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‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Medicine, October 2015
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • Among the highest-scoring outputs from this source (#21 of 2,865)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (99th percentile)

Mentioned by

31 news outlets
31 blogs
2 policy sources
416 tweeters
1 peer review site
3 Facebook pages
4 Wikipedia pages
4 Google+ users
1 video uploader


374 Dimensions

Readers on

491 Mendeley
5 CiteULike
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‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics
Published in
BMC Medicine, October 2015
DOI 10.1186/s12916-015-0469-2
Pubmed ID

Cenyu Shen, Bo-Christer Björk


A negative consequence of the rapid growth of scholarly open access publishing funded by article processing charges is the emergence of publishers and journals with highly questionable marketing and peer review practices. These so-called predatory publishers are causing unfounded negative publicity for open access publishing in general. Reports about this branch of e-business have so far mainly concentrated on exposing lacking peer review and scandals involving publishers and journals. There is a lack of comprehensive studies about several aspects of this phenomenon, including extent and regional distribution. After an initial scan of all predatory publishers and journals included in the so-called Beall's list, a sample of 613 journals was constructed using a stratified sampling method from the total of over 11,000 journals identified. Information about the subject field, country of publisher, article processing charge and article volumes published between 2010 and 2014 were manually collected from the journal websites. For a subset of journals, individual articles were sampled in order to study the country affiliation of authors and the publication delays. Over the studied period, predatory journals have rapidly increased their publication volumes from 53,000 in 2010 to an estimated 420,000 articles in 2014, published by around 8,000 active journals. Early on, publishers with more than 100 journals dominated the market, but since 2012 publishers in the 10-99 journal size category have captured the largest market share. The regional distribution of both the publisher's country and authorship is highly skewed, in particular Asia and Africa contributed three quarters of authors. Authors paid an average article processing charge of 178 USD per article for articles typically published within 2 to 3 months of submission. Despite a total number of journals and publishing volumes comparable to respectable (indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals) open access journals, the problem of predatory open access seems highly contained to just a few countries, where the academic evaluation practices strongly favor international publication, but without further quality checks.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 416 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 491 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
United States 6 1%
Germany 4 <1%
Spain 4 <1%
United Kingdom 4 <1%
Croatia 2 <1%
Russia 2 <1%
Sweden 2 <1%
India 1 <1%
Brazil 1 <1%
Other 12 2%
Unknown 453 92%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Librarian 116 24%
Researcher 68 14%
Other 52 11%
Student > Ph. D. Student 44 9%
Student > Master 39 8%
Other 125 25%
Unknown 47 10%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Social Sciences 111 23%
Medicine and Dentistry 83 17%
Computer Science 46 9%
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 31 6%
Arts and Humanities 28 6%
Other 118 24%
Unknown 74 15%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 719. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 05 March 2021.
All research outputs
of 19,169,076 outputs
Outputs from BMC Medicine
of 2,865 outputs
Outputs of similar age
of 260,513 outputs
Outputs of similar age from BMC Medicine
of 1 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 19,169,076 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 99th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 2,865 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 39.4. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 260,513 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 99% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 1 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has scored higher than all of them