The surge of predatory open-access in neurosciences and neurology

Andrea Manca, Gianluca Martinez, Lucia Cugusi, Daniele Dragone, Zeevi Dvir, Franca Deriu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Predatory open access is a controversial publishing business model that exploits the open-access system by charging publication fees in the absence of transparent editorial services. The credibility of academic publishing is now seriously threatened by predatory journals, whose articles are accorded real citations and thus contaminate the genuine scientific records of legitimate journals. This is of particular concern for public health since clinical practice relies on the findings generated by scholarly articles. Aim of this study was to compile a list of predatory journals targeting the neurosciences and neurology disciplines and to analyze the magnitude and geographical distribution of the phenomenon in these fields. Eighty-seven predatory journals operate in neurosciences and 101 in neurology, for a total of 2404 and 3134 articles issued, respectively. Publication fees range 521–637 USD, much less than those charged by genuine open-access journals. The country of origin of 26.0–37.0% of the publishers was impossible to determine due to poor websites or provision of vague or non-credible locations. Of the rest 35.3–42.0% reported their headquarters in the USA, 19.0–39.2% in India, 3.0–9.8% in other countries. Although calling themselves “open-access”, none of the journals retrieved was listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. However, 14.9–24.7% of them were found to be indexed in PubMed and PubMed Central, which raises concerns on the criteria for inclusion of journals and publishers imposed by these popular databases. Scholars in the neurosciences are advised to use all the available tools to recognize predatory practices and avoid the downsides of predatory journals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)166-173
Number of pages8
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2017


  • ethics in publication
  • open access
  • predatory journals
  • scientific publishing


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