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Are we running out of journal names?

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With so many journals appearing everyday it is no wonder publisher and prospective publishers are running out of names for their journal titles, and an unavoidable consequence of this is duplication.

We constantly stumble with “new” titles that are already being used by other journals. This duplication of journal names is particularly notorious in the case of new Open Access (OA) journals. Some publishers just add something superfluous such as “journal”, “research” or even the conjunction “and” to the title to make it look different to a title that is already been published.

A word cloud generated with Wordle from the titles of the 21,350 journals indexed by JournalTOCs looks like this:

Journal Titles

The word cloud doesn’t include some common noise words such as journal (removed from 7,400 journal titles, including six ejournal) and 2,034 international. We also have removed from the journal names 7,802 of, 1,026 de, 110 für and 27 di. Perhaps we should have removed Revista (journal in English) which is found in the titles of 648 journals in Spanish. Research was found 1,377 times, Science 1,278 and Studies 771 times.

In this context, duplication is very likely to happen. Doing quick searches with JournalTOCs can expose cases such as:

  • Social Sciences (OA journal), Kaunas University of Technology
    Social Sciences (OA journal), MDPI
  • Advances in Chemical Engineering, Elsevier
    Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science (OA journal), SRP
  • Chemical and Process Engineering, Versita
    Chemical and Process Engineering Research (OA journal), IISTE
  • IJCT: Indian Journal of Chemical Technology (OA journal), NISCAIR
    IJCT: International Journal of Chemical Technology (OA journal), Knowledgia Review
  • American Journal of Business and Management (OA journal), World Scholars
    American Journal of Industrial and Business Management (OA journal), SRP
  • Engineering Management Journal, IET
    Engineering Management Research (OA journal), CCRE
  • Human Resource Management Journal, John Wiley & Sons
    Human Resource Management Review, Elsevier
    Human Resource Management Research (OA journal), SAP
  • International Journal of Business and Management (OA journal), CCRE
    International Journal of Business and Management Tomorrow (OA journal), IJBMT
  • Journal of Management, Sage
    Management (OA journal), SAP
  • Organization and Management (OA journal), Versita
    Organization Management Journal, Taylor & Francis
  • IJTM: International Journal of Technology Management, Inderscience
    IJTM: International Journal of Technology and Management (OA journal), Science Target (Not accepted by JournalTOCs)

How ethic is to name a new journal using a similar title of a journal that has already been published? Shouldn’t somebody be looking after the journal names being used [and sometimes abused by predatory publishers]?

As it is envisaged that the number of journals will continue increasing, protecting the name of their journals can be a good investment for publishers. This is valid for both seasoned and new titles. The last thing that a consolidated journal would want is to be asked to change its title. On the other hand a genuine and honest new publisher should avoid confusion with any other publications by using distinctive and concise titles. Also, services such as JournalTOCs will double check new journals that have similar names to other journals and the chances for those journals to be rejected are then higher.

How do you protect the name of your journal? Getting an ISSN for a journal doesn’t protect the journal name, and we all know how easy it is to get an ISSN for a journal. The fact is that journal names cannot be copyrighted. The best way to protect a title is to register it as a trademark. Thus a journal title can be registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office to prevent others from using the journal title to name other journals. To further protect the identity of the journal, publishers can also register a DOI for the journal title. Doing so would increase the chances of the journal to be highly considered and looked at without suspicions. In addition authors and readers will have fewer chances to be misled.

Written by Santiago Chumbe

February 11th, 2013 at 4:05 pm