Bogus Open Access Publishers and Their Academic Scam

In the last few years, we have seen growing numbers of scholarly open access publishers. Some of them are bogus and they have managed to attract academics into publishing with them. Invitation for submission of papers normally comes via unsolicited bulk emails. Unsuspecting researchers from developing countries are their easy target. It is probably due to the fact that publication has become one of the main performance indicators for academics. The race for university ranking, the need to produce research publications for promotion, and the urge to publish in prestigious and high impact journals have somehow encouraged the growth of new journals. It normally takes years for a journal to gain prestige and recognition. Researchers usually know best the prime journals in their subject fields. However it is not easy to publish in these journals. Therefore the open access scholarly communication has now provided an alternative way for aspiring researchers to get published. Some are genuine but many so called predatory publishers with substandard, dubious, bogus journals have emerged. They know for the fact that academics must publish or perish in the academic world and unscrupulous access publishers take advantage of the situation.

The worst kind of these publishers are those using legitimate journal titles with actual ISSN.  They are bold enough to claim that their publications are indexed in Web of Science or Scopus. Some even claim that they have impact factors. Journals that managed to lure our research community include Pensee and Wulfenia. It is not easy to differentiate between authentic and fake or hijacked journals unless we are familiar with the publication practices and ethics. Many of our academics have been tricked into sending their articles to these unscrupulous publishers. So researchers please beware!

fake{ Does this look familiar? , I could not open the link anymore can you? }


{The orignal La Pensee, , the original La Pensee is in French with summary in English }

At present the only widely used reference for potentially probable predatory list of journals and publishers in the academic world has been the one maintained by a Librarian at the University of Colorodo. It is the work of a person who has been involved deeply into scholarly communication using his blog to reach to the outside world. However, Beall’s lists have also been a target of attack not only by the affected publishers but also the affected researchers.Although there are currently four publishers being blacklisted by the Ministry of Education, there are actually hundreds of them polluting the scholarly world. They survive due to the supports and demands they got from unsuspecting researchers who sometimes have to part with cash.  Who then has the expertise or authority to validate open access publishers? It is only the passion and interest of some individuals or researchers who have helped to alert the research community. But still some affected researchers or publishers may be defensive of their choices.

Nevertheless the information provided in Beall’s lists has opened up the mind of many researchers to make informed decision on where not to publish.  Details may be found at;;;  or ask your librarian.


Nur’ Aini Abu Bakar,
Head, Research Support and Archieve Division

Mobile Technology and Flipping Book: New Marketing Trends in IIUM Library

In the era of internet and digital revolutions, it is challenging for libraries to choose mediums to promote services to support learning, teaching and research. Digital and social developments are changing the expectations and demands of users on the traditional library. One of the interesting digital developments was the trend of mobile tagging through the use of the QR codes which enables users to access digital contents on their mobile devices. Another trend is the use of the flipping book technology which is being used increasingly by many libraries worldwide.

Example of a QR Code

The IIUM Library has adopted these trends for its Muslim Scholar’s profile collection. The collection consists of 168 Muslim Scholars profile in 23” x 15” printed poster format exhibited at the Islamic Intellectual Heritage Gallery at level 2 of the library building. The profile contains the biography and contributions of the various scholarsin the Malay Archipelago. It is an essential reference for research in Islamic history and civilization. However, access to this valuable information is limited as it is available in printed format only. The project to digitize the collection was established to increase awareness among users, researchers and external members to the collection.

QR code is Quick Response or 2D bar code that can be read by downloadable smart phone readers with camera-scanning capabilities. The information encoded in the code may be text, a URL and other data.To resolve the difficulties in reading information in the printed posters due to their location which is higher than eye level, QR codes are pasted to each of the Muslim Scholar profile posters.  Each QR code represents unique information on individual scholar.  Users need to download the QR reader software which is available free to their smart phone and activate their IIUM Wi-Fi.  When the code is scanned with the QR reader, the search will reveal a link that redirects to the Muslim Scholars profile.

Use of the QR Code

Flipping book, on the other hand, is a form of an electronic book consisting of text, images, or both, readable on computers or other electronic devices. Flipping book is specifically a book with a series of pictures that vary gradually from one page to the next, so that when the pages are turned rapidly, the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion or some other change. The technology provides readers a realistic and enjoyable experience as though they are actually looking and flipping a hard copy newspaper or book.

Workflow in digitizing to Flipping Book

IIUM Library started the digitization project of Muslim Scholars profile in July 2013. Each flipping book contains 8 profiles and there are a total of 21 digital books available for the 168 posters.The workflow in digitizing the Muslim Scholars profile collection can be seen in the enclosed picture. However, the full-text information can be accessed via intranet within campus only due to copyright issues.  Access is via the Kiosk at Islamic Intellectual Heritage area, level 2 and the Library Homepage ( ).

Islamic Intellectual Heritage Gallery

Since the activation of the flipping book system from September 2013 until February 2014, the number of users accessing the system has risen from 35 users per day to 168 users per day. The Library believes that this figure will continue to increase with the promotional activities conducted via various channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, library’s website, email, posters, etc. A Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted also indicated a large percentage of the respondents believed that the service is user friendly, fast and accurate.

The IIUM Library’s initiative in implementing the new marketing tools through QR codes and flipping book has successfully achieved its target to provide a personalized library services to users. The Library users, mostly from Gen-Y, are more interested to access the library resources via their mobile phone. IIUM Library is always striving towards excellence in delivering services to its users. The Library through its continuous development efforts constantly looks at new and creative means to ensure its services and facilities are in sync with the latest trend in technology to delight its customers.

Upgrading of the Multimedia & Special Collections Service in IIUM Library

Other than books, journals and other printed resources, the Library also provides collections in multimedia formats in a special area called the Multimedia & Special Collection. The collection and counter service can be found on level 3 of the Main Library. The collection includes different formats of media including video tapes (VHS), DVDs, laserdiscs, CD-ROMs, CDs and audio cassettes. Special collections include IIUM theses, faculty publications, restricted books, microfilm, microfiche and maps. The counter service includes lending of the auditorium, multi-purpose room, viewing rooms and computer labs for teaching and training purposes.


In 2013, the Library embarked on a project to upgrade the multimedia services. Among others, the objectives are to increase and encourage more usage, to ease the process of searching and to have a new look to an old service. Added to the project are upgrading the viewing rooms with new televisions and a comfortable sitting area in-front of the counter. The project completed in July 2013 and on 9th September 2013 and the service which is now referred to as the Browse-able Multimedia Collection and is already operational. The project completed in July 2013 and on 9th September 2013, the service which is now referred to as the Browse-able Multimedia Collection was officially launched.

Customers can now enter the service area to browse and search for the multimedia items that they need. They can also straight away use the items at the location. Customers are also now more aware of the collections within such as the maps. As an added bonus, the new system has a built-in database of new/unknown CD collections which are just waiting to be found through casual browsing by the user. As an added bonus, the new improvement ensures new/unknown CD titles are found through casual browsing by the user. Another facility is the Browse-able Thesis Collection which has proven to be a hit among postgraduates and researchers.


Other than the physical changes, the service is also introducing another update which is the Online Reservation of Library Facilities. Customers, especially lecturers who want to use library venues as classes no longer need to come to the counter to do their booking. They can do so online through the Library Homepage from the comfort of their offices.

Reservation of Facilities

The Library is always looking for ways to upgrade its library services, collection and facilities. Even though budget is always tight every year, frequent improvement needs to be done so that IIUM Library continues to offer the best facility, convenience and comfort so that student, staff and researcher productivity continue to be on the rise.


Every year many students, new or returning, make their way to the campus.  One of the most popular spots for studying, relaxing, and using the computers is the library.  Most importantly, the library is here to help customers with their academic needs in any way it knows best. However, when you come to the Library, it can sometimes be confusing to know which locations to go to or what a certain collection is for. Don’t worry, help is here!

Upon entering the library, there are two main counters that are staffed throughout the opening hours to help you with your library needs.

  • The Circulation Counter – handles membership, circulation transaction, fines, inter-library loan, facilities, etc.
  • The Readers’ Advisory Desk, a smaller pink and brown desk – helps with reference inquiries by library customers.

There are other counters too namely: Law Information Desk (helps customers at level 1 particularly information on law); Multimedia Counter (helps with multimedia collection at level 3) and Serials Counter at level 4.

The counters assist library customers through its reference service. Now what is “Reference Service”? It is one of the library’s primary practices to provide rich and relevant services and resources to its customers. Therefore, the function of reference service is to direct customers to these services or resources through many initiatives. Among those are readers’ advisory assistance through direct face-to-face interaction or using telecommunication mediums, dissemination of information in anticipation of user needs or interests, directories or guides and many more.

In the IIUM Library’s 2008 Customer Satisfaction Survey, the assistance at Readers’ Advisory Desk was rated among the highest performance under “Services” category. Apart from the survey, the statistics of reference enquiries compiled showed that the number of questions asked at the Desk rose from 10,262 in 2009 to 11,838 in 2010.  The statistics are used as a basis for review of the service. For instance, previously there were 4 information counters, one at each floor.  The numbers have been reduced to only two (one each at level 1 and 2) in order to avoid confusion on the functionality of the different counters. The new location which is conveniently located near the library entrance has given an impact to its visibility, proximity and identification of the Reference Service.

Need more help? Contact us via homepage at, call us at 03-61964815 or be our friend through The Official IIUM Library Facebook, . We are always here for you!


Saabihah Mohd Salleh
Senior Librarian

The Many Functions of the Online Catalogue


Life is about making choices. Goods or products are normally presented to target customers in catalogs. Take for instance AVON and COSWAY. These well known brands regularly release their colorful and attractive catalogs to market their products to enable potential buyers to choose from. The same goes to a library. Catalog is very important to attract users to come and take benefit from a library. This article is about the IIUM library’s online catalog or better known as OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog); and how it can satisfy your desire to choose the best out of some 800,000 items in the collection to suit your working or learning needs.

To a large academic library like IIUM, a catalog is mandatory in order to survive because the collection is too large for a librarian to remember. In contrary to product catalogs, library catalogs simply mean “a set of bibliographic records that represent the holdings of a particular collection, arranged according to some definite plan.” Traditionally, library catalogs are only for the purpose of finding books and helping users in making choices. From the management perspective, library catalog serves as an inventory of assets acquired using the University’s budget. However, library catalogs of today or at least the IIUM’s have evolved tremendously from its card catalog days to the online version.

The IIUM library catalog is accessible at or you can go the library’s website at and select Library Catalogue. Gone were the days where you need to physically come to the library to search for library items and using the card catalogs where there were only four approaches: author, title, subject or call number. Today’s OPAC has gone through so many changes with increased functionality and accessibility. Now you can search for items/books, check your account details and also do renewal and reservation of borrowed books; even from the comfort of your home or office.

Firstly, searching for items/books’ capability. Our OPAC actually have more options than the users realized. For example they can use the quick or advance catalogue search to find library items. Quick search simply means general or keyword search. More search options is available in advance search. You can also limit your search by language, item format, item type or year of publication. On top of getting to see the images of your identified books, you can also get link to table of contents (TOC) and summary of the books. It also supports the link to full text images of over ten thousands titles of electronic books. In the near future, if budget permits, users would be able to flip open the book image itself to check the TOC, the front and back information for that particular item.

Secondly, checking borrowers account. If you want to know the status of your loan, just login to your account using Library Barcode and PIN to get the status of your library account. You can view loans due date, check fines, update PIN and many more including editing your account and updating your address.

Lastly, renewal and reservation of borrowed books. Through this important feature, the library has indeed empowered its users to do these on their own, hassle free. However, online renewal is possible only as long as the items are not yet overdue. As for reservation, you can reserve a book which is out on loan to ensure you will get the item when it is returned.

Some other things that you can get on the OPAC are “New book list” and “Check your shelf number.” New book list tells users of new titles added into the collection. The list is available by branches, i.e, Gombak, Kuantan ISTAC, IIiBF, CFS PJ and Nilai. “Check your shelf number” shows the directory of shelf to find where an identified call number is located on a specific shelf.


Indeed the online library catalogue is very user friendly and easy to use. One can definitely use it without formally learning how to use it. Basic search is good enough. However, should you need to conduct more efficient and effective searches; our library staff is for ever ready to assist you.

Hana Imam Supa’at
Head of CFS Library Branch, Petaling Jaya

Have You Tried Remote Accessing?

People come to the library for many different reasons. Some come to study. Some come to look for reading materials for their research. Some come for the comfort of the relaxed environment that the library offers. Some just come to use the facilities and the services that the library has like the computers, daily newspapers, television channels and so on.

To those who are really studious, the library is THE place which they couldn’t live without. They will religiously come to the library during all the free time they have. They will use all the collections, services and facilities that the library offers. Some library customers believe that the library collections are only the printed books, journals and multimedia materials. They are oblivious that their research could go beyond the physical resources that the library owns. Therefore, without the library they are at a lost as to where to look for materials for their study and research. What happen if the library is closed? How can they access the library collection? The answer is simple – remote access.

The non-print library resources, other than multimedia, can be obtained online or digitally. Among the resources are the online databases, the digital library collection, e-books, e-journals and so on. These collections could be accessed through the library homepage either within the library, within the campus or out of campus (remotely).

How can you access the online collections, mainly the online databases, remotely? You can do so by performing two steps. First, register your borrower ID and password at the library homepage by clicking at “New User Sign Up” under the “My Digital Account”. Second, configure the web browser of your personal computer or laptop. The instruction is available in the library homepage at ( ) or you can get the printed brochure from the Reader’s Advisory Desk. Basically, what you need to do is to enter the proxy address of the library homepage to your computer’s LAN setting. By doing so, the online databases’ providers will allow you to access their databases as they know you are a customer of the IIUM Library.

Lib Websites

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Give it a try today and you will find that it is easy to access the library remotely. You will also discover that even if the library is close at night or during the weekends, you can still do your information search for your assignments or thesis. If you encounter any problems, just contact your liaison librarians or the Reader’s Advisory Desk.

Yusrina Abu Bakar,
Head of Quality and Coporate Communication Section.


From year to year, the IIUM Library has achieved more than 95% on customer satisfaction to the information literacy (IL) workshops conducted. Similarly, the same achievement is stated for the fulfillment of the request for IL workshop.

Simply put, Information Literacy is a set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze and use of information. It is true that in this century, just about anybody can find just about anything they need by using the internet or by referring to sets of books. However, researchers without proper knowledge on how to look for information will just go round and round sifting the multitude of information they get. This might in the end cause headache and frustration to the researchers.

Due to the above, IL classes taught by the librarians are necessary to any university students. This strong foundation and skill which they gained and practiced will eventually turn them into independent lifelong learners. As the American Library Association Presidential Committee on Information Literacy (January 10, 1989, Washington, D.C.) says “Ultimately, information literate people are those who have learned how to learn. They know how to learn because they know how knowledge is organized, how to find information and how to use information in such a way that others can learn from them. They are people prepared for lifelong learning, because they can always find the information needed for any task or decision at hand.”

In IIUM Library, IL classes began back in the early years of establishment with librarians teaching basic information on using the Library Catalogue/OPAC and other library services and resources.  In 2003, a more formal and structured module was introduced into LE4000 (English for Academic Purposes), a course under CELPAD. This collaborative effort with CELPAD saw the development of the module by taking into account all the comments and suggestions put up by the participants of the class and those teaching the module.


As it so happens too, LE4000 is taken by students in their third or final year of study. Based on the evaluation which the participants filled in after the class, they suggested that the IL class is introduced in the first year of study. Therefore, beginning 2008, the liaison librarians began approaching the Kulliyyah with proposals to introduce an IL session into the first year classes. The proposal was accepted enthusiastically by all the Kulliyyah. Some Kulliyyah incorporate the module designed into a Research Methodology class and some set up a zero credit hour course for the library’s IL class.

Other than classes for the first year, liaison librarians also work hand in hand with lecturers teaching Research Methodology subjects and other specific subjects, either for the undergraduates or the postgraduates. Some lecturers have placed great value for the IL classes that some request for extension of the module. This means that the module is extended from one session to three or four sessions, complete with quizzes and exercises.

Contents of the IL classes among others include knowledge on searching techniques, understanding of citation, and instruction on how to use the Library Catalogue/OPAC, how to use the online databases to look for articles, cases, law acts, thesis, newspaper articles, treaties, etc. and where to look for authentic internet and open access resources. Other than that, the modules introduce the library’s own resources by understanding the arrangement of resources in the library, the library’s digital services, how to look for books on the shelves and many more.

Reports on IL show that the IL classes conducted by the liaison librarians have positive impact to the knowledge and information retrieval skills of the users. Participants agreed that the classes were beneficial for their study and research needs. As for IIUM Library, particularly the liaison librarians, teaching has been another job which is seriously shouldered in nurturing the intellectual minds of IIUM.


Yusrina Abu Bakar,
Head of Quality and Coporate Communication Section.


Library customers visit the library for different reasons. Some come to look for books and journals, either to read or to borrow them. Some come to study and do research, either alone or in a group. Others come to have discussions or meetings in the library. People also come to use the free services and facilities offered by the library.

In the past, traditionally, it is expected everyone to be quiet when they enter a library. You will also see librarians or library assistants walking around to ensure that people do not talk loudly in the library. Those who come to the library also expect it to be a quiet place where they can study in peace.

As time goes by, study habits also change. Now people want to discuss in the library. Some even expect that food also allowed to be brought in the library. Others hope the library to open 24 hours a day.

For the IIUM Library, it tries to fulfil all the different study styles of its customers.  The library has created two study zones that are clearly marked with appropriate signs. The Silent Study Zones is an area where silence must be observed so as not to distract or disturb individuals who want to study in silence. For those in a study group mode, the library has set up the Group Study Zone that allows a certain degree of audible group discussion.


The library has also established an area called Learning Common for students to meet and discuss. The areas selected are equipped with a raised floor and furnished with “Japanese tables” and mounted glass board for scribbling of discussion notes. The area is becoming a hit with the library customers.


It is the responsibility of all library customers to select the study area that best fits their study style so as not to disturb or be disturbed by others. The IIUM Library continues to strive to fulfil the expectations of its customers given the nature of how information and knowledge are now stored, accessed and updated electronically. It also strives to change in line with the rapid change of the learning and study styles of its customers.

Yusrina Abu Bakar,
Head of Quality and Coporate Communication Section.

The Use of Social Media in IIUM Library

Years after the millennium see the shift of website displays from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0. Web 2.0 refers to the use of technology that goes beyond portraying and viewing of information to a more interactive feedback to the information provided. This is made possible by the provision of networking web sites like Facebook (FB), Twitter, wikis, Youtube, video sharing, web applications, blogs and many more within the organisations’ web pages. These mediums, known as Social Media, act as the instrument of communication between the website providers and their users or viewers; and also communication medium between the users. For the IIUM library, the social media provides more opportunity to reach its customers, promote its services, and give its customers chances to interact with the Library and each other in a more direct and informal manner.

IIUM Library’s rendezvous with social media starts with the use of Facebook in March 2010. To date the FB page which is famously known as “The Official IIUM Library” has attracted more than 9,400 “friends”. The friends comprise of the current IIUM students, staff, lecturers, alumni and also the public who are interested in IIUM Library and the information that are provided within the FB Page. Since its inception, The Official IIUM Library FB has updated its friends with news about the Library and also on any valuable information which are deemed valuable for research.


The Library’s social media is maintained by the Library’s Publication and Promotion Committee. The Committee’s five members take turns on a weekly basis to update and answer any enquiries within the FB Page. In middle of 2013, the IIUM Web Steering Committee requested that all agencies in IIUM, be it Kulliyyah, Divisions, Centres, etc., to come up with at least four social media within their homepages. Due to that, the Publication and Promotion Committee had a long deliberation on which social media to be adopted by the Library. The factors considered are the usability, attractiveness to customers and ease of maintenance. Due to this, the Committee has added three more social media, namely Twitter, Instagram and Blog to the existing Facebook. All of these media can be accessed through the Library Homepage and the Library Research Gateway page.

Twitter is chosen on the basis that not everybody prefers or has an FB account. To customers without FB account, they can interact with the Library using their Twitter account. Similar to FB, the Library’s Twitter which is known as IIUM Library @LibIIUM, provides library customers with updates on the Library services and anything that has to do with research. Since it was set up in middle of July 2013, it has caught the attention of 73 “followers”. The Committee hopes to attract more followers once extensive promotion is done on the existence of the Twitter page.


Instagram is an excellent medium to those who prefer information in a pictorial format. The Library has been using Instagram since end of July 2013 to pose pictures of the library and the services, facilities and collection it has. To date the Library’s Instagram, known as IIUM_Library, has more than 50 “followers”. In the future, the Library will put up pictures on upcoming events, behind the scene photos, library customers, visitors and many more on Instagram.


The IIUM Library Blog is a space where the Library can place more information in an article format for the reading pleasure of its readers. Readers on the other hand can raise questions and comments to the articles to ensure better understanding on the subject matter. The blog also provides links to other research sites that are deemed valuable to be shared to all. The blog was set up in early of October and the Publication and Promotion Committee is still in the learning stage on how to properly handle a blog. It is hope that as time goes by, the blog will capture the attention of the library customers and be highly valued by them.


The use of Social Media by IIUM Library has helped it tremendously in marketing its services, facilities and collections. Other than that, it has helped to overcome problems since library customers are now more direct and sincere in notifying the library of their satisfaction and dissatisfaction on anything related to the library. To the IIUM Library, Social Media has definitely helped it to be more humane in its offer of services and over time it is hope that library and customers will work together in “building” a better library for the benefit of current and future generations of IIUM Library customers.


Yusrina Abu Bakar,
Head of Quality and Coporate Communication Section.


“The backbone of any institution of higher learning must be its library” – Istac Illuminated.

The above statement is a well-said one to sum up the position of ISTAC library, now officially known as Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Library (SMNA Library). The naming ceremony on 22 May 2012 recognized the effort of the prominent philosopher and scholar who, as Director-General of ISTAC from 1987-2002, started the library collection in 1987.


SMNA Library is situated at Taman Duta, in the middle of the architectural wonder that is ISTAC, perched at the hillside amidst tree-shaded area where the sound of fountain water and birdsongs mixed harmoniously to transport visitors to Alhambra-like experience. The entrance to the library is accessible through the courtyard where a fountain stands, which in Islamic architectural philosophy signifies heart as the reservoir of serene contemplation.



The collection of SMNA Library is special on its own. Besides general collection, it houses rare books and manuscripts in various languages from important Islamic civilizations such as Arabic and Persian. The collections dated as far back as 1197 A.D. The oldest manuscript is Kitab al-Tafhim li Awa’il Sina’at al-Tanjim (Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology) by Abu al-Rayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni in Persian language.

Important rare books include translation of Qur’an in Latin language, with preface by the Christian reformer Martin Luther. It was the first attempt at Qur’an translation by Christians, and printed in 1543 A.D. in Basel, after much opposition that includes imprisonment, seizure and removal from office of those involved.

From the Malay world, SMNA Library has a lithograph copy of Hikayat ‘Abd Allah by ‘Abd Allah bin ‘Abdul Kadir Munsyi, printed in Singapore in 1849 A.D. Another rare copy is Hikayat Binatang, also by similar author, printed a few years before the aforementioned Hikayat in 1846 A.D.


                Apart from ordinary rules applied to other IIUM Libraries in Gombak, PJ and Kuantan, SMNA Library is somewhat different in that its services are provided only to postgraduates in pursuance of Master’s and Doctoral degrees. Undergraduates and outsiders who need to use the library collection must apply in writing with good reasons, supported by lecturers or organizations they represent.

For library members who need to consult special collections, including rare books and manuscripts, they may do so by filling certain forms at the library’s Information Counter. The condition of the materials will determine the availability of the original to be consulted by the requestor.

The SMNA welcomes all researchers on Islamic civilizations to make full use of the valuable and rare collections within.

By :
Najibah Bt. Abu Bakar,
Librarian, Syed Muhammad Naquib al-Attas Library, ISTAC.