How Many Predatory Journals Are There?

Table of Contents

We previously covered predatory journals: what they are, their threat to academic publishing and how we can identify and avoid publishing in predatory journals

To recap, a predatory journal charges publishing fees to authors but does not provide the level of quality practice of legitimate academic journals. It also prioritizes profit over the quality and integrity of scientific research.

How to avoid predatory journals

Now, the next big question. How many predatory journals are there in this world?

Well, it’s a tough one. 

In a recent sharing by representatives of a major database operator (and one of the biggest), the data published indicated that between 35%-40% of journals in its database are predatory in nature, where the journal publishers practice unethical publishing standards.

The shocking data raise concerns about the unprecedented growth of predatory journals, especially in recent years, where the speed of growth is at its fastest yet. 

An article published on this website almost two years ago estimated that in 2021, there are about 30,000 journals globally, with the number expected to rise by about 5%-7% per year. 

Using rough extrapolation, 30,000 at a 6% (average) growth for two years means that right now the total number of journals worldwide is about 34,000.

Now, let’s take the lower percentage of 35% (as shared by the database operator earlier) as the percentage representing the number of predatory journals worldwide. 

Using these data, there are approximately 12,000 predatory journals in the world right now.  

Why the growing number of predatory journals are a big concern?

Predatory journals are journals that operate with little or no academic rigor, and they often charge authors to publish their work. These journals can have a number of negative consequences, including the following:

Low-quality publications

Works published in predatory journals are often of low quality. One of the reasons is that many of these publishers bypass the peer-review process (a crucial process in academic publishing) in exchange for fast publication turnaround. 

Waste of resources

Publishing in a predatory journal is a waste of resources, including money and hard work. It’s a losing situation when you pay a high amount of money only to find out that the avenue of your research publication is not recognized. Plenty of money is used to pay a journal’s publication fees come from public funding, and this adds salt to the wound. 

Damage in reputation

Academics and researchers who publish their work in predatory journals may see their reputation and good name diminished. They also do not get credit for their work which will deter their career growth and advancement. 

Misinformation and fake news

Lack of academic control means that misinformation and fake news can be disseminated fast, confusing the academia and public in general. And the rise of pseudo-science publications will be on the rise. Not a pretty picture. 

In summary, if you are a researcher considering publishing in a journal, keep in mind how many predatory journals are there preying on you to publish with them. Safeguard your interest and keep yourself appraised on some of the traits and identities of predatory journals so that you would not become their latest victim.