The Fidelior™ platform provides a searchable and accessible interface to a propriety Metadatabase that is matched to a variety of journal sources available in the public domain.
The Fidelior™ service automates the current manual process of checking references for reputable and questionable journal titles. The report tool checks references as listed in uploaded manuscripts or publications, and creates a report that flags pseudo-scientific journals and reputable journals as cited.
This report provides the submitter with information in order to carry out due diligence.
Fidelior™ uses the concept of ‘orange list’ to refer to any source of journal titles that are identified as possibly questionable, dubious or pseudo-scientific. It also includes uncategorised or re-categorised titles, and discontinued or removed titles, as indicated by the compilers of the various journal sources. A title that appears on an orange list is, therefore, not necessarily ‘predatory’ or ‘blacklisted’ and is duly flagged for further consideration.
The concept of ‘green list’ is used to refer to any list of journal titles that are regarded as reputable, as compiled by the organisations, countries or discipline-specific bodies who compiled or maintain the source.
Through its propriety Metadatabase, Fidelior™ facilitates access to publicly available journal sources (e.g., accredited journal lists, vetted journal lists, citation indices, or journal black lists). Journal source owners, not Fidelior™, maintain these sources and are responsible for the adding or removing titles.
Some journal titles may appear on multiple orange and/or green lists. Green lists and orange lists complement each other contributing to a broader understanding of journal quality.
While Fidelior™ does not use the concepts ‘white list’ and ‘black list’ in its services, it acknowledges that in literature, the term ‘black list’ is used to refer to a list of journals, publishers, companies or entities that are regarded as unacceptable or untrustworthy and to be avoided or distrusted. The purpose of a low-quality journal or predatory blacklist is to identify journal scam operations, in order to alert potential authors about deceptive and fraudulent practices and unscrupulous and unethical publishing operations.
Fidelior™ is not responsible for vetting and inclusion criteria of journal titles listed in the various journal sources. Some lists provide limited information about inclusion criteria. Fidelior™ reports will only include what is available from journal sources and lists.
Fidelior™ cannot be held liable for non-compliant use of Fidelior™’s services by a person or legal entity, as stipulated in the Terms & Conditions.
Through its propriety Metadatabase, Fidelior™ merely facilitates usable access to available journal sources in the public domain as matched to Fidelior™’s Metadatabase. Should a title be flagged as appearing in any of the sources, it is the user’s responsibility to check and assess the quality, journal metrics and journal ratings of the journal flagged, and secondly carefully clarify the reasons for inclusion of a citation in a particular manuscript. In some instances, a Fidelior™ report may reveal false positive hits. This may be due to a variety of reasons out of Fidelior™’s control, such as references formatting issues, document formatting issues, spelling mistakes in journal titles, journal source data inaccuracies, etc. A Fidelior™ report is merely a tool to assist the user. No software tool or journal list can replace peer review, due diligence and individual assessment of a journal or paper.
Fidelior™ acknowledges the principle of academic freedom. Researchers have the right to select any article, irrespective of quality, for inclusion in research and research dissemination. Fidelior™ remains neutral with regard to journal quality as represented on journal sources.
Each journal list matched to Fidelior™’s Metadatabase, exists for different reasons. Detail about inclusion criteria can be found and should be checked on the websites of each list. A journal delisted from a particular list is not necessarily of a questionable quality, e.g., it may no longer be open access and consequently removed from DOAJ. Therefore, some lists categorised as orange in Fidelior™ are not necessarily predatory blacklists.
Orange lists are potentially biased, out of date or incomplete. Journal titles and information about contact details, places of origin, and editorial processes may change. Some journal websites may change or be outdated. It may be that questionable journals share the same title or name as reputable journals. Fidelior™ believes that there is value in including so-called ‘outdated’ journal sources (e.g., Beall’s blacklisted titles) for citation checking purposes.
Journal sources matched to Fidelior™’s Metadatabase are not collated by Fidelior™, and might contain inconsistencies or inaccuracies which are not catered for in reporting. Fidelior™ does not take responsibility for correcting mistakes in journal sources. Fidelior™’s Metadatabase is continually developed and enhanced to provide quality journal metadata.
The journal landscape is not static, but fluctuating. A journal’s quality may deteriorate or improve and it can move from a green list to an orange list or from an orange list to a green list.
Fidelior™ endeavours to match its Metadatabase to the latest updates of journal lists and sources as they become available. Fidelior™ provides a release date for included lists and an inclusion date of when a title was added to a list, should the information be available.
In a few cases there may be more than one journal with the same title but with different ISSNs. This may mean that either they are different reputable journals with the name titles but different valid ISSNs or it may be that a journal is ‘high-jacked’ (e.g., copied and used for fraudulent purposes).
Some journal sources record journal status changes over time. In such cases titles are not removed, but rather updated/changed. Other sources may remove titles as the status changes. Reasons for inclusion, exclusion, or status change should be carefully studied.
Due to the obscure nature of the pseudo-science and low-quality journal landscape, journal lists are in a constant process of being updated and reassessed. At present there is no universal agreement, criteria, or a common standard on what constitutes a predatory or questionable journal. Fidelior™ acknowledges that there is critique against the idea of journal blacklists.
Fidelior™ currently does not include conference papers, book chapters or other types of publications in its searches.
As far as possible manuscript scanning will cater for phoneme possibilities (e.g., Organisation vs. Organization) and for journal abbreviations.
When submitting documents that were digitised (e.g. printed theses that were subsequently scanned and digitised), the accuracy of the report may be influenced by the quality of the optical character recognition processes.
Fidelior™ strives to eliminate possibly fraudulent manipulation and editing of its reports (e.g., using watermarks, timestamps, and summaries). However, fraudulent manipulation cannot be eradicated entirely.
Fidelior™ launched its service with a Metadatabase linked to a limited number of journal sources, as collated in June 2021.
Fidelior™ does not retain or store uploaded documents and Fidelior™ reports. Fidelior™ does not retain or store the link between the content of a Fidelior™ report and the identity of a person, submitter or associated institution.