, Nature, Vol. 565, 267. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-00120-1.

Inouye, K., and Mills, D. 2021. Fear of the academic fake? Journal editorials and the amplification of the “predatory publishing” discourse. Learned Publishing, Vol. 34, no. 3, 396–406. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1377.

Jayanth, A.S. 2019. Mad rush towards predatory journals, The Hindu, December 09, Available at: www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/mad-rush-towards-predatory-journals/article30260109.ece.

Krauskopf, E., and Funk, R. L. 2020. Predatory publishing – Firm action is required. Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 734. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.139329.

Kisely, S. 2019. Predatory journals and dubious publishers: how to avoid being their prey. BJPsych Advances, Vol. 25, no. 2, 113–119. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1192/bja.2018.56.

Kolata, G. 2019. The Price for ‘Predatory’ Publishing? $50 Million. New York Times, April 3rd. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/03/science/predatory-journals-ftc-omics.html.

Kolata, G. 2017. Many academics are eager to publish in worthless journals, The New York Times, October 30th. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/ science/predatory-journals-academics.html.

Kulczycki, E., Hołowiecki, M., Taşk℩n, Z., and Doğan, G. 2022. Questionable conferences and presenters from top-ranked universities. Journal of Information Science. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/01655515221087674.

Krawczyk, F., and Kulczycki, E. 2021. On the geopolitics of academic publishing: the mislocated centers of scholarly communication, TAPUYA: Latin American Science, Technology and Society, Vol. 4, no. 1. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/25729861.2021.1984641.

Kurt, S. 2018. Why do authors publish in predatory journals?, Learned Publishing, Vol. 31, no. 2, 141–147. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1150.

Linacre, S., Bisaccio, M., and Earle, L. 2019. Publishing in an environment of predation: The many things you really wanted to know, but did not know how to ask, Journal of Business-to-Business Marketing, Vol. 26, no. 2, 217-228. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/1051712X.2019.1603423

Lukić, T., Blesic, I. Biljana, B., Ivanovic-Bibic, L., Milosevic, D., and Sakulski, D. 2014. Predatory and fake scientific journals/publishers-a global outbreak with rising trend: A review. Geographica Pannonica, Vol. 18, no. 3, 69-81. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5937/GeoPan1403069L.

Lund, B. D., and Wang, T. 2020. An analysis of spam from predatory publications in library and information science. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Vol. 52, no. 1, 35–45. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3138/JSP.52.1.03.

Manca, A., Cugusi, L., Cortegiani, A., Ingoglia, G., Moher, D., and Deriu, F. 2020. Predatory journals enter biomedical databases through public funding. The BMJ, Vol. 371. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m4265.

Manley, S. 2019a. Predatory journals on trial: allegations, responses, and lessons for scholarly publishing from FTC v. OMICS. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Vol. 50, no. 3, 183–200. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3138/jsp.50.3.02.

Manley, S. 2019b. On the limitations of recent lawsuits against Sci-Hub, OMICS, ResearchGate, and Georgia State University. Learned Publishing, Vol. 32, no. 4, 375–381. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1254.

Masic, I. 2017. Predatory publishing - experience with OMICS International. Medical Archives (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Vol. 71, no. 5, 304-307. Available at: https://doi.org/10.5455/medarh.2017.71.304-307.

McQuarrie, F. E., Kondra, A. Z., and Lamertz, K. 2020. Do tenure and promotion policies discourage publications in predatory journals? Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Vol. 51, no 3, 165–181. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3138/jsp.51.3.01

Memon, A. R. 2019. Revisiting the term predatory open access publishing. Journal of Korean Medical Science, Vol. 34, no. 13, e99. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3346/jkms.2019.34.e99.

Mertkan, S., Onurkan, A. G., and Suphi, N. 2021. Profile of authors publishing in ‘predatory’ journals and causal factors behind their decision: A systematic review. Research Evaluation, Vol. 30, no. 4, 470-483 Available at: https://doi.org/10.1093/reseval/rvab032.

Mills, D., and Inouye, K. 2020. Problematizing ‘predatory publishing’: A systematic review of factors shaping publishing motives, decisions, and experiences. Learned Publishing, Vol. 34, no. 2, 89-104. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1325.

Moher, D, Shamseer, L., Cobey, K. D., Lalu, M. M., Galipeau, J., Avey, M. T., Ahmadzai, N., Alabousi, M., Barbeau, P., Beck, A., Daniel, R., Frank, R., Ghannad, M., Hamel, C., Hersi, M., Hutton, B., Isupov, I., McGrath, T. A., McInnes, M. D.F., Page, M. J., Misty, P., Pussegoda, K., Shea, B., Srivastava, A., Stevens, A., Thavorn, K., Van Katwyk, S., Ward, R., Wolfe, D., Yazdi, F., Yu, A. M., and Ziai, H. 2017. Stop this waste of people, animals and money, Nature, no. 549, 23-25. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/549023a.

Moussa, S. 2021. Journal hijacking: Challenges and potential solutions. Learned Publishing, Vol. 34, no. 4, 688-695. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1412.

Nicholas, D., Herman, E., Watkinson, A., Xu, J., Abrizah, A., Rodríguez-Bravo, B., Boukacem-Zeghmouri, C., Polezhaeva, T., and Świgon, M. 2021. Early career researchers between predatory publishing and academic excellence: The views and behaviours of the millennials. Foresight and STI Governance, Vol. 15, no. 1. Available at: https://doi.org/10.17323/2500-2597.2021.1.56.65.

Nicholas, D., Rodríguez-Bravo, B., Boukacem-Zeghmouri, C., Herman, E., Clark, D., Xu, J., Abrizah, A., Świgoń, M., Watkinson, A., Sims, D., Jamali, H. R., Tenopir, C., and Allard, S. 2023. Early career researchers and predatory journals during the Covid-19 pandemic. An international analysis. Profesional De La información, Vol. 32, no. 1. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3145/epi.2023.ene.17.

Nielsen, P., and Davison, R. M. 2020. Predatory journals: A sign of an unhealthy publish or perish game? Information Systems Journal, Vol. 30, no. 4, 635-638. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1111/isj.12289.

Nwagwu, W. E. 2015. Counterpoints about predatory open access and knowledge publishing in Africa, Learned Publishing, Vol. 28, no. 2, 114-122. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1087/20150205.

Offord, C. 2018. German scientists frequently publish in predatory journals, The Scientist, July 19th. Available at: www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/german-scientists-frequently-publish-in-predatory-journals-64518.

Omobowale, A. O., Akanle, O., Adeniran, A. I., and Adegboyega, K. 2014. Peripheral scholarship and the context of foreign paid publishing in Nigeria, Current Sociology, Vol. 62, no. 5, 666-684. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0011392113508127.

Perlin, M. S., Imasato, T., and Borenstein, D. 2018. Is predatory publishing a real threat? Evidence from a large database study. Scientometrics, Vol. 116, no. 1, 255–273. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-018-2750-6.

Petrisor, A. 2016. Evolving strategies of the predatory journals. Malaysian Journal of Library and Information Science, Vol. 21, no. 1, 1-17. Available at: https://doi.org/10.22452/mjlis.vol21no1.1.

Pyne, D. 2017. The rewards of predatory publications at a small business school, Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Vol. 48, no. 3, 137-160. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3138/jsp.48.3.137.

Ruiter-Lopez, L., Lopez-Leon, S., and Forero, D. A. 2019. Predatory journals: Do not judge journals by their Editorial Board Members. Medical Teacher, Vol. 41, no. 6, 691–696. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159X.2018.1556390.

Salehi, M., Soltani, M., Tamleh, H., and Teimournezhad, S. 2020. Publishing in predatory open access journals: Authors’ perspectives, Learned Publishing, Vol. 33, no. 2. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1261.

Shaghaei, N., Wien, C., Holck, J. P., Thiesen, A. L., Ellegaard, O. Vlachos, E., and Drachen, T. M.. 2018. Being a deliberate prey of a predator: Researchers’ thoughts after having published in predatory journal, LIBER Quarterly, Vol. 28, no. 1, Available at: https://doi.org/10.18352/lq.10259.

Shehata, A. M. K., and Elgllab, M. F. M. 2018. Where Arab social science and humanities scholars choose to publish: falling in the predatory journals trap, Learned Publishing, Vol. 31, no. 3, 222–229. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/leap.1167.

Siler, K., Vincent-Lamarre, P., Sugimoto, C., and Larivière, V. 2021. Predatory publishers’ latest scam: bootlegged and rebranded papers. Nature, no. 598, 563-565. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-021-02906-8.

Stöckelová, T., and Vostal, F. 2017. Academic stratospheres-cum-underworlds: when highs and lows of publication cultures meet. Aslib Journal of Information Management, Vol. 69, no. 5. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1108/AJIM-01-2017-0013.

Sorokowski, P., Kulczycki, E., Sorokowska, A., and Pisanski, K. 2017. Predatory journals recruit fake editor. Nature, Vol.543, no. 7646, 481–483. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/543481a.

Strong, G. 2019. Understanding quality in research: avoiding predatory journals. Journal of Human Lactation, Vol. 35, no. 4, 661–664. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1177/0890334419869912.

Tao, T. 2020. India’s fight against predatory journals: an interview with Professor Bhushan Patwardhan. Scholarly Kitchen. Available at: https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/ 2020/02/05/indias-fight-against-predatory-journals-an-interview-with-professor bhushan-patwardhan.

Taylor, G. A. 2021. Predatory journals: a different pandemic. Pediatric Radiology. No. 51, 516-518. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00247-020-04918-4.

Tijdink, J. K., Schipper, K., Bouter, L. M., Maclaine Pont, P., De Jonge, J., and Smulders, Y. M. 2016. How do scientists perceive the current publication culture? A qualitative focus group interview study among Dutch biomedical researchers. BMJ Open, Vol. 6, no 2, 1-9. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2015-008681.

Vaidyanathan, G. 2019a. No paper, no PhD? India rethinks graduate student policy, Nature. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-01692-8.

Vaidyanathan, G. 2019b. India culls hundreds more “dubious” journals from government approved list, Nature, Vol. 571, no. 7763, 7. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-02038-0.

Vaidyanathan, G. 2019c. Indian payment-for-papers proposal rattles scientists, Nature, Vol. 566, no. 307. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-019-00514-1.

Vogel, L. 2017. Researchers may be part of the problem in predatory publishing. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal - Journal de l’Association Medicale Canadienne, Vol. 189, no. 2, 1324-1325. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.109-5507.

Wang, J., Xu, J., and Chen, D. 2021. Chinese PhD students’ perceptions of predatory journals: a survey study. Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Vol. 52, no. 2, 88–106. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3138/jsp.52.2.02

Wilkinson, T. A., Russell, C. J, Bennett, W. E., Cheng, E. R., and Carroll, A. E. 2019. A cross-sectional study of predatory publishing emails received by career development grant awardees, BMJ Open, Vol. 9, no. 5, 1-6. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027928.

Xia, J., Harmon, J. L., Connolly, K. G., Donnelly, R. M., Anderson, M. R., and Howard, H. A. 2015. Who publishes in “predatory” journals?, Journal of the Association for Information Science & Technology, Vol. 66, no. 7, 1406–1417. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.23265.