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I get "spam" emails advertising journals listed in Scopus.

Can a Scopus journal be fake/predatory?

Or does Scopus has enough strict conditions to list only reputable journals?

Or do spammers lie about being listed there?

My question is not about other criteria of fake/predatory and how to determined if a journal is predatory in general, but namely about whether this one criterion, presence in Scopus, is enough to decide if it is fake.

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    Yup. I know a few. Also, many started as predatory, and they managed to satisfy conditions required to be listed onto Scopus. Have a read of: elsevier.com/solutions/scopus/how-scopus-works/content/…. Not too hard to satisfy I reckon. – Prof. Santa Claus Jan 29 at 0:50
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    Just voting to re-open as this is a more specific question. I.e., it seems to be about the degree of quality-control that Scopus exercises when deciding to index a journal. And this is an important specific question. – Jeromy Anglim Jan 31 at 2:46
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A lot depends on what you mean by fake/predatory (these terms are not well-defined). Still if you demand a yes/no answer then I will say no.

As Prof. Santa Clause gave in a comment, the criteria to be listed in Scopus are given here. You need a lot of things to be listed, such as diversity in geographical distribution of editors, clarity of abstracts, and no delays or interruptions in the publication schedule. These things aren't easy to fake. The "no delays or interruptions" criterion sinks a lot of legitimate attempts at journals as well.

This particular criterion is especially hard to satisfy: Citedness of journal articles in Scopus. You can see what is needed also on that page: a journal's inclusion in Scopus is threatened if "the journal received half the number of citations, or less, when compared to peer journals in its subject field."

Based on this criterion alone, for a fake/predatory journal to still be listed in Scopus, they must somehow conjure citations from other journals that are also listed in Scopus. This isn't probable unless you go to extremes like postulating that there are a lot of fake journals in Scopus that are citing each other, but not only would the journals have to all get into Scopus in the first place, they would probably fail other criteria, such as "The journal's abstracts are used half as much, or less, when compared to peer journals in its subject field."

tl; dr: it depends on what you mean by fake/predatory, but if a journal is listed in Scopus you can assume that it is reputable until proven otherwise.

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    On the hard to satisfy criterion: get your friends together, and whenever they publish a legit paper, make sure they cite an article in the 'fake' journal. Also, when reviewing papers for other journals, make sure you recommend a 'fake' article. After a certain point, what looks fake is now legit, and everyone will start citing papers in the 'fake' journal. – Prof. Santa Claus Jan 29 at 2:16
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    @Prof.SantaClaus Assuming the papers in the fake journal are genuinely worthless, then that'd make all the citations fake citations where the cited article doesn't actually back up the claim being made. It's hard to make people cite worthless articles, so the last two steps would not work, and the first would be hard to justify if spotted during peer review as well. – Allure Jan 29 at 2:22
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    The peer review Scopus criteria could be easily faked. – Anonymous Physicist Jan 29 at 2:42
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    I disagree. I do have counterexamples to your points, where I know of at least one initially fake journal that uses the tactics above to become legit (still poor, but at least it stayed on Scopus) – Prof. Santa Claus Jan 29 at 2:45
  • @Prof.SantaClaus can you name the journal, and give an explanation for why the journal is fake? – Allure Jan 29 at 2:46

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