Predatory journals seep in Scopus and Pubmed

Tuan Nguyen
5 min readNov 1, 2020

Predatory publication has created a headache for the academic community worldwide. I have been asked by a newspaper in Vietnam to comment on the issue, and I have done a bit of research and found out that many journals indexed in Scopus and Pubmed may be ‘predatory’. The presence of these bogus journals masqueraded as legitimate academic journals has seriously compromised the criteria of professorship promotion in developing countries.

In Vietnam, the State Council for Professorship is charged with the responsibility of assessing candidates for professorship promotion nationally. Peer-reviewed publication is one of the key criteria for promotion. However, it has recently become clear that many candidates have published their work in predatory outlets, and this practice has compromised the evaluation process.

The matter is boiled down to differentiating predatory journals from legitimate ones. Last week, in the wake of Professor Nguyen Ngoc Chau’s call for a total review of professorial candidates’ publication records [1], the Council has convened a meeting to sort out the problem. After a rather quick deliberation, the Council has decided that papers published in journals indexed by Web of Science (WoS), Scopus, Pubmed and Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI) are considered legitimate publications [2].

Well, I am not convinced by the decision. My research suggests that an unconditional acceptance of journals indexed by those citation databases can lead to wrong decision.

Let me elaborate a little bit further.

How many journals in WoS, Scopus, Pubmed?

There are differences in the criteria and procedure for journal selection between Scopus and WoS. To be indexed in Scopus, a journal should meet some minimum criteria such as readable scientific content, peer-review process, regularity of publication, and policy concerning publication ethics.

For WoS, the indexing requirements include 28 criteria relating to scholarly content quality and relevance, article titles and abstracts in English, presence of peer-review policy, timeliness publication, website functionality, editorial board with affiliation details, and information pertaining to authors [3]. Journals that meet the criteria are then indexed…



Tuan Nguyen

osteoporosis | epidemiology | genetics | biostatistics | data enthusiast