Hundreds of scientists who post their peer-review activity on the website Publons say they’ve reviewed papers for journals termed ‘predatory’ — although they might not know it. An analysis of the site has found that it hosts at least 6,000 records of reviews for more than 1,000 predatory journals. The researchers who review most for these titles tend to be young, inexperienced and affiliated with institutions in low-income nations in Africa and the Middle East, according to the study, posted to the bioRxiv preprint server on March 11. The study is the largest yet to examine claims that scientists review for predatory journals. A popular conception of these journals is that they generally publish any manuscript they’re offered for a fee and don’t offer peer review. In fact, journals can be defined as predatory while providing peer review, because they might be deceptive in other ways. But the peer review that these journals conduct might not be to the standard most researchers recognize, says Matt Hodgkinson, head of research integrity at the publisher Hindawi in London.
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