Following widespread criticism, the UGC has removed 4,305 journals that are either predatory or low quality. Another 191 journals are under scrutiny. Unwittingly, even the Lancet Public Health journal has been axed. Many journals published for a long time by societies have been removed as well.
In a major crackdown, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has removed 4,305 questionable or poor-quality journals from its approved list of journals. The UGC was forced to act following complaints by researchers and the media about inclusion of predatory and questionable journals in its white list. A paper published in Current Science in March 2018, found 897 of 1,009 journals that were included in the list based on the suggestions by universities were downright questionable.
Following the huge embarrassment, the Standing Committee on Notification of Journals was forced to “re-evaluate every journal title recommended by universities as well as those indexed by Indian Citation Index” based on the criteria set by the UGC for journal inclusion. And what followed was very much expected. Based on “careful scrutiny and analysis” the Committee found 4,305 journals to be either low quality or questionable (read predatory or bogus journals).
A few more journals will be removed once the Committee evaluates another 191 titles covered in Indian Citation Index.
While this purging may seem to be good at first glance, a closer scrutiny reveals that the UGC has once again slipped. Believe it or not, The Lancet Public Health journal published by The Lancet has been removed from the list for low score of less than six out of nine. So much for the “careful scrutiny and analysis” by the Committee.
Going strictly by the criteria used for approving a journal to the list, a few journals published by societies and associations have also been removed. Interestingly, even a journal published by CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (CSIR-NISCAIR) has been removed from the approved list.
The Journal of Scientific Temper, a journal published every quarter by NISCAIR in the area of scientific temper and public understanding of science, is one of the journals that has been removed from the UGC list. But to play the devil’s advocate, can a science journal carry articles on science fiction and scientific and “extra-scientific belief systems”?
According to the UGC, two other NISCAIR journals have also been removed from the list: Journal of Natural Products and Plant Resources and International Journal of Computational Linguistics and Natural Language Processing. But NISCAIR publishes only the Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources (formerly known as Natural Products Radiance) and not the one listed by the UGC. It does not publish the second journal either.
Even the Indian National Science Academy’s journal Indian Journal of History of Science has been removed from the list. “The Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy has been published since 1935 but was indexed in Scopus only very recently,” says Prof. Subhash C. Lakhotia from Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi and one of the authors of the Current Science paper and the Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the Indian National Science Academy journal. “Just because a journal is indexed in Scopus does not mean that the journal is good. And if a journal is not indexed it doesn’t mean it is of poor quality.”
There are several journals published for many years by societies that have been removed from the list of approved journal. For instance, Cotton Research Journal published by Indian Society for Cotton Improvement, Journal of Indian Ocean Archaeology published by Indian Archaeological Society, which came into existence in 1968 and is recognised by the UGC to conduct refresher courses in archaeology, have been removed from the list.
The Indian Journal of Entomology journal published by Entomological Society of India, Fishery Technology journal published by Society of Fisheries Technologists (India), Rubber Science journal published by Rubber Research Institute of India are the other journals that have been removed from the list. The Society of Fisheries Technologists (India), was established in 1962 and is engaged in research, development, education and policy making related to fisheries.
“Any standard society or association that has been in existence for 15-20 years and has been publishing journals for a long time should be included in the list even if they have not been indexed in databases,” says Prof. Lakhotia. Prof. Lakhotia is particularly peeved at the removal of Lalit Kala Akademi published by National Academy of Art.
Not free of predatory journals
The revised UGC list published in June last year was supposed to have removed the predatory journals. Comparing the list with librarian Jeffrey Beal’s (University of Colorado, Denver) list of “potential, possible, or probable” predatory journals, the revised list was found to contain 84 predatory journals, of which 71 are still active. None of the 71 active predatory journals is listed among the 4,305 journals that the UGC has just axed.
Unlike many of the journals now being removed, almost all the 71 journals have all the telltale signs of being predatory. One is left to wonder what “careful scrutiny and analysis” did the Committee undertake to rid the list of such questionable journals.
Listed below is the list of 71 questionable journals found in the UGC list.
Active predatory journals in the UGC list that overlap with Beall’s
|1||Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease|
|2||Australasian Medical Journal|
|3||Al Ameen Journal of Medical Sciences|
|4||Asian Journal of Chemistry|
|5||African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines|
|6||Advances in Biomedicine and Pharmacy|
|7||American International journal of Contemporary Research|
|8||Asia Pacific Journal Of Education, Arts and Sciences|
|9||Asian journal of science and technology|
|11||Bulletin of Environment, Pharmacology and Life Sciences|
|14||European Journal of Science and Theology|
|15||Eduved Global Management Research|
|16||European Chemical Bulletin|
|17||Genetics and Molecular Research|
|18||HortFlora Research Spectrum|
|20||International Journal of Communication Networks and Information Security|
|21||International Journal of Current Research and Review|
|22||International Journal of Electrochemical Science|
|23||International Research Journal of Pharmacy|
|24||Indian Journal of Scientific Research|
|25||International Journal of Network Security|
|26||International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Phytopharmacological Research|
|27||International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Development|
|28||International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Drug Research|
|29||International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research|
|30||International Journal of Renewable Energy Research|
|31||International Journal of Advanced Research and Review|
|32||International Journal of Scientific Research & Management Studies|
|33||International Journal of advances in Engineering & Technology|
|34||Indian Journal of Advances in Chemical Science|
|35||International research journal of Pharmaceutical sciences|
|36||international journal of pharmacy and pharmaceutical research|
|37||International Journal of Innovative Research in Science, Engineering and Technology|
|38||International Journal of Advanced Research in Electrical, Electronics and Instrumentation Engineering|
|39||International Journal of Innovative and Emerging Research in Engineering|
|40||International Journal of Research Publications in Engineering and Technology|
|41||International Journal of Innovations in Engineering Research and Technology|
|42||International Journal of Emerging Research in Management and Technology|
|43||International Journal of Engineering Technology and Computer Research|
|44||International Journal of Science and Research Methodology|
|45||International Journal of Emerging Trends in Science and Technology|
|46||Journal of Environmental Biology|
|47||Journal of Theoretical and Applied Information Technology|
|48||Journal of Physical Therapy Science|
|49||Journal of Applied Pharmaceutical Science|
|50||Journal of Clinical and Analytical Medicine|
|51||Journal of Materials and Environmental Science|
|52||Journal of Natural Products|
|53||Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences|
|54||Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment|
|55||Journal of Information Management|
|56||Journal of Computing Technologies|
|57||Journal of Global Research in Computer Science|
|58||Journal of Physical Education Research|
|59||Journal of Advances in Science and Technology|
|60||National Journal of Community Medicine|
|63||Oriental Journal of Computer Science and Technology|
|64||Pharmacie Globale: International Journal of Comprehensive Pharmacy|
|68||The Criterion: an International Journal in English|
|69||Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology|
|70||World Journal of Science and Technology|
|71||World Journal of Pharmaceutical and Medical Research|