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Scholarly Communication: Predatory Publishers

This guide will outline what scholarly communication is and its relation to Open Access

Predatory Publishers

“Predatory open-access publishers are those that unprofessionally exploit the gold open-access model for their own profit.  That is to say, they operate as scholarly vanity presses and publish articles in exchange for the author fee.  They are characterized by various levels of deception and lack of transparency in their operations.” - Jeffrey Beall, On Predatory Publishers, Chronicle of Higher Education.

With the explosion of online publishing and the increasing use of the author pay business model, predatory publishers are becoming more common.  When you are evaluating a journal to determine if you article is a good fit for the publication, don’t forget to spend some time evaluating the publisher.  Similarly, if you are invited to submit to a journal or to become an editorial board member, be sure to critically evaluate the publisher’s legitimacy.

How to Avoid Predatory Publishers

First see if the journal is listed in DOAJ. This isn't a guarantee that the OA journal is not predatory but it is a good indicator. You can also check to see if the publisher is a member of COPE or OASPA.

Analyze the journal to look for any predatory publisher indicators such as:

  • Receiving an unsolicited email, little or no contact info given,
  • Grammar errors in the text, false or misleading metrics given,
  • Scope of journal is extremely broad or inappropriate,
  • Promised turnaround time for peer review is very short,
  • Information about fees or Author Processing Charges is not clearly laid out

Collections & Acquisitions Librarian

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Heather Empey
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