Indian Computer Science (CS) & Information Technology (IT) Academic Reform Activism Consolidated Blog Document

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Open Access Journal Scams

Net url:

This article from "The Hindu" claims that there are scams involving Open Access Journals. I do not know how accurate its information is:

The above article concludes, "With no organisation or system in place to check the entry of counterfeits, the onus is on researchers to decide the reliability of what they read, and where to publish their work."

The article indicates that quite a few researchers/authors based in India seem to have published in these alleged "scam" journals. Perhaps their research work loses some/most value as it has got published with journals which are being labeled as scam journals! I think researchers need to be pretty careful about not getting caught up in such scams.

Here are some links regarding such alleged scam journals.

1) (referred by The Hindu article) authored by Associate Prof. Beall, academic librarian,, has a list which seems to have over 50 individual allegedly "questionable" journals. has a list of allegedly "questionable" open access publishers. The list seems to have over 150 names!

Here's Beall's Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access Publishers,



The Hindu article states that names of academics/researchers are advertised as members of the editorial board without the knowledge of these academics/researchers! That is Identity Theft, pure and simple! This is horrifying.

I think this is where the brand name of the publisher is so vital. For computing areas, top brand names like ACM and IEEE must be having top peer reviewer panel quality, decades of experience in publishing and a sophisticated publishing organization in general. Besides being top quality publishers they certainly seem to be safe publishers as well. Initiatives like ACM Author-izer,, seem to resolve concerns of those authors who want their articles in these publications to be accessible at no charge.

1 comment:

Ravi S. Iyer, March 29, 2013 at 5:56 PM

A recent Nature article gives superb insight into science/research publishing business and how Open Access is making significant inroads into it, Open access: The true cost of science publishing.

An interesting extract from it:
The number of open-access journals has risen steadily, in part because of funders' views that papers based on publicly funded research should be free for anyone to read. By 2011, 11% of the world's articles were being published in fully open-access journals.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Off-Campus PhD Degrees - Assam State Government to reduce pay of teachers with such degrees!

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I did not know much about off-campus PhD degrees. I knew that as a possibility but did not know that it seems to be a mechanism for getting an easy PhD in some places in India! And with a PhD one satisfies UGC/AICTE norms to be appointed as Assistant Professor!

Here's an article about Assam education minister speaking in the state assembly about cutting pay and stopping increments of teachers with off-campus Phd degrees,

Some notes:

"Assam education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma today said the government would reduce salaries and stop promotions of college teachers having “off-campus” PhD degrees." The minister opined that off-campus PhD degrees have relaxed rules and involved less academic pressure. He also made a nice quip about attempt to find details about universities offering such off-campus PhD degrees being a work of research in itself!

He mentioned reports of a shocking 75 per cent of college teacher appointments in recent years involving off-campus PhD degrees! 

He also raised some doubt about on campus PhD degrees from National Assessment & Accreditation Council (NAAC) 'C' grade universities and indicated that they may not be accepted. [Ravi: So NAAC rating plays a vital role in establishing credibility of a university not only with UGC but also with the very powerful government ministers.]

The article also mentions about a college teacher who got an off-campus PhD degree from a UGC recognized university, and who followed all norms for UGC PhD degree. He said that it will be an injustice if the government does not recognize his/her degree now. [Ravi: I tend to agree with the above college teacher. If the off-campus doctorate has been obtained from a recognized UGC university following UGC norms then UGC is at fault for giving permission to the university to give off-campus doctorate degrees. How can the government punish the poor teacher for UGC's fault and declare his/her off-campus PhD invalid!]

Ravi comments:

Hmm. Interesting world of PhD club academia. The idea, in the case of some of the less reputed academics/academic-institutions in the country, seems to be to somehow get a PhD by hook or by crook, and then get into some academic institution with current pay commission scale as Assistant Prof. How well s/he teaches seems to be almost besides the point :)!

I wonder how many of such off-campus PhD teachers are CS or IT teachers.

P.S. A State Level Entrance Test (SLET) or National Entrance Test (NET) is not even mentioned in this context. I get the impression that, at least for the less reputed academics/academic institutions, the PhD route is the easier route to Assistant Professorship than clearing SLET or NET. But then I am not sure and may be way off the mark here.

A US academic responded by mail to the above matter by sharing the Lorenz university,, case with me. 

I am quite astonished by this Lorenz university online degree mill continuing to do business! With online accreditation agencies to boot! shows how Lorenz university hides its real life address. I confirmed the hiding behind a proxy by visiting,

And Lorenz offers a doctorate degree as well!

But then, it being a scam can easily be detected by knowledgeable persons. In the case of the Indian state, Assam, some of whose universities are offering weak off-campus PhDs, it seems that they were recognized by UGC, the apex higher education body of the country! That makes it far worse.

I was also informed that a number of people associated with Tata Research Development and Design Centre (TRDDC) did their PhDs as external students from different universities (typically IITs and IISc).

I am quite sure that TRDDC would be an outstanding example of genuine and high-quality, off-campus (external student) PhDs.

As I have understood the desperate attempts by top academic administrators, bureaucrats & ministers to stem the rot in less reputed Indian academic institutions, which perhaps are a significant majority, they use a sledgehammer approach to resolve such problems. Perhaps they don't have a choice given the magnitude of the problem they face both in terms of the rot and in terms of sheer number of students affected.

In this case I am quite sure exceptions will be made for genuine high-quality off-campus (external student) PhDs. But the rule on paper may exclude off-campus PhDs. Such is life in India. The scamsters create trouble even for the genuine people.

1 comment:

Ravi S. Iyer, June 26, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Besides PhDs being sold, medical degrees also seem to be virtually on sale in India, according to this article in The Hindu on June 26th, 2013, Doctors by merit, not privilege. The author, Sujata Rao, has strong credentials.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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