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Researcher Resources for Publishing & Learning

What is Predatory Publishing?

An unfortunate response to the open access movement has been increased abuse of the OA author-pays model.  Predatory publishers contact scholars and students and encourage them to submit papers and proposals to journals or conferences that range from nonexistant to having less-than-rigorous publication standards. Not all OA submission requests are predatory; most scholars have encountered legitimate calls for papers. Ponder the example below, what points toward legit? What indicates it may be predatory?

Predatory or Legitimate?

If you're unsure if an invitation to publish or present your work is predatory or legitimate, you're not alone!  The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association's sixteen Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing are the most comprehensive test.

Here are some quick steps you can take to help determine the legitimacy:

  • Ask a Librarian!
    • We're happy to work with you to discuss the quality of journal or conference.
  • Check out the journal, conference, or association's webpage (Google it).
    • Does it provide detailed, well-organized and written  information about the scope, goals, and peer-review process?  Remember that scholarly journals and conferences are typically narrow in scope and will not accept a broad array of content.
  • Email the journal's editorial board members or conference organizers to ask specific questions about their process and experience with the journal. 
  • Pay special attention to listed fees. Fees are not necessary a sign of a predatory journal, but the fees should facilitate open access of the content.  If the fee is requested at the point of submission or the exact amount of the fee is not specified, be very skeptical. Do not submit until the exact amount of the fee has been agreed to.
  • Check the title in Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Ulrich's Periodicals Directory.
    • Note that even some titles in DOAJ have been accused of predatory practices.