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Predatory Publishers

Scholarly Communication Librarian

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Ellen Dubinsky

What is a Predatory Publisher?

Predatory or deceptive publishing are terms describing publishers or entities that exploit authors by charging publication fees (commonly known as article processing charges) yet don’t deliver on their promise of the editorial and publishing services (such as peer review) that are associated with legitimate publishers. Deceptive publishers typically prey on a researcher’s need to publish in order to get an academic appointment, gain promotion, or achieve tenure.

These publishers often engage in deceptive and unethical business practices and make false claims about a journal’s impact factor, indexing, high standards, and peer review.

Why You Should Avoid Predatory Journals

  • Your work may be subject to second-rate peer review
  • Your work work could disappear if the publisher goes out of business
  • Predatory journals are not usually indexed in academic databases, thus decreasing the readership and impact of your work
  • Predatory or deceptive journals may serve as an outlet for plagiarized material or fabricated results
  • The journal's bad reputation may be extended to the authors, their institutions, or even the entire field or discipline


Why Do Authors Publish in a Predatory Journal?

Authors generally don't want to be exploited by an online scam, but it can happen if an author is:

  • Unfamiliar with the journal’s field
  • New to research/publishing in general
  • Feels pressure to publish (for Tenure, Promotion, and Retention considerations)
  • Feels pressure to publish quickly