Q: Should I accept a recently received request for peer review?

Detailed Question -

I received an invitation mail to perform a peer review. It is from an unknown journal (Asian Journal of Pediatric Research), but I am interested in the subject. Though the content of the article looks rather rough cut, I am not sure whether I should accept this request.

1 Answer to this question

It is good to know that you are evaluating this decision judiciously, keeping in mind the right considerations: that you are interested in the subject vis-à-vis it is an unknown journal.

We looked up the journal, including the site, and based on our criteria to check for predatory publications, here is what we found.

  • Although the site looks genuine and is mentioned on Publons, the language in many places is not of a good quality. When we checked for the articles they have listed as being in the press, we couldn’t locate these. On the Editorial Board Members page, while the profiles of some editors seem genuine, those of some others seem questionable, as they have only a personal mail ID rather than that of an academic affiliation. Also, we can’t be sure whether or not the profiles of the genuine editors have been listed on the site with their permission. Finally, the Reviewers page is blank.
  • As the journal is headquartered in India, we looked for the journal on the UGC-CARE list, a list of scientific journals approved for publication by India’s regulatory body for higher education, University Grants Commission (UGC). However, the search did not yield any result. So, this does not seem to be a CARE-approved journal.
  • On the Contact page, when we looked at the name of the publisher and searched the name on the net, we could not find a profile associated with the name. Additionally, we came across the name in a few news reports of predatory publishers.
  • Finally, while the journal does not levy any article processing charge (APC), it does make it mandatory for authors to purchase a copy of the journal. However, it offers a tremendous discount on the cost: 96%. In fact, this is the case with all their 100+ journals: for each, they offer a discount of at least 75% or more, and in some cases, even 100%. While the decision to compel authors to purchase a copy seems coercive, the decision to offer such a huge discount seems questionable.

Based on these findings, we would not recommend you to take up the review. Perhaps the journal approached you to boost its credentials. However, as you can understand, associating with them could end up adversely impacting your credentials.

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