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Predatory publishing: what it is and how to avoid it

There are currently approximately 28,000 journals publishing 1.5 million papers annually. Although the majority of new journals are legitimate, the credentials of some are questionable. Such journals and publishers are referred to as 'predatory'. They commonly send spam emails to potential authors, solicit submissions and request payment of article processing charges, but lack academic rigor or credibility.
This presentation provides researchers with
an insight into predatory behaviors and and how they can avoid them.

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Predatory publishing: what it is and how to avoid it

  1. 1. Scholarly Publishing Predatory Publishing: what is it and how to avoid it. October 2015 UQ Library Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Services CC Image courtesy of :
  2. 2. Scholarly Publishing Overview • Context: changes in scholarly communication • Predatory publishing: why, what, and how • Identifying the predators – avoiding the pitfalls • Tools for finding reputable journals
  3. 3. Scholarly Publishing Game Changer Context: changes in scholarly publishing eJournals Open Access Repositories Hyperlinked references Citation tracking Scholarly Blogs Twitter Social Media Open Access
  4. 4. Scholarly Publishing Rise of Open Access Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles, coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment (SPARC) More access means more potential for impact Not just those with a UQ Login!
  5. 5. Scholarly Publishing Context: Publish or perish Why publish? • Disseminate new knowledge • Increase the impact and visibility of your research • Establish/build your reputation • Be visible or vanish! 30 – 60% Rejection rate
  6. 6. Scholarly Publishing What is predatory publishing?
  7. 7. Scholarly Publishing • Sends spam invitations to students and academics • Editorial Board either non-existent or same person is named as Editor of multiple journals • Name of the journal does not reflect its origin (or does not reveal its location) • Name of journal is VERY broad (to attract more content) • Grammatical errors on website How to spot a predator: Questionable practices of predatory journals
  8. 8. Scholarly Publishing Questionable practices of predatory journals • Publishes pseudo-science articles • Launches with fleet of empty journals • No value-add services such as reference linking • Not indexed by genuine indexes such as Scopus or Web of Science • Misleading information about having an ‘impact factor’
  9. 9. Scholarly Publishing Examples of scam emails This is from Frontiers of Engineering Mechanics Research (FEMR). It is a great honor writing to you. We found a paper you published. It’s an excellent paper which is well matched with the Focus & Scope of FEMR. Title: Erratum: Theory of thin-film, narrowband, linear- polarization rejection filters with superlattice structure (Optics Communications (2006) 268:1 (182-188) DOI:10.1016/j.optcom.2006.07.006) To promote the communications in the area of engineering mechanics, we are now sending our earnest invitation for you to submit new paper to FEMR. If you are interested in it, please submit your paper online, Website: If you are interested in being our reviewer, please send us your CV (including your title, affiliation, department, research interests, qualification, email, etc.). We appreciate the cooperation with you and look forward you hearing from you in the near future. Sorry for any inconvenience caused. Best regards,
  10. 10. Scholarly Publishing Examples of journal websites
  11. 11. Scholarly Publishing
  12. 12. Scholarly Publishing Editorial board for each of its 36 journals is : “Chief Editor, Council for Innovative Research, United States.”
  13. 13. Scholarly Publishing ‘Sting’ operation exposes fake peer review
  14. 14. Scholarly Publishing Impact upon the Researcher • Longer term reputation sacrificed for immediate gains – no academic gain (no/poor quality peer review or academic rigor) • Permanent ? on your academic reputation • Even if your research is sound, it will likely be disregarded by the academic community if published in a predatory journal • Waste of your research funding – may be held accountable by your funding agency Authors want their work to be read and cited - publish in journals that you know authors in your discipline are reading!
  15. 15. Scholarly Publishing How to catch a predator and avoid publishing pitfalls Learn to identify and evaluate and select suitable publishing outlets
  16. 16. Scholarly Publishing Where to publish: journal evaluation. Identify list of peer-reviewed journal titles Ulrich's Access How will you make your publication available open access? UQ Open Access Policy Impact/prestige • Journal impact factors • Predatory Publishers Aims/scope • Discipline area • Publishes work you cite • Audience Likelihood of acceptance for ECRs. READ journal publishing guidelines
  17. 17. Scholarly Publishing Useful tools for journal evaluation • Jeffrey Beall’s List and blog • Characteristics of a predatory publisher • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) • Ulrich’s Database of Journals – indicates peer review (Ulrichsweb) • Journal Citation Reports (JCRweb) - impact factors. Search in Database Gateway • UQ Client Services Librarian • UQ Library Scholarly Publishing Service:
  18. 18. Scholarly Publishing Book publishing - Theses • “ LAP Lambert’s real plan finally became clear: They make money not by selling arcane tomes to readers, but by selling the books back to their authors after they’ve already signed away the rights.” ademic_publishing_my_trip_to_a_print_content_farm.html
  19. 19. Scholarly Publishing Publishing a scholarly monograph • In some disciplines, the scholarly monograph is a common format for publishing research findings • Academics in these disciplines can also fall prey to ‘vanity presses’ masquerading as reputable academic book publishers. • A list of ‘Print-on-demand publishers’, self-publishing ”Vanity presses” and other non-traditional publishers has been compiled. • This guide to Vanity/Subsidy publishers includes a useful list of ‘warning signs’ .
  20. 20. Scholarly Publishing Before submitting a manuscript Ask yourself • Is this a journal you read? • Is your supervisor familiar with this journal? • Is it indexed by Scopus or Web of Science? • Is the journal or publisher named on the ‘Predatory Publisher List’?
  21. 21. Scholarly Publishing Supporting OA at UQ – consider ‘green’ UQ eSpace UQ’s official digital space for: • the research outputs • the research data of staff and students of The University of Queensland Post-print
  22. 22. Scholarly Publishing References: Crawford, W (2011). ALA Editions Special Reports : Open Access: What you need to know now. Chicago, Il. American Library Association Editions.