When I was doing literature review, I came across a paper published in a journal Research Journal of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology.

Now, I can't find this paper anywhere else, no citations, or anything. Just the pdf that I linked above. Also, the journal website looks shady as links don't work and it just does not have the make or look of an academic journal. Additionally, I couldn't even find anything about the authors.

What should be done in such cases? Should the paper be completely ignored or put in the review section?

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    While following up on the journal, I found a list [scholarlyoa.com/2012/12/06/… that lists this entire group as predatory. In light of the same, shall I close the question or leave it open for similar cases when it might not be sure if the journal is predatory or not? Moderators? @ff524 Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 10:47
  • the ] is breaking the link in your comment. That list is very useful anyway.
    – Formagella
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 13:11
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    The link again: scholarlyoa.com/2012/12/06/… Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


The reasons these journals are called predatory is because they prey on unwary researchers looking for places to publish their work, tricking them into publishing with them rather than in legitimate places. So just because a paper is in a predatory journal does not mean that it is necessarily bad work.

However, this paper still needs to be treated with greatly heightened suspicion: it should be assumed that it has not had any peer review, and that the authors are unfamiliar enough with the area and with the normal practices of science that they could be tricked by a predatory journal. Alternately, they may have sent the work to the journal intentionally because they needed another line on their CV and knew the paper was not going to survive real peer review.

Thus, although such a paper might be legitimate, it is also very likely to be of low quality and may well even be fraudulent or simply nonsense. It can also cause trouble for you if you cite it, as readers may think that you are not informed enough to tell the difference between real research and predatory crap.

I would thus suggest treating the paper like a random PDF found on the web: it might be usable as a primary source (e.g., like a newspaper opinion piece or a personal essay), or to point you for looking for similar information elsewhere. If this information has only ever been published in this one paper in a fake journal, however, it should be considered to effectively not be published at all: the context in which it has been found casts so much doubt on its likelihood of being legitimate, and anything substantive will likely develop multiple real publications over time.

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    If this information has only ever been published in this one paper in a fake journal, however, it should be considered to effectively not be published at all — While I agree completely, but the choice to cite or not should be based entirely on the content of the paper. Garbage does sometimes get published in otherwise respectable journals, and seminal results do sometimes circulate only as unpublished manuscripts. Trusting the editors is no substitute for actually reading the paper.
    – JeffE
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 14:37
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    @JeffE Who said you can't cite unpublished work?
    – jakebeal
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 14:42
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    You did. "Anything substantive will develop multiple real publications over time."
    – JeffE
    Commented Dec 8, 2014 at 14:54
  • @JeffE I stand by both of my statements: you can cite something unpublished if you find that you can believe it and find it to be significant. And if it is significant, then within a couple of years there will probably be something better to cite...
    – jakebeal
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 1:17
  • ...except when there isn't. One of my recent journal papers cites an otherise unpublished one-paragraph usenet post (to sci.math) as a primary source, because it's the primary source. Sure, there was published followup work by other authors, which I also cited, but I still had to cite the usenet post.
    – JeffE
    Commented Dec 9, 2014 at 2:24

The question of whether to cite should be based on whether the work provides relevant context, whether you have been informed by the work, or if you have built off of the work.

The question of whether the work appears in a fraudulent journal is a red herring.

Was the work useful to you? If yes, cite it.

Did you build off of this work? If yes, cite it.

Does it provide useful context related to the problem that you're trying to solve? If yes, cite it.

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