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I have written an article in the field of Information Systems and I would like to publish it in a journal. I downloaded the Scimago journal rank, and decided to publish in a journal called Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology. This journal appears to be in the quartile Q3 of Scimago, but one thing that caught my attention is that they publish three volumes per month. Each accepted submission must pay a cost of 300 USD.

When I was searching for the reputation of this journal, I found that it is listed in the famous or infamous Beall’s list. My questions are:

  • Why does this journal appear on Scimago if it is a predatory one?
  • Would it be a good idea to publish in it?
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    I removed your side question (“I read that Beall considers that eventually this journal will disappear and that the published articles could be again be republished in another less valued journals, is that possible or even legal?”) as I think that it is better asked as a separate question. – Wrzlprmft May 1 '15 at 13:51
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    Also note that you if you think that a journal seems to be wrongfully listed on Beall’s list, you can ask Beall to reevaluate this journal or what caused him to list this journal. – Wrzlprmft May 1 '15 at 13:54
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    Regardless of the fact that the journal is either bad, below mediocre or scam and you need to pay for getting your paper published (which is already a red flag) why do you want to publish there? Has the CS world run out of legit (not necessarily top) journals without a publication fee? – Alexandros May 1 '15 at 18:16
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    @Layla. I only saw a fee in the Elsevier Journal of Computers and Software if you want your article to be open access to the public (which most people do not). This is the usual case. You do not pay for your article if your paper is available through subscription or you pay and everyone has access to it. – Alexandros May 1 '15 at 19:51
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    I think the answer to "should I pay money to publish in a subpar journal" is a definite "no". – Sasho Nikolov May 1 '15 at 22:50
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Beall's list is grounds for high suspicion, not a ban. In the case of this particular journal, it looks like not a very good journal, but not an obvious scam. Google Scholar finds a number of articles with moderate citations, and on first inspection they don't look like metric gaming, so it looks like it wouldn't be a black mark on one's record.

Bottom line: probably legit, but if you've done good work isn't there somewhere better than you can publish it?

  • 4
    Excellent answer. For what it's worth, the last point is one you should always be considering, not just with respect to predatory journals. The philosophy I saw in Academia is to submit as high as you reasonably can initially and scale back as necessary. – eykanal May 1 '15 at 13:44
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    That is good advice in this case, but «aiming high and scaling back» is not always a good strategy, because it delays publication when you have to scale back one or even multiple times. A realistic assessment (maybe with the help from colleagues who read your paper) is the best way to go. – henning -- reinstate Monica May 1 '15 at 16:50
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I see several red flags, which don't prove the journal is bad but make me very suspicious. At the very least, the journal is run in an eccentric way.

  1. At the bottom of the editorial board page, it says "You can join the elite panel of JATIT as member technical editorial board if you hold a PhD in computing and have at-least 10 publications in International Journals/Conferences. Please drop your CV at managing_editor at jatit.org. Members lists and requests are reviewed at the end of every year in regional advisory panel meeting." Of course this doesn't guarantee everyone who applies will be accepted, but it strongly suggests that they feel a PhD and ten papers is a reasonable criterion for being an editor. No mainstream journal takes such an approach, and it raises the question of why they would do this. One possibility is that the publisher wants to publish as many papers as they can (to increase profits) and is willing to accept just about any editor who might help with that.

  2. The papers show that copyright is held by JATIT & LLS, which is worrisome given the publication fee. It's common for open access journals to charge a fee but make the paper available under an open license (typically a Creative Commons license) for free distribution and use by anyone. Instead, JATIT owns the papers and can put whatever restrictions they like on them (including changing their policies in the future, for example to put the papers behind a paywall). They don't seem to be abusing this power, but they could if they wanted to. I see no good reason for this approach. It suggests that the publisher either doesn't know how gold open access journals generally work or is deliberately taking a different approach, and both possibilities are worrisome.

  3. When I flip through the published papers, they look very diverse in topics and approaches. Is the editorial board capable of handling such diverse papers? I don't know, but I doubt it: it's really difficult to handle a submission that falls outside your area of expertise. The easiest way is to apply low standards, which I'd bet is what happens here.

Some journals clearly look fraudulent when examined carefully, and there's no evidence that anyone is actually trying to run a real journal. That's not the impression I get from JATIT. If I had to guess based on admittedly insufficient information, I'd guess that the editors are trying to run a real journal while the publisher is trying to make money (which is not bad in itself but creates a bias towards publishing lousy papers).

As for whether it's a good idea to publish there, one big issue is how it would look. When I see a paper listed in an unknown journal on someone's CV, the first thing I wonder about is what the worse papers published there are like. (Do they regularly publish junk, or does publishing there demonstrate that your paper meets a respectable professional standard?) When you flip through JATIT, do you see papers that look worse that you think yours is? If so, I'd be wary about publishing there.

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    I think "average paper" is a much better metric than "worst paper", since even good journals sometimes publish terrible papers. – jakebeal May 1 '15 at 14:28
  • @jakebeal "What the worst papers look like" to me suggests something more like "What the bottom quartile is like" rather than "What the worst one or two papers are like." Anonymous, could you clarify? – David Richerby May 1 '15 at 15:41
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    Yeah, I mean how bad the papers they typically publish get, rather than the absolute worst-case scenario. I've edited to clarify. I am particularly interested in the below-average papers to try to get a feeling for whether the journal will publish anything (in which case a paper there might be good but is not in any way certified as being good). – Anonymous Mathematician May 1 '15 at 16:54
  • “Overly diverse topics” is a huge red flags. In fact, “theoretical and applied IT” already is. Who’d ever browse this journal? I can’t find a paper I could review, but my guess is that these papers are simply of very limited interest, so I’m surprised if they’re genuinely cited as the top answer says. – Blaisorblade Dec 15 '17 at 0:59
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Legit journals charge open access fees to make your article available in order to get more citations. My University has $3000 dlls a year grant for open access publications, it is cheaper to our university to pay fees than having to subscribe to paid journals. JATIT is legit, I have published few articles there, it is also listed in the Australian ERA Journal list. It is indexed by Scopus that is the minimum standard for credible journals. JATIT is a low ranked journal but credible enough. To those people that ask why should we pay money for a low ranked journal, the issue is time, many journals take two years to get something published while JATIT can get your publication published in 3 to 6 months. Many of us are on a time clock for tenure and cannot afford to wait 3 years for a publication so we rather pay. Also, we need citations and low ranked closed access journal generates hardly any citation.

In few words, JATIT is OK but I wouldn't bank only on this journal to get tenure. It is fine to have few articles from this low-ranked journal but you need better to be considered a credible researcher.

Our University does not use Beall's list, the main criteria for evaluation is indexed by SCOPUS at least but preferably by ISI Thompson rueters. The Beall list is very biased, JATIT is in Pakistan so anything that comes from India, Pakistan, China, etc., that charges money goes to this list right away disregarding indexes, impact factors, etc.

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    Why does an open access journal generate more citations? – Pete L. Clark Aug 31 '16 at 0:07
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    I randomly sampled one article from the latest issue and read it. It was this article, and it seems to be largely plagiarized from this paper, this other one, this paper, and this thesis. Perhaps the short editorial process is lacking something? – ff524 Aug 31 '16 at 0:24
  • I checked the papers that you mentioned and although the ideas are similar, they are two different papers with different references and images. JATIT actually sends you a similarity report taken from Scopus indexed journals, if your paper has a large similarity index is automatically rejected. It is OK if you don't like JATIT, you don't have to publish there. – Latin boy Aug 31 '16 at 0:37
  • I am just saying that it passes the check list of SCOPUS indexed and ERA listed that is good enough for me, it is not the type of journal to impress peers but it counts towards. Open access journals normally generate more citations because you are allowed to publish them in University open access libraries and places like researchgates, so it gives more visibility to your research. Closed access journals do not allow you to make available articles over the internet due to copyright issues, you can pay to have your articles with open access but this normally costs several thousands of dollars. – Latin boy Aug 31 '16 at 0:37
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    "Closed access journals do not allow you to make available articles over the internet due to copyright issues, you can pay to have your articles with open access but this normally costs several thousands of dollars." That's certainly not true in general: in many academic fields (e.g. mathematics) essentially all reputable journals allow posting to preprint servers like the arxiv and/or the author's homepage.... – Pete L. Clark Aug 31 '16 at 1:10

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