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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 51  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 208--211

Scrutinizing predator journals in pharmacology and calculating their predatory rate

Kopal Sharma, Meenu Rani, Lokendra Sharma 
 Department of Pharmacology, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Lokendra Sharma
Department of Pharmacology, SMS Medical College, Jaipur, Rajasthan


BACKGROUND: As the list of predatory journals is burgeoning, the researchers should have knowledge of calculating the predatory rate (PR) for the journals, in which they aim to publish their work and self-guard them from publishing in bogus journals. AIM AND OBJECTIVES: Our aim is to find out the predatory rate for various Pharmacology journals. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Here, we have examined the recently updated list (in 2017) of standalone predatory journals created and maintained by Beall, pertinent to all auspices of pharmacology including pharmacy, pharmaceutical, and pharmacognosy. The PR of various journals was calculated. RESULTS: Of 131 journals, pertinent to the pharmacology field, 45.03% of them had the PR between 0.72 and 0.84. 98.5% of journals were classified as predatory, whereas only 2 (1.53%) journals were classified in the category of predatory practice. CONCLUSION: It should be an eye-opener to the researchers, and they should deliberately select the journals to get real recognition of their work.

How to cite this article:
Sharma K, Rani M, Sharma L. Scrutinizing predator journals in pharmacology and calculating their predatory rate.Indian J Pharmacol 2019;51:208-211

How to cite this URL:
Sharma K, Rani M, Sharma L. Scrutinizing predator journals in pharmacology and calculating their predatory rate. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2019 [cited 2023 Mar 23 ];51:208-211
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With the advancing internet era, the entire process of scholarly publishing has now been revolutionized completely.[1] Many fraudulent journals have mushroomed, and even pharmacology field is now drenched with them. Very often, gullible researchers are trapped in a bait laid by them as getting their research work published is mandatory now-a-days due to stringent medical council of India (MCI) norms, which necessitates few prescribed number of publications for every promotion and even for good placements in the field of medical education.[2] The inexperienced researchers are also easy prey to them as they can face obstacles to deduce the integrity of journals in their respective field.[3]

A librarian from Denver city named Jeffrey Beall first introduced the term “predatory journals” and has been the pioneer in the campaign against fraudulent publishing practices.[4] Few important cardinal features that help differentiate legitimate journals from predatory journals are: 1) Use of catchy words such as “international,” “global,” “world,” and “universal” in their title to attract attention of authors. 2) Multidisciplinary nature. 3) Fast publication and quick review process in 2–3 days to a week. 4) Spurious claims of being indexed in well-acknowledged databases such as PubMed, Directory of Open Access Journals, or even Web of Science. 5) Use fictitious impact factors such as Global Impact Factors and Universal Impact Factor. 6) Use of generic E-mail address like Gmail or yahoo mail. 7) Publish enormous manuscripts in each issue and send regular invitation for the manuscript submission loading author's mailbox with number of spam mail.[5]

If authors are aware of how to calculate the predatory rate (PR) of the journals, at least, they can have a chance to rethink before submitting their valuable work in bogus journals and regret later on.

 Materials and Methods

In our study, we have examined the recently updated list (in 2017) of standalone predatory journals, pertinent to all auspices of pharmacology including pharmacy, pharmaceutical, and pharmacognosy. This list was accessed from the internet, and all the journals related to pharmacology were segregated out. A total of 32 Journals in the list were pertinent to pharmacology whereas 110 were related to pharmacy, pharmaceutical, and pharmacognosy fields combined as a whole. The PR was evaluated for all the journals based on the modified work of Dadkhah and Bianciardi.[5]

Evaluation: For calculation of the PR, each criterion mentioned in [Table 1] was given a weight between 0 and 2. Example: considering the editorial process of the journal, if journal mentions generic E-mail of the editor that is either Gmail or Yahoo mail, then a score of 1 is given; if E-mail of the editor is not mentioned at all, then a score of 2 is given; otherwise if official E-mail of the editor is mentioned, then it is scored as 0 for this criteria. Each and every scored criterion was then added and divided by fifteen, as there are total fifteen criteria. PR was calculated by the given formula:{Table 1}


Scoring: The scoring was done as per previous study of Tosti et al.[6]

It was taken into account that if:

PR = 0, it means that the journal is not a predatory.PR <0.22, it means that the journal uses predatory practices.PR >0.22, it means that the journal is predatory.


The different criteria taken into account for the calculation of PR are depicted in [Table 1]. A total of twenty-two pharmacology journals were segregated from the Beall's list, 2017. The highest PR was calculated to be 0.86, while the lowest was 0.2 [Table 2]. Maximum 59 (45.03%) of the journals had PR between 0.72 and 0.84 as shown in [Figure 1].{Table 2}{Figure 1}


Our study reveals the fact that predatory practice is like that virus outbreak that has infected even the pharmacology field and intoxicated it to such an extent that it becomes difficult to judge good journals from the heap of bad ones. In the current scenario, there is a rat race for quantity of publishing, rather than quality work. The journal having PR above 0.22 should never be chosen for manuscript submission due to their high predatory ranking.

The result of our study is comparable to a previous study of Memon where the authors have calculated the predatory value of those journals from which they received E-mails for publications over a period of 1 year.[7] Only one journal in this study has PR between 0.2 and 0.32. Similarly, in our study also, only two journals of pharmacology have PR between these values. The highest PR in our study was 0.96, while in the study of Memon,[7] the highest PR was 1.

In our study, 1.53% of journals were classified under predatory practices while 98.5% were classified as predatory. This is contradictory to the study of Tosti and Maddy where 10.5% of the dermatology journals were classified under predatory practices and the rest 89.5% as predatory journals.[6]

The strength of our study is that it enlists all the pharmacology journals with the predatory nature as per Beall's list. This can help the authors to choose among the different journals while submitting their valuable research work. The limitation of our study is that we could not include all the journals in the Beall's List as our aim was to scrutinize only the pharmacology-specific journals.


Awareness programs in the form of symposiums and workshops on scientific writing and how to publish can be undertaken by medical education unit of different medical colleges where all the medical teachers can be trained to choose a suitable journal for their publication. As the majority of the pharmacology journals in Beall's list were found to be predatory, it is recommended that the authors should first calculate the predatory score for a particular journal, and based on it, they should decide whether to submit their work in that journal or not. This will help improve quality publishing.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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