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Predatory publishers are open access journals that operate with the sole goal of making money. They inflate their impact, hide their processes, and promise quick peer review and publishing times - hoping to appeal to scholars. These publishers do not care about the quality of the work they published, they just want to get paid. If you are ever unsure if a journal is predatory, just ask your friendly local librarian!
Cabells Scholarly Analytics
This Library database includes a Whitelist of over 11,000 "safe" academic journals as well as an ever growing Blacklist of predatory journals. Specialists use over 60 behavioral indicators to determine which list a journal belongs on.
Predatory Publishing vs Fake News
Fake news tends to rely on clicks and shares to generate revenue through ads. Predatory publishing generates revenue by scamming researches and scholars. Many predatory publishers disguise themselves as reputable scholarly journals but then charge the author fees to publish their work. Their only goal is to make money, they do not care about the quality of work published.
Avoiding Predatory Publishing
Many scholars, including university professors, are required to conduct and publish research as part of their jobs. Getting published in a scholarly journal is a tedious, time consuming process. Predatory publishers make claims promising quick publications and are very aggressive in pursuing scholars. They often have official sounding names, a list of (fake) editors, and high (fake) impact scores that make it difficult for many to catch on to their predatory nature.
Here are some warning signs:
- Unclear focus: i.e. ABC Journal of Advanced Research - this title tells us nothing about its subject area.
- The journal's scope of interest includes unrelated subjects alongside legitimate topics.
- Website contains spelling and grammar errors
- Images or logos are distorted/fuzzy or misrepresented/unauthorized.
- Website targets authors, not readers (i.e. publisher prioritizes making money over product).
- The Index Copernicus Value (a bogus impact metric) is promoted. Look for the Thomson Reuters Impact instead.
- The same article appears in more than one journal.
- Authors are published several times in the same journal or issue.
- Founder and/or editor is the same for all journals published by one company.
- There is no clear description of how the manuscript is handled.
- Manuscripts are submitted by email.
- Contact email address is non-professional and non-journal/publisher affiliated (e.g., @gmail.com, or @yahoo.com)
- The journal's website does not list a physical address or gives a fake address.
- Rapid publication is promoted and promised.
- There is no article retraction policy.
- There is no digital preservation policy.
- A journal that claims to be open access either retains copyright of published research, fails to mention copyright, or does not make all articles openly available.
Phony vs. Legit
(Infographic from the University of West Indies)