How to inform the boss that he is published in predatory journals? Experience of a science librarian from a developing country

“I have bad news for you - most likely, you were published in a predatory journal”. The interlocutor clearly did not expect such impudence from the librarian. A few seconds of awkward silence, and then everything happens almost as in the popular mass theory of the five stages of grief: 

Denial. “No, this journal is definitely in WoS. I heard somewhere that this journal is very scientific. I paid like for Scopus”. 

Anger. “You are a librarian, and you don't understand anything! In fact, it is a journal with a high ISSN!”. 

Bargaining. “Maybe we'll take another look and find out that this journal is not so predatory? Look, I have a certificate and even a PDF”. 

Depression. Skip this stage - our bosses are not particularly upset about the meager scientific achievements. 

Acceptance. “Yes! I publish articles in such journals, but everyone published articles in such journals!”. 

Ukrainian librarians are not such bad people who seek to persecute and disappoint authors. The fact is that in Ukraine, as in many other countries, there are reputational, career and financial rewards for publication in journals indexed in scientific databases, and there will always be those who try to play "off the rules". 

Some authors publish their work in journals that do not contain even a hint of peer review and ready for a certain amount to publish any nonsense under the guise of scientific publications. 

Scientific librarians who have cared about the quality of collections for centuries are still trying to protect readers from publications that may contain poor-quality or fabricated findings. Librarians make sure that fraudsters do not take away awards from good scientists and explain to young scientists why you should stay away from predatory journals. 

However, some authors form quite conscious symbioses with predators, achieve with their help career growth, and it is clear that they are not happy with such a “disclosure”. I often ask my colleagues - Aren't you afraid to tell the boss that he has published an article in a predatory journal? Only a few people will be grateful for the warning, but most of these authors-bosses - petty tyrants, and you know that such quixotism will not end well for the librarian? 

Interestingly, the answers to these questions are usually always the same in content - librarians, they are like blackbirds, warning others about the danger and at the same time risking falling into the clutches of a predator. We are aware of this, but without such self-sacrifice, education and science will not survive.

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