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Scholarly Communications Guide for Faculty: Predatory Publishers

Resources to help you with writing and publishing your scholarship

How to Recognize Predatory Journals and Conferences (from Monica Berger at City Tech)

How do I avoid predatory publishers?

[From Queensborough Community College Library]

Check the publisher and journal on the predatory publishing lists linked to on this guide. 

Contact your department's Library Liaison for a second (or first) opinion about the authenticity of a publisher or journal. We're happy to help faculty identify reliable, quality scholarly publishing venues. 

Use the following checklist, provided by Declan Butler in Nature, as a guide for assessing publishers and journals:

How to perform due diligence before submitting to a journal or publisher.

  • Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including address, on the journal site. Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.

  • Check that a journal's editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. Contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.

  • Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.

  • Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members.

  • Read some of the journal's published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experience.

  • Check that a journal's peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct.

  • Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (www.oaspa.org). [Some questionable journals appear in directories such as DOAJ and Cabell's; we don't advise using this as your sole criteria.]

  • Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.

  • Or contact your Librarian! We're happy to help assess journals and publishers.


More checklists, indicators and rubrics to use in your evaluation:

Predatory Publishers: Things to watch out for

[From John Jay College of Criminal Justice LibGuide]

Solicitation and the publishing process

  • mass mailings of unsolicited invitations to contribute to a journal (these spam-like invitations shouldn't be confused with the emails received from the scholarly organizations you are a member of or with emails from the journal or publisher where your past work has appeared)
  • a strikingly quick turnaround from submission to publication
  • peer review process not explained and conducted in no time
  • no revisions required

Journal and publisher presentation

  • the title resembles the title of a well-known publication

  • the title suggests an overly broad or extremely vague scope (e.g., Galaxy: International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, British Journal of Science)

  • although the title specifies location ("European Journal...") the journal is located in another part of the world

  • the publisher's website include typos and grammatical errors; contradictory details about editorial policies, fees, etc.; dead links and no information about the publisher's physical address; a look and interface that mimics the design of a well-known publisher

Editors

  • the publisher is also the editor
  • the email address is a popular one (Gmail or Yahoo) or not listed at all ( web form only)
  • no information about editorial or advisory boards
  • a large number of published titles (especially for new presses)

CUNY Documentation and Resources

Red Flags

Red flags that may indicate a "predatory journal"

 

 

 

► Email invitation to submit, especially after presenting at a conference

 

► Advertises extremely fast time to publication

 

► No information or inaccurate information about editors and editorial board

 

► Contact only through online form, no direct email or street address

 

► "Indexed" only in search engines, rather than curated resources like subscription databases or Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

 

► Published articles don't adhere to stated scope of journal or scope is so broad as to include most topics

Think-Check-Submit (2-min vid with tips)

Think, Check, Submit!  There are reputable journals that are completely open or have open access options.  But there are other journals you should avoid.  Choose carefully.  Think before submitting your manuscript to an unfamiliar journal - - publishing in a predatory journal may damage your reputation. 

Beall's List

[From John Jay College of Criminal Justice LibGuide]

Beall's List of "potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers": Beall is a librarian at the University of Colorado who closely monitored the seedy side of open access publishing.  

NOTE: Beall's List website was taken down in January 2017 and is no longer being updated. There's been speculation as to why. Archived versions of the lists are available, including at:

Publishers: Archive.is | Archive.org
Standalone journals: Archive.is | Archive.org
Hijacked journals: Archive.is | Archive.org
Metric companies: Archive.is | Archive.org

From the original site: 

"This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. We recommend that scholars read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards.  The criteria for determining predatory publishers are here.

We hope that tenure and promotion committees can also decide for themselves how importantly or not to rate articles published in these journals in the context of their own institutional standards and/or geocultural locus.  We emphasize that journal publishers and journals change in their business and editorial practices over time. This list is kept up-to-date to the best extent possible but may not reflect sudden, unreported, or unknown enhancements."

OPEN ACCESS JOURNALS GENERALLY CONSIDERED REPUTABLE

[From John Jay College of Criminal Justice LibGuide]

This is a non-exhaustive list.  The economics of open access publishing are evolving; note that article processing charges are not unique to open access publishing - reputable biomedical titles in particular have long used them for subscription journals.  Long-established conventional journal publishers are expanding their reach into open access, with new titles, or moving old titles into open access, or hybrid titles with some articles open access and others behind a paywall.

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)  Well monitored and curated list of reputable peer-reviewed open access journals. 
  • Public Library of Science  Founded in 2000 by Patrick O. Brown, Harold E. Varmus, & Michael Eisen. Megajournal PLOS ONE accepts original research in all scientific disciplines, including interdisciplinary research, negative results and replication studies – all vital parts of the scientific record.
  • Elsevier's Open Access journals (Authors pay article processing charges, access is free to readers).  Heliyon is a completely open access megajournal from Elsevier that publishes robust research across all disciplines.
  • Springer's Open Access journals. (Authors pay article processing charges or their institutions pay membership fees, access is free to readers).
  • Wiley's Open Access journals.
  • Sage Open (megajournal) and other open access titles from Sage.
  • Nature Communications (megajournal) publishes high-quality papers from all areas of science that represent important advances within specific scientific disciplines, but that might not necessarily have the scientific reach of papers published in Nature and the Nature research journals.
  • Scientific Reports (megajournal) is an online, open access, unbranded journal from the publishers of Nature, which publishes primary research from all areas of the natural and clinical sciences.
  • CrossRef maintains a list of member journal titles for which it provides linking infrastructure services. The missionof this non-profit is "to enable easy identification and use of trustworthy electronic content".  It is known to remove journals of dubious reputation from membership and thus from the list, so presence of a title on this list may be useful positive indicator.

Cabell's

Cabell's Directories -- available at some CUNY libraries

[From Lehman College Library]

Use this database to search within your subject specialty for journals. You can find stats such as acceptance rate, journal impact factor, months to publication, submission processes and contact information

Read more about Predatory Publishing

About this page

Attribution for elements of the Predatory Publishers tab -- thanks to the following library LibGuides: John Jay College of Criminal Justice LibraryQueensborough Community College Library

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