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Evaluating Research: Why Evaluate Research?

Why Evaluate Research?

When practicing the scientific method, a researcher should conduct background research before formulating a hypothesis. Sound and valid findings gleaned from past research will often help the research avoid repeating past mistakes, creating invalid protocols, and making false assumptions.
Before the advent of eBooks and eJournals, the quantity of research material available to the researcher was much smaller and due to its diminished quantity fraudulent research was easier to identify. Because researchers no longer need a publisher to pay the cost of printing print journals in order to have their research finding read by others, the number of scientific and scholarly journals has skyrocketed. Thousands of new journal titles are appearing every year, and so is the quantity of “fake” and “fraudulent” research being produced. Today, the practice of disseminating false information has become so prevalent that terms have been coined to describe different aspects of fake information.
Predatory Publisher= A publisher who charges authors publication fees without providing the editorial or other services usually associated with article publication. Here are some signs of a predatory publisher:
  • Quickly accepts all articles submitted (usually within 24 hours).
  • No editorial or peer review process (or fake peer reviews).
  • Bills authors for previously undisclosed fees after the article is accepted.
  • Aggressively spams personal email, message boards, etc. to solicit article submissions.
  • Lists academics as journal editors without permission.
  • Publishes hoax or fake research.
  • Uses the same or very similar name as an established journal.
  • Tricks authors into believing a journal is another established journal by hijacking a website.
  • Hijacks or steals a legitimate journal editor’s email sign-on to reroute journal submissions.
  • Mimics the style or web site of a more established journal.
  • Makes false claims about the journal’s bibliometric measures (i.e. impact factor).
  • Use of another journal’s ISSN numbers.
  • Charges authors and editors substantial fees to remove their names from the journal’s website.
Hijacked Journal= An established respectable journal that has been taken-over (either legally or illegally) by a predatory publisher.
Predatory conferences or predatory meetings are scientific conferences (with in the US and in foreign countries), which despite appearing legitimate are actually fake. These meetings exploit researchers who present papers at these conferences by not providing proper editorial control over presentations, making false claims about the involvement of prominent academics in the conference, and not providing researchers with adequate time to present their papers.
This guide is meant to provide links to the resources that can help you evaluate the quality of research. If you are ever in doubt about whether or not an article is "real," please contact a librarian for help.

Reference Librarian

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Lisa Beinhoff, Ph.D., MLS, AHIP
MEB Library