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Predatory Publishers

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Recognizing Predatory Publishers

It isn't cut and dry to recognize a predatory publisher.  It requires that the author or researcher investigates the journal and publishers.  Some criteria to consider are:

  • Invitation comes by email from unknown source
    • A lot of the time the predatory publisher is responsible for a whole series of journals ; but there are also standalone predatory journals
    • Email comes from unknown source; may be labeled suspected junk mail
    • May mention that they saw your presentation at such and such a conference
  • Editor/Editorial board
    • Do you recognized any of the individuals involved? Qualifications? Do your research.  People listed as editors “Andrew Christopher” Reed Anglia U
    • Contact info sketchy – do they use gmail or Hotmail address
    • Any university or reputable scholarly association affiliation? Can the stated affiliation be verified?
    • Same editorial board for a number of journals
  • Website appearance and quality
    • Language, Professionalism, If there’s advertising, is it appropriate
    • Publisher’s name may be similar to legitimate publisher – Canadian Science Publishing (legit)  Canadian Science and Technology Press (not)
  • Peer review process and standards
    • Non-standard procedures
    • Length of time for acceptance (days or hours)
    • Requests handling or submission fees before acceptance of article
  • Journal title and content
    • Is the content reflective of the title and stated scope of the journal?
    • Titles may be similar to legitimate journals J of Social Issues and Humanities / Journal of Social Issues
      Titles may combine disciplines in unusual ways Int J of Arts and Commerce
    • Misleading titles – American or British or Canadian Journal of –would expect a national affiliation
  • Coverage in reputable citation databases (Web of Science, MLA International Bibliography, Sociological Abstracts, etc...)
    • Coverage in Google/Google Scholar, Researchgate, Academia. ed does not count
    • Even aggregated databases such as Ebscohost’s  contains some suspect material

Ultimately, it is your reputation at stake. Do you want your name associated a sketchy publisher?

If you are ever in doubt about a publisher, ask your liaison librarian for help.