Google Scholar Predatory / Questionable Journal Filter

Extension on the Chrome Web Store.

Scientific journals are understood to be peer-reviewed in order to strive for some basic level of quality .  Though journals vary in quality, and there are many criteria for assessing that quality, a class of journals that one could call “predatory” or “questionable” have practices substantially different from other journals in the field.  Identifying these journals, which have names that sound very serious and in some case very similar to well-regarded journals, is challenging. Though we in the academic community have been aware of this problem for some time, it was this New York Times article that spurred this extension.

This Chrome extension processes Google Scholar results pages to identify journals identified as being predatory or questionable by Jeffrey Beall using his well-established criteria.  Matching journals are made less opaque and given a grey background.  This will allow even people who are not experts in the field to filter out questionable journals.

At the moment we search only what Google gives us, which leads to imperfect matching if they choose to omit the full journal name.  However, particularly when the journal has a shorter name, this approach is very effective.  When this approach is not working, or if you are considering using one of the results, we offer “Aggressive Matching”. There is an icon in the Omnibar (where the URL is) on all Google Scholar pages; if you click that icon, this extension will also download the BibTeX for all the results on the page and filter journals based on that much better data. Two important notes:

  1. This requires that in your Google Scholar settings, you set “Show Links to import citations” to “BibTeX”.
  2. Use this at your own discretion; Google’s Terms of Service prohibit automatic crawling of their site, and if you download too many citations you WILL be automatically detected as a bot and blocked from Google Scholar. Use the feature carefully.
  3. To not abuse Google’s servers, requests for the BibTeX files are delayed by randomized amounts of minimum .5 seconds, up to 1.5 seconds.  All processing will be complete within 10 seconds.

Version .2 is more of a proof-of-concept; thoughts, comments, and contributions are welcome.  Please email badjournals –at– mikesmit.com.

 

Feature Wish List

- Ability to edit the blacklist

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