The new vice-chancellor of Panjab University, Dr Raj Kumar, features on the editorial board of at least two publications that figure on an international list of “predatory journals” published by a former librarian from Denver that led to a worldwide investigation by 23 media organisations, including The Indian Express, on pay-and-publish research paper shops.
Kumar took over as vice chancellor on July 23 from Dr Arun Kumar Grover. He was earlier dean and head of the Institute of Management Studies at Banaras Hindu University.
The 59-year-old Kumar, whose CV on the BHU “core faculty” site says he has 35 years of teaching and research experience, is named on the editorial board of International Journal of Engineering and Management Sciences (IJEMS) and International Journal in Management and Social Science (IJMSS). Both the journals feature on the list of “predatory journals” compiled by Jeffrey Beall, former librarian at the University of Colorado.
When contacted, Kumar said through the university’s Director of Public Relations, Renuka Salwan: “It is always an honour to be on the editorial board of journals. If there is an issue with the journal’s credibility, I will step down immediately. As Vice Chancellor, I will make all concerted efforts to take the legacy of good research being carried out in PU to greater heights as it has an important role to play for industry and society at large.”
In a series of investigative reports starting July 19, The Indian Express reported on how India has emerged as one of the biggest markets for a business in which over 300 “predatory” publishers bring out journals that claim to be international and publish papers for a “charge” ranging from $30-$1,800 per piece.
The investigation found that the range of names linked to articles and conferences organised by publishers of such journals includes vice-chancellors, AIIMS directors and IIT professors.
Express Explained | How the pay-and-publish business works
Last week, responding to the investigation, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar asked the UGC to weed out predatory and substandard journals from its list of approved journals.
IJEMS and IJMSS are not on the UGC list.
IJEMS is published by the Society for Science and Nature based in Lucknow. Kumar is listed on its editorial board, which has 19 other members. His listed affiliation is Faculty of Management Studies, BHU, and his contact numbers and email are provided.
IJEMS lists “Dr Anupam Kumar Singh” as its editor-in-chief. His qualifications are listed as “Dr-Ing (Germany), MS (KIT, GERMANY)”. The co-editor of the journal, Dr Sanjeev Verma, of the Institute of Management Studies, Lucknow, told The Sunday Express over phone that the “management decides” members of the editorial board “on the basis of CV”. “Those who are appointed are informed by email,” he said, adding that he did not know Kumar personally and had no interaction with him.
IJMSS is published by Haryana-based International Journals of Multi-Dimensional Research, which is also on Beall’s List. Kumar is listed on its editorial board as Professor, Faculty of Management Studies, BHU, Varanasi.
The journal’s online site shows its registered address as DR 9, Paper Mill, Yamuna Nagar, 135001, Haryana. No one answered calls to a mobile phone number provided on the site.
The new V-C’s name is also listed in the editorial board of the Journal of Advance Management Research, a quarterly journal published by an entity called Enriched Publications based in Goregaon, Mumbai.
This journal does not figure on Beall’s List. But like the other two, it is not on the UGC’s approved list, or among the over 4,000 publications removed from that list in May.