New Delhi: Former JNU student union president Kanhaiya Kumar has used a notorious journal blacklisted internationally to get his article published for PhD thesis submission, shows the journal’s website. The renowned globally trusted Beall’s List had mentioned the International Research Journal of Humanities, Engineering and Pharmaceutical Sciences (IJHEPS), where Kanhaiya’s article appeared, as a “predatory journal”. The Iran government followed (

Predatory journals are those that accept money for publication of a research article bypassing peer review. One of Kumar’s associates Varun who responded to MyNation's queries on behalf of the student leader said they were unaware of the predatory status of the journal and would look into the matter.

“This is also news to us that the journal has been blacklisted. We submitted our article online. May be it is not blacklisted here in India. We are not aware of it. Before submission of PhD an article had to be published and we did it so that the government does not catch us on any grounds,” Varun said.

According to guidelines for submitting a PhD thesis, a student needs to publish a research article in a peer-reviewed journal, according to the University Grants Commission (UGC) gazette notification No. F1-2/2009 (EC/PS) V(1) Vol. 11.

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Kumar recently submitted his thesis in JNU, which he had completed under the guidance of Left-leaning professor SN Malakar in the Centre for African Studies, School of International Studies (SIS). Titled ‘The Process of Decolonisation and Social Transformation in South Africa’, the article was published in June this year in IJHEPS.

IJHEPS was listed among predatory journals in 2014 by Beall’s List, a report which was being regularly updated by Jeffrey Beall of the University of Colorado until January 2017 and is among the trusted sources on predatory journals. Predatory open-access publishing is a business model which involves charging publication fees from authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals.

IJHEPS also resorted to changing tack to escape the stigma and continue working after it was blacklisted on Beall’s List and the Iran government. It added ‘research’ to its name. It now operates as International Research Journal of Humanities, Engineering and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

But a MyNation search found that both the organisations have the same digital footprint as well as registration numbers. The old version of the journal, as listed in both Beall’s List and Iran’s blacklist, and the new avatar share the same International Standard Serial Number (ISSN 2249-2569).  

On the UGC list of approved journals, both the old blacklisted and the new entity share the same (ISSN 2249-2569) and the journal URL is the same for the two.

The owner of the journal, however, denied getting paid in lieu of publishing articles and denied charges of being predatory. “We were blacklisted as different countries have different academic norms. We are listed legitimately with UGC,” said Shashank Tiwari. On being asked why he changed the name after the journal appeared on Beall’s List, Tiwari said it was a printing error.

Moreover, the website of the concerned journal is in such a shape that one of the persons listed under ‘Contact Us’ tab had left the organisation long back and yet his contact details are up there. “I have left the organisation and I cannot comment on anything,” said Manish Yadav when contacted.