The government has asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to consider removing from its list all academic journals found to be substandard and predatory in an investigation published last week in The Indian Express on fake research paper shops in the country. In a meeting Wednesday, Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar is learnt to have asked his officers to get all vice-chancellors of central, state and deemed universities to review their recommendations made to the higher education regulator for inclusion of journals on its list.
“If any substandard/ predatory journals are found to be in the list recommended by the vice-chancellors, that would be held personally against the vice-chancellor concerned,” reads the order issued Wednesday by Higher Education Secretary R Subramanyam.
Express Investigation | Inside India’s fake research paper shops: pay, publish, profit
The Ministry has also asked UGC to hold a meeting with citation database Scopus, indexing service Web of Science and ICI master list to examine whether they have done due diligence before including a journal in their lists.
“They may be asked to redo the exercise if necessary and send a certificate to UGC before 31st August, 2018, that all the journals which are in their database are genuine peer-reviewed and are of required standards,” the order reads.
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.
Some of the prominent publishers featured in the investigation were OMICS, Austin, Science Domain, IAEME and IOSR Journals, which together bring out over 1,200 journals on subjects ranging from medicine to management.
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. It also revealed that Hyderabad has become the hub of predatory publishing in India with companies based in the city, including OMICS, bringing out over 1,500 active journals.