Asee peer logo

The Writing Style of Predatory Publishers

Download Paper |

Conference

2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Indianapolis, Indiana

Publication Date

June 15, 2014

Start Date

June 15, 2014

End Date

June 18, 2014

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Measuring Impact: Libraries, Librarians, Instruction, and Institutions

Tagged Division

Engineering Libraries

Page Count

23

Page Numbers

24.1259.1 - 24.1259.23

DOI

10.18260/1-2--23192

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/23192

Download Count

126

Request a correction

Paper Authors

biography

David Matthew Markowitz Cornell University

visit author page

David M. Markowitz graduated with a B.S. from Cornell University and is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication. His research interests are deception, psycholinguistics, computer-mediated communication, and interpersonal communication.

visit author page

biography

Jill H. Powell Cornell University Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6706-5616

visit author page

Jill Powell is Engineering Librarian at the Engineering Library, Cornell University. She has a B.A. from Cornell and an MLS from Syracuse University. Active in the Engineering Libraries Division of the American Society for Engineering Education, she has served as Program and Division Chair. She is the library liaison to these departments: biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and mechanical and aerospace engineering.

visit author page

biography

Jeffrey T. Hancock Cornell University

visit author page

Jeff Hancock is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Communication and Information Science at Cornell University, where he is also co-Chair of Information Science and co-Director of Cognitive Science. He is associate editor for the journal Discourse Processes. His work is concerned with how social and connective media affect psychological and linguistic dynamics, with a particular emphasis on deception and trust, interpersonal communication, and the psychological effects of online interaction. His research has been published in over 70 journal articles and conference proceedings and has been supported by funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. His work on lying online and on social media has been frequently featured in the popular media, including the New York Times, CNN, NPR, CBS and the BBC. Dr. Hancock earned his PhD in Psychology at Dalhousie University, Canada, and joined Cornell in 2002.

visit author page

Download Paper |

Abstract

The Impact of Writing Style on Predatory Journal WebsitesIn 2010, librarian Jeffrey Beall started a list of academic journals that allegedly use predatorypractices. Coined “Beall’s List,” (Beall, 2013) this working catalogue highlights over twohundred open-access journals that may feign editorial processes, peer-review, or otherprocedures of a reputable publisher. Given the recent attention to scientific misconduct (Fang,Steen, & Casadevall, 2012; Yong, 2012), an important question is whether there are methods todetect predatory publishers from authentic ones?In this study, we apply an automated language analysis technique from the social sciences toexamine how predatory and authentic journals differ in writing style from the About Us andAim/Scope sections of their websites. Compared to authentic journals, predatory journals usemore discrepancies, certainty terms, and positive emotions but fewer function words, articles,prepositions, quantifiers, and terms related to causality. These results follow recent patterns inthe deception literature (Pennebaker, 2011; Toma & Hancock, 2012), suggesting that languagefeatures may be useful when evaluating predatory versus authentic publishers.In addition to analyzing writing style, we analyzed meta-linguistic properties of predatorypublishers from the same database of journals. Compared to authentic publishers, predatorypublishers use more third-party email addresses, claim false impact factors, fake rapid peerreview, and simulate academic expertise. This is the first study to examine predatory publishingthrough an empirical lens and our results suggest that there are quantifiable linguistic and meta-linguistic differences between predatory publishers and those journals that seek to publishhonestly. REFERENCESBeall, J. (2013). Scholarly open access list of standalone journals. Retrieved September 30, 2013,from http://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals/.Fang, F. C., Steen, R. G., & Casadevall, A. (2012). Misconduct accounts for the majority ofretracted scientific publications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the UnitedStates of America, 109, 17028-17033.Pennebaker, J. W. (2011). The secret life of pronouns: What our words say about us. London:Bloomsbury Press.Toma, C. & Hancock, J.T. (2012). What lies beneath: The linguistic traces of deception in onlinedating profiles. Journal of Communication, 62, 78-97.Yong, E. (2012). Nobel laureate challenges psychologists to clean up their act. Retrieved July20, 2013, from http://www.nature.com/news/nobel-laureate-challenges-psychologists-to-clean-up-their-act-1.11535.

Markowitz, D. M., & Powell, J. H., & Hancock, J. T. (2014, June), The Writing Style of Predatory Publishers Paper presented at 2014 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Indianapolis, Indiana. 10.18260/1-2--23192

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2014 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015