University Grants Commission or UGC, the national higher education regulator, asked the academic community to avoid publication in predatory or dubious journals or participation in predatory conferences. UGC’s direction is coming after, according to the Commission, “it has been observed that unethical/deceptive practices in publishing are leading to an increased number of dubious/predatory journals worldwide”. The Commission has also said that it has been reported that the percentage of research articles published in predatory journals is high in India.
Predatory journals (also known as illegitimate journals or deceptive journals or dark journals) are publications which use deceptive practices and actively ask for manuscripts along with huge publication charges from academic community. Most such journals ‘have no peer review system and no true editorial board and are often found to publish mediocre or even worthless papers’.
A study done by a group of researchers last year found that over 88% of the non-indexed journals in the university source component of the UGC-approved list, included on the basis of suggestions from different universities, could be of low quality.
The Commission in its notification regarding ‘academic integrity’, further advised the stakeholders that ‘they must not get associated (as Editors /Advisors or in any other capacity) with journals / publishers / conferences involved in fraudulent/ dubious / deceptive practices’.
“Any publications in predatory / dubious journals or presentations in predatory / dubious conferences should not be considered for academic credit for selection, confirmation, promotion, performance appraisal, award of scholarship or academic degrees or credits in any form,” UGC notification said.
It also asked the academia to use research publications only from journals indexed in UGC-CARE List (a system established by UGC to monitor research publications) for all academic purposes.
Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (CARE) is set up to identify, continuously monitor and maintain ‘UGC-CARE Reference List of Quality Journals’ across disciplines.
The Commission has also asked Vice Chancellors, selection committees, research supervisors or guides and such other experts involved in academic evaluation and assessment that ‘they must ensure that their decisions are primarily based on quality of research work and not merely on number of publications’.