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Faculty Resources

Predatory Publishers

What are Predatory Publishers?

According to Berger & Cirasella (2015), predatory journals are open access [or print] "journals that exist for the sole purpose of profit, not the dissemination of high-quality research findings and furtherance of knowledge. These predators generate profits by charging author fees, also known as article processing charges (APCs), that far exceed the cost of running their low-quality, fly-by-night operations."

Source: Berger, M., & Cirasella, J. (2015). Beyond Beall's list. College & Research Libraries News, 76(3), 132-135. Available from http://clrn.acrl.org

The above video is from an April 5, 2016 AACSB session on "Deceptive & Predatory Journals." (Time: 1.26.40)

Session panel includes industry experts Jeffery Beall (University of Colorado), Rick Anderson (University of Utah), Simon Linacre (Emerald Group Publishing), Wim Meester (Elevier), and Kathleen Berryman (Cabell's International) who explore the latest movements in scholarly communication in combating predatory publishing.

Cabell's International Directories is considered the authority for predatory journals since Jeffrey Beall's blog is no longer available.  You may search Cabell's Whitelist or their Blacklist for confirmation of journal validity.  Also available are journals by discipline and a variety of journal impact metrics.

Ulrich’sWeb Global Serials Directory lists over 300,000 journals that are daily overseen by a team of editors to maintain the knowledgebase to keep title information accurate and to educate publishers and providers.   Each journal shows whether it is peer-reviewed, refereed, or an academic/scholarly journal.

EBSCO's Serials Directory verifies that all publishers, journals, and additional content types are legitimate. Predatory publishing is an area that  EBSCO always looks into seriously before including new publishers.

Worldcat.org lists how many libraries own a journal

  • EBSCO      Yes, verified with library's representative in 2017. 
  • ProQuest   Yes, verified with library's representative in 2017.
  • Emerald     Yes, verified with Library's representative in 2017.
  • JSTOR       Yes, verified with Library's representative in 2017.

Many Open Access journals freely available on the Internet are indexed in library databases and may be trusted.  For example, journal titles that are part of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or the Freely Available Journals are available through library databases and may be trusted.

Neither Google nor Google Scholar provide a way to filter predatory journal titles from journals published through legitimate publishers or Open Access sources.

Recent Additions:

  • Basken, P. (2017, September 17). Why Beall's list died... and what it left unresolved about open access. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/section/Publishing/12
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Publishing Considerations

Kent Anderson in the Open Access Publishing Toolkit outlines common problems among predatory journals (York University Libraries. Open Access Publishing Toolkit):

  1. Articles published without complete author approval.
  2. Articles published before payment terms were either understood or completed.
  3. Articles published with payment terms incomplete but then negotiated, forcing authors into an uncomfortable position.
  4. An editorial process that created more problems than it solved, with errors introduced during proof-reading, and authors “tearing their hair out” because of it.
  5. Papers published without peer-review.

Source: York University Libraries. (2015), Open Access Publishing Toolkit.  Available from http://researchguides.library.yorku.ca/content.php?pid=258206&sid=2131076

  1. Is the journal profile on Cabell's Directories positive?
  2. Is there evidence of peer-review and clear editorial process?
  3. Is it clear what fees will be charged?
  4. Transparency > look hard at the website (Wicherts, J. M.)

a) Can you contact the publisher by telephone, e-mail and post?

b) Aims, scope, and expected readership of the journal are clearly specified on the journal website

c) Criteria used by reviewers to rate submissions and types of submissions posted

d) The website indicates whether all submissions are sent out for review and who will make final decisions about them

e) The website provides targeted duration of the peer-review process

f)  Authors will be updated concerning the status of submissions (e.g., under review)

g)  Journal discloses the past (yearly) number of submissions, publications, and rejection rates 

h) Journal's website highlights issues of publication ethics, copyright, conflicts of interest, and  publication fees 

  i) Published papers include information on dates of original submission and acceptance  
 
  j) Website allows ratings of papers and post-publication commentaries by the community
 
  k) Reviewer’s comments and editorial correspondence are published alongside papers
 
  l) The names and affiliations of members of the editorial board are listed on the website
 
  m) The role of members of the editorial board is explicated on the website
 
  n) The journal has clear guidelines concerning sharing and availability of research data

Sources:

  • Dobson, H., (2016). Think.Check.Submit: The campaign helping researchers navigate the scholarly communication landscape. Insights. 29(3), pp.228–232. DOI: http://doi.org/10.1629/uksg.323
  • Reynolds, R. R. (2016, November 1). The predatory publishing phenomenon: Dead end or just an inconvenience ont he road to new scholarly publishing landscape. Insights
  • Wicherts, J. M. (2016). Peer review quality and transparency of the peer review process in open access and subscription journals. PLoS One (11(1): doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147913
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