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I happened to visit the website of the IJDEA (International Journal of Differential Equations and Applications) and was wondering – how good is this journal? There was a question here on Academia. SE regarding IJPAM (International Journal of Pure and Applied Mathematics, by the same publisher: Academic Publications Ltd.) and it seems this journal is not up to the mark.

However, IJDEA's Editorial Board has some prominent members from reputed institutions that I just couldn't overlook. For instance:

  • E.W. Cheney and R.E. Showalter from UT Austin, USA
  • S.N Chow from the National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • E DiBenedeto from Northwestern University, USA
  • A. Fokas from the University of Cambridge, UK
  • J. Marsden from CalTech, USA
  • (Late) P.A. Samuelson from MIT, USA
  • C.W. Shu from Brown University, USA

My question is: Given the presence of such top-class scientists on its editorial board, why are IJPAM/IJDEA and Academic Publications Ltd. considered predatory by Beall's list?

P.S.: I'm assuming that the Editorial Board and quality of articles should be good enough to check the quality of the journal. Please correct me in case I'm wrong.

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    Considering that DiBenedetto is spelled incorrectly and he's been at Vanderbilt since 2000...OTOH, he does list this journal. Showalter has been at Oregon State since 2003. Marsden is deceased (2010). – mkennedy Jan 8 '14 at 17:51
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    possible duplicate of How do you judge the quality of a journal? – EnergyNumbers Jan 8 '14 at 18:15
  • @mkennedy Showalter also lists the journal name in his CV. The case is getting even more curious now! – Mathguy Jan 8 '14 at 18:29
  • @EnergyNumbers while I think that question is related, this question seems to be asking specifically about how to interpret editorial boards of journals so I don't think it is a duplicate. – StrongBad Jan 8 '14 at 18:57
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    I am no expert in DE. Out of my own curiosity, I checked. In the E.W. Cheney's BIOGRAPHICAL DATA FILE updated on December 31, 2012, IJDEA is not in the list of EDITORIAL RESPONSIBILITIES ON JOURNALS. – scaaahu Jan 9 '14 at 5:07
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You've already identified part of the problem:

  • Deceased individuals like Paul Samuelson and Ilya Prigogine should not be listed as "editors" of a normal journal.
  • The editor-in-chief of the journal should be clearly identified.
  • They're claiming to have an Impact Factor when they're not indexed by the services that publish Impact Factors

You can see Beall's full list of criteria on his blog Scholarly Open Access.

  • So, if somebody's alive but not part of the editorial board of the journal and yet mentioned as part of the editorial board, can that somebody sue the publisher? – Mathguy Jan 8 '14 at 18:16
  • In principle it should be possible to sue. However, they should have at least attempted a "cease and desist" letter before filing a lawsuit! – aeismail Jan 8 '14 at 18:18
  • Yes, maybe! But some people mentioned are actually members of the editorial board as mentioned. – Mathguy Jan 8 '14 at 18:31
  • That doesn't matter. Just because some are legitimate members doesn't mean that all of the list is legitimate. – aeismail Jan 12 '14 at 14:29
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    @user10532 In practical terms, suing a person or company in a different country is prohibitively difficult and expensive. – David Richerby Aug 10 '14 at 22:02
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The editorial board is one way that many journals (both predatory and not) try two establish themselves. I cannot find an in depth analysis by Beall of editorial boards but, in a comment to this blog post on editorial board makeup Beall says

Sometimes publishers add names to editorial boards without asking for permission. As part of my analysis, I sometimes email and ask ed board members if they really agreed to serve.

He also has a blog post which looks at the editorial responsibilities (100+ journals) of a Dean in the Univ. of Texas system.

In summary some people get put on editorial boards without their knowledge and others will agree to be on large numbers of editorial boards so you cannot use the editorial board membership as a good judge of makeup.

  • It seems indeed impossible to actually distinguish between genuine and 'fake' journals these days. Darn! – Mathguy Jan 8 '14 at 18:33
  • Look at who publishes the journal—the more recognizable the publisher, the less likely it's a scam. For instance, journals published by well-known professional societies (SIAM, APS, ACS, etc.) are almost certainly on the level—they'd be risking their reputations otherwise. However, beyond that, things can get dicey, even at well-known publishers like Elsevier. – aeismail Jan 8 '14 at 18:50
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This answer focuses on the question asked in the headline not the text, which is more specific to predatory publishers.

The best judge of the quality of the journal are the papers published in it. A good journal publishes good papers. The next best judge is to see whether you're communicating with a journal employee or a member of the editorial board. If you receive invitations which are clearly written by an editorial board member, if you meet them at conferences and they talk enthusiastically about their journal, if your submission receives decisions that indicate the handling editor knows something about your field, you're dealing with a good journal.

Composition of the editorial board isn't a good indication because some unethical publishers will add people to editorial boards without their permission, or refuse to let them resign. Even for genuine journals, board member can join, and then do nothing (as in, literally nothing - not even when assigned a paper to handle). The result is an ugly symbiosis where both the academic and the publisher derive benefits from the academic being on the editorial board, but the academic doesn't actually influence the journal in any way. This setup is unfortunately quite common, and there's no easy way to tell from the outside how involved the editorial board is with the journal.

  • The title is not the question.. – Nij Dec 26 '17 at 3:55

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