One important issue in scientific ethics is the proliferation of so-called «predatory journals». These are journals that request articles through very aggressive marketing and spam e-mails, promising rapid review and publication, but whilst paying. In these journals, there is very little, or even no control of the review systems and costs. Their aim is always economical and it may be said that they are compromising communication in science.
The main victims are institutions and investigators in developing countries. They are also seriously damaging free access journals that follow proper publication rules.
It is often difficult to differentiate between predatory journals and those that follow correct publication policies.Therefore, bodies have been created to inform potential users about these types of journals (http://publicationethics.org/files/u7140).
The term «predatory journals» was coined by Jeffrey Beall of Colorado University, who created «Beall’s list», in which some of these journals are identified.According to Beall, the number of predatory journals rose from 18 in 2011, to 700 in 2015.Most are published in countries with a low economic level, particularly India, Pakistan and Nigeria, although they are sometimes advertised with addresses in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Their names are often difficult to distinguish from the roughly 20,000 journals that can be called genuine (British Medical Journal; 350: h 210).