Citations and metrics of journals discontinued from Scopus for publication concerns: the GhoS(t)copus Project

Giuseppina Campisi, Vera Panzarella, Antonino Giarratano, Andrea Cortegiani, Cesare Gregoretti, Lucia Cugusi, Sharon Einav, David Moher, Andrea Manca, Michaela Strinzel, David Moher, Anna Severin, Lalu Manoj, Giulia Ingoglia, Mariachiara Ippolito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Scopus is a leading bibliometric database. It contains a large part of the articles cited in peer-reviewed publications . The journals included in Scopus are periodically re-evaluated to ensure they meet indexing criteria and some journals might be discontinued for 'publication concerns'. Previously published articles may remain indexed and can be cited. Their metrics have yet to be studied. This study aimed to evaluate the main features and metrics of journals discontinued from Scopus for publication concerns, before and after their discontinuation, and to determine the extent of predatory journals among the discontinued journals. Methods: We surveyed the list of discontinued journals from Scopus (July 2019). Data regarding metrics, citations and indexing were extracted from Scopus or other scientific databases, for the journals discontinued for publication concerns. Results: A total of 317 journals were evaluated. Ninety-three percent of the journals (294/317) declared they published using an Open Access model. The subject areas with the greatest number of discontinued journals were Medicine (52/317; 16%), Agriculture and Biological Science (34/317; 11%), and Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics (31/317; 10%). The mean number of citations per year after discontinuation was significantly higher than before (median of difference 16.89 citations, p<0.0001), and so was the number of citations per document (median of difference 0.42 citations, p<0.0001). Twenty-two percent (72/317) were included in the Cabell's blacklist. The DOAJ currently included only 9 journals while 61 were previously included and discontinued, most for 'suspected editorial misconduct by the publisher'. Conclusions: Journals discontinued for 'publication concerns' continue to be cited despite discontinuation and predatory behaviour seemed common. These citations may influence scholars' metrics prompting artificial career advancements, bonus systems and promotion. Countermeasures should be taken urgently to ensure the reliability of Scopus metrics for the purpose of scientific assessment of scholarly publishing at both journal- and author-level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-
Number of pages32
JournalF1000Research
Volume9
Publication statusPublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics

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