UGC cracks down on Predatory Publishing

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has cracked down heavily on various research journals which rely on the “pay and publish” model. It is also referred to as predatory publishing. The UGC has removed several hundred such journals from its list of approved research outcomes.

What is predatory publishing?

  • Researchers need to publish their work in journals which showcase their work to the greater world.
  • These papers are published after rigorous reviews (peer review where other researchers attempt to find any issues with the work). This takes time but the papers are thoroughly improved before publication.
  • The journals themselves, may or may not charge any fees for publication. If a journal charges some fees before publication, it is known as Open Access Research.
  • However, some organizations have started multiple journals which claim to provide quality open access literature. These journals have no peer-review which means that the papers accepted will have dubious standards.
  • Furthermore, these journals have started to charge very high fees from authors/researchers which is counter-productive as neither is the work given any improvement nor the outreach it should get.

Challenges in India

  • Indian universities use the publication list of a faculty to evaluate him for promotions and hiring. Several faculty started using the services of these journals to increase their publication count.
  • To curb this challenge, UGC prepared a “white list” of all journals in 2017. However, several of the predatory journals also entered the list.
  • To combat this menace, UGC deployed Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (CARE), comprising representatives from universities, scholarly academies, and government institutes. The consortium s goal was to create a strict protocol for screening journals and to maintain a continually updated list.
  • Now the UGC list has just under 900 Indian journals in its list. It earlier had 3800.
  • CARE does not check the viability of foreign journals which are indexed separately in Scopus/Web of Science.

The Big Picture

India is home to several predatory journals. The Indian government must track and reduce the menace to establish the sincerity and global acceptability of Indian Research & development.

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