The Lacuna Database sheds light on articles, journals and publishers that are often excluded by traditional scholarly indexing. By providing data, we hope to facilitate greater transparency and understanding of overlooked outputs and institutions in scholarly publishing.
A challenge with conducting research on new, peripheral, or predatory journals is that such publications are seldom included in major citation indices. Traditional indices—such as the Web of Science (WOS) or Scopus—are selective rather than exhaustive, and index only a small fraction of the world’s scholarly journals (roughly 20-30%). Indexed journals are typically selected on their citedness, thereby excluding journals that are peripheral due to language, topicality, geography, or recency. The Lacuna Database endeavors to provide curated metadata for journals and publishers otherwise omitted from major indexing systems.
The Lacuna Database does not make judgments about the merit or legitimacy - or lack thereof - of articles, journals or publishers included in the database. The Lacuna Database is not a “blocklist” or a “passlist”. Although some journals and publishers in the database may be perceived as illegitimate by some, such normative judgments are left to individuals. Our primary goal with constructing the Lacuna Database is to provide previously unavailable data to enable analyses of often overlooked publishers and journals. Our data contribution is filling the lacuna of journals lacking indexing and metadata, enabling further analysis by others. Currently, such data is unavailable for librarians, researchers, administrators, science policy makers who would benefit from such information being freely and publicly available.
The Lacuna Database is currently in Beta version. As the database develops, we plan to add more journals and publishers.
Kyle Siler is a visiting researcher at the École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information at the Université de Montréal. He is the Principal Investigator of a project supported by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation studying status and legitimacy in contemporary academic publishing.
Philippe Vincent-Lamarre is a researcher at the École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information at the Université de Montréal.
Vincent Larivière is professor of information science at the École de bibliothéconomie et des sciences de l’information of Université de Montréal. He is also the scientific director of the Érudit journal platform, which disseminates more than 170 academic journals in the social sciences and humanities, associate scientific director of the Observatoire des sciences et des technologies, and regular member of the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie.