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Predatory Publishing: Getting Start(l)ed?

This guide aims to assist with Open Access publishing by helping to identify potential non-scholarly, for profit only publishing practices, also known as predatory publishing.

Definition of "Predatory Publishing"

Coined by Jeffrey Beall, a former librarian at the Auraria Library, University of Denver, the term "predatory publishing" refers to a questionable business practice of charging fees to authors to publish their articles without standard editorial and publishing services provided by legitimate scholarly journals. For updates, please see the Wikipedia entries Predatory open access publishing and Predatory conferences.

Should I Publish in This Journal?

This guide was created to help answer the following questions, upon receiving an invitation from a publisher:

  • Should I publish my article in a particular journal?
  • Should I pay article processing charges to publish in an Open Access journal?
  • Should I edit a special issue for a particular journal?
  • Should I accept the invitation to serve on the editorial board of a particular journal?
  • Should I accept the invitation to be a keynote speaker at a particular conference?

When in doubt, feel free to reach out to your subject specialist librarian at Rutgers University Libraries.

Predatory Publishers on the Rise

Jeffrey Beall's numbers of predatory publishers from 2011 to 2016 show a dramatic increase.

https://scholarlyoa.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/2016-publishers.jpg

 

 

Warning Signs / Red Flags

Flattering email to invite you to submit an article or serve on the editorial board of a "scholarly" journal

  • poor language with typos and awkward style 
  • vocabulary below industry standard with multisyllabic words
  • offer sounds too good to be true

Journal title 

  • sounds similar to a reputable publication (words are in different order or mixed from several other titles)
  • contains prestigious-sounding but potentially vague terms such as "advanced", "global","international", "universal", "world", "open",  (although these words are also used by reputable journals)
  • might be hijacked from a legitimate academic journal: a bogus website offers rapid publication for a fee 

Website with information on the journal, editorial board, and publisher

  • site looks amateurish and unprofessional (layout, typos, poor quality pictures, flashy ads, dead links, abundance of well known logos) 
  • multiple pages "under construction", including current and past issues, editorial board
  • missing, scarce, or contradictory information on "About Us" page (claiming a US address - check with Google Maps)
  • contact information is missing, incomplete, or leads to unavailable links
  • unclear or falsely claimed affiliation to scholarly associations or reputable organizations
  • same publisher publishes multiple journals with a broad scope and from different disciplines
  • editors and editorial board members are from all over the world and have no academic credentials (or are unaware that they are listed!)

Metrics and indexing

  • no ISSN, no DOI
  • invented or fake metrics (sounding similar to established metrics used by reputable journals)
  • Impact Factor can't be verified in Journal Citation Reports
  • falsely claimed to be indexed, e.g., in DOAJ
  • not listed in reputable sources such as Ulrich's Periodical Directory

Article processing and peer review

  • lack of clear instructions to authors
  • lack of transparency or policies about fees related to publishing 
  • article processing fees look below that of reputable open access journals 
  • peer review process is not clearly explained
  • peer review seems to be extremely fast (i.e., days) -  may be non-existent
  • articles are to be submitted via email (some predatory publishers use legitimate editorial manager systems - it doesn't make them legitimate)

Negative reputation

  • journal and/or publisher is already listed on Beall's list
  • listed on Cabell's Blacklist

What Are Predatory Publishers?

From University of Manitoba Libraries (1:18)

Common Features in Predatory Invitations

  • Awkward language
  • Copycat syndrome
  • False information
  • Flattering
  • Language is boastful, editorialized
  • Missing standards: ISSN, DOI, IF
  • New business
  • Overly polite, but clumsy
  • Persuasive
  • Promises
  • Urgency

See document below for more, including examples.

Science Librarian

Judit Ward's picture
Judit Ward
Contact:
Library Team Leader for SEBS/NJAES
Liaison to the Center of Alcohol Studies
Mabel Smith Douglass Library
8 Chapel Drive, New Brunswick, NJ 08901
848-445-3527
Website
Subjects:Alcohol Studies

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