Preventing Fake Special Issues from Unqualified Guest Editors

By Mikaela Felty on Dec 29, 2021
In recent months, with the adjustment to a continuous publication frequency, IGI Global has become much more liberal in allowing a higher number of journal special issues to be published annually. Through special issues there is a tremendous opportunity to solicit high-quality manuscripts for journals; however, if not managed with the utmost care, they could be extremely detrimental to the quality of a journal. Publishers are beginning to share reports that they have experienced unqualified guest editors infiltrating their journals through special issues which is a cause for concern in the academic community.
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The Risks of Special Issues
Many publishers have found that there have been special issues proposed to their journals by fake guest editors who are posing under aliases of qualified individuals in order to publish work that otherwise would not be accepted and published by that scholarly journal. An article from Nature, “Scammers impersonate guest editors to get sham papers published” by Holly Else, reported that Elsevier withdrew 165 articles and plans to withdraw 300 more that were published within six special issues in one of its journals. This problem has affected many publishers and they are taking the necessary steps to prevent the inclusion of these “gibberish papers” from fake guest editors in the future. Still, this breach in scholarly work by these unqualified editors has concerned many academicians, researchers, and Editors-in-Chief.
Detriment to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Movement
Very often special issues can hinder the diversity ratios within a journal. For instance, if a special issue is being compiled as a result of best paper selections from a conference, there is a higher likelihood of all of the papers coming from the same region, or the same institution. This can negatively impact the ratio of representation from other parts of the world.
Our Care in Special Issue Review
person reviewing documents IGI Global is aware of these situations and is taking care to accept only the highest quality special issue proposals for our journals and carefully vetting prospective special issue guest editors, as well as evaluating the source for special issue manuscripts. IGI Global ensures that any accepted content for the special issues in progress for the journal have the highest level of quality, meet editorial standards, and adhere to the mission and scope of the journal.
Additionally, the Editor-in-Chief of the journal has the final say as to which special issues are published in their journal. If the manuscripts within a special issue are not in line with the journal or are of poor quality and either require revisions or need to be rejected, the editors are encouraged to inform both the guest editors and the publisher of their decisions.
We understand the concern that some of our Editors-in-Chief may have regarding this phenomenon in the publishing community. IGI Global is dedicated to a rigorous review process to prevent any infiltration of unqualified or fake guest editors into the journals we host.
Editors Should Carefully Consider:
  • Special Issue Guest Editor Credentials (Publication History, Affiliation, Full CV)
  • Manuscript Recruitment Strategy and Source(s) for Contributions
  • Quality and Originality of Manuscript Submissions
  • Diversity Among Contributors to the Special Issue
  • Timelines
IGI Global encourages qualified individuals to submit Special Issue proposals to the relevant journal of their choice. If you are looking to guest edit a Special Issue, please submit the Journal Special Issue Proposal form. The Editor(s)-in-Chief will be in touch with an acceptance, rejection, or revision of the proposal once an evaluation process is conducted.
For more information, please contact the Acquisitions Team at
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