عنوان مقاله [English]
Preserving and enhancing the quality of science production is one of the key areas in research planning and policymaking. Apart from the numerous categories, criteria, and indicators that can be considered to evaluate the quality of science productions, the importance of the quality of publications that publish scientific products, and at the top of the publications i.e. scientific journals, has always been agreed in various scientific circles and forums. Therefore, scientometrics at the top of its activities and services has always provided various mechanisms for evaluating the quality of scientific journals to help researchers, universities, and research institutes in identifying the quality of articles and other types of scientific products. One of the most important of these mechanisms is the valid and accurate citation and specialized indexes that allow continuous evaluation of the scientific journals under their auspices based on various indicators. Experts are well aware of the fact that penetrating journals into these internationally recognized citations and specialized indexes is not an easy task and it requires journals to be able to successfully pass the rigorous evaluation and judging criteria and processes applied by indexes. It is clear that all these difficult evaluations and judging processes are done to identify and introduce reputable specialized journals to the scientific community, in a specific, scientific, known, valid, and reliable process. Thus, reputable international indexes are rightly considered as the most important tool for validating the scientific quality of journals, and it is natural that researchers also use them as the main reference for identifying and trusting credible journals when selecting specialized journals to submit and publish their articles.
But the point is that despite these rigorous processes, in rare cases a small percentage of journals may be able to pass through these filters and enter these databases, albeit temporarily, without having the necessary quality requirements; However, it does not take long for the low quality and infringement of this type of journal to be hidden from the keen eye of these indexes, and this small percentage of invalid journals will be identified by the same indexes in a short time and will be removed from the database. Nevertheless, in the short time it takes to index, they may be able to mislead researchers looking for a journal and attract researchers' articles. To prevent such errors, in addition to the careful assessments made by reputable international indexes to validate the quality of the journals they cover, there are additional efforts by some authorities, universities, and even researchers to identify fake Hijacked and blacklist journals that each prepares a list of offending journals from their point of view and shares them on the Internet. Although many of these scattered and unapproved lists are produced with common goals, due to the different views of their producers, in many cases they are associated with extremes, deviations, and sometimes biases. So they should not be mentioned as accurate, complete, and reliable lists without detailed expert reviews, and they should not be introduced as a valid reference for quality control of the country's scientific products. Hence, whenever the issue is of providing a valid and reliable list of fake and infringing journals to control the quality of the country's scientific products and create an opportunity for purposeful guidance of researchers to reputable journals, this list should be approved based on specific frameworks, criteria, indicators, and processes, and be prepared and published transparently by scientific committees under the supervision of higher authorities such as the Ministries of Science, Research and Technology and Health, Treatment and Medical Education.
Achieving a reliable list of infringing journals that can lead to proper awareness of researchers and continuous improvement of the quality of science production in the country, and in this way, not as a threat, but as a valuable opportunity, requires attention to the following points and axes are:
Any organization or even any individual can freely and voluntarily suggest a favorite blacklist of infringing or fake journals and even share them in the free internet environment; So far, various blacklists of offending journals and publishers have been prepared based on various views and published on the Internet. But what requires to be emphasized here is that the compilation, combination, and republishing of this type of unapproved and unprofessional lists by national centers that have authority in the field of management and quality improvement of science production, can justify these miscellaneous lists and create a misconception in the public mind. However, preparing an accurate and practical list of fake black journals that can act as a national reference for researchers, universities and institutes, requires the use of approved criteria and indicators, as well as taking into account well-known and specialized scientometric measurements of executive and operational processes.
A principle has been accepted that the definitive validity of journals will be verifiable once they are covered by valid professional indexes and citations. Therefore, by default, no one expects the validity of journals that have not yet been indexed by valid indexes. Accordingly, despite this accepted principle, it is not necessary to evaluate the validity of journals that have not yet been able to enter the valid indexes and to remind the scientific community again that they have not yet gained validity. Regarding this point, fake and blacklist journals should only include those infringing journals that, although erroneously, have been temporarily accessed by reputable indexes, and their violations may not yet be identified and are hidden from indexes. Deviation from this principle can create an irregularity and disruption which causes serious damage to the prepared list and reduces its comprehensiveness and credibility; Because it is not possible for any national or international institution to validate the myriad of journals that are published daily and in various languages around the world and are not yet covered in any valid index.
It should be noted that fake and blacklist journals do not include weak or new journals that work hard to strengthen their articles. On the contrary, this list should include infringing journals that continue to survive by violating the framework of scientific ethics and in any way possible, and hide their violations and unscientific intentions under a beautiful and seductive appearance. If this is taken into account, the fake and blacklist of journals can be used as an opportunity for researchers and journals.
While evaluating articles published in blacklist journals, it is necessary to pay attention to the date of publication of the article as well as the date of entry of the journal in the blacklist. A journal may not have violated its previous issues, but due to a change in the journal staff or other similar reasons, its performance has been degraded from a certain time onwards and has been subject to change and violation. Obviously, in such cases, the authors and the previous staff of the journal are not to blame and they should not be accused. Another reason is that basically, before the journal was identified and blacklisted, the journal's violations were not yet clear to the scientific community and were hidden from view. Evidently, when the violations of a journal are not yet proven, even for the index as well as for other reputable national or international authorities, and these violations are discovered and identified by them later and during a scientific investigation process, no blame should be placed on the authors. Due to ignorance, they have already published their articles in these journals; because at the time of publication of their article in the journal, the violation of the journal had not yet been confirmed by the national or international body that has the authority to publish the blacklist of journals and was not blacklisted.