The Department of Higher Education and Training paid R100m-R300m in academic subsidies for articles published in predatory journals for more than a decade, new research shows. Academics across the world are concerned about a spike in predatory journals, which are a scam aimed at making money out of researchers. At best, South African academics, like those in many other countries, have fallen victim to this form of publishing. At worst, they knowingly published in shoddy journals to access the department’s publishing subsidies. The government pays a university about R100,000 for a qualifying academic article, which has to be published in a journal accredited by the Department of Higher Education. Some universities pool this money in a kitty to fund all research; others allow academics to pocket a percentage. An analysis by Stellenbosch University researchers found that from 2005 to 2014, South African academics published more than 4,200 papers in 47 journals that were either "probabl...

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