Predatory journals are Open Access journals of highly questionable scientific quality. Such journals pretend to use peer review for quality assurance, and spam academics with requests for submissions, in order to collect author payments. In recent years predatory journals have received a lot of negative media. While much has been said about the harm that such journals cause to academic publishing in general, an overlooked aspect is how much articles in such journals are actually read and in particular cited, that is if they have any significant impact on the research in their fields. Other studies have already demonstrated that only some of the articles in predatory journals contain faulty and directly harmful results, while a lot of the articles present mediocre and poorly reported studies. We studied citation statistics over a five-year period in Google Scholar for 250 random articles published in such journals in 2014 and found an average of 2.6 citations per article, and that 56% of the articles had no citations at all. For comparison, a random sample of articles published in the approximately 25,000 peer reviewed journals included in the Scopus index had an average of 18, 1 citations in the same period with only 9% receiving no citations. We conclude that articles published in predatory journals have little scientific impact.
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