Until recently, there was no generally agreed-upon definition of predatory publishing. In April of 2019, a group of 43 participants from 10 countries met to create a definition of predatory publishing. Participants included publishing society members, research funders, policymakers, academic institutions, libraries, patients, and caregivers who engage in research.
"Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices."
Grudniewicz, A., Moher, D., Cobey, K. D., Bryson, G. L., Cukier, S., Allen, K., ... & Ciro, J. B. (2019). Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Science (576)7786. 210-212.
Predatory publishers use the open access publishing model for their own profit.
“Predatory” publishers solicit articles from faculty and researchers with the intention of exploiting authors who need to publish their research findings in order to meet promotion and tenure or grant funding requirements. These publishers collect extravagant fees from authors without providing the peer review services that legitimate journals provide prior to publishing papers.
Predatory publishers share common characteristics:
Since the open access publishing model covers publishing costs by collecting fees from authors (rather than from readers or subscribers), predatory publishers pretend to operate legitimate open access journals and convince authors to submit manuscripts for publication with the promise of speedy peer-review. In most cases, no peer-review process actually exists. Some predatory publishers often target novice faculty members who face pressure to publish and are less familiar with traditional publishing business practices.
Predatory publishers may also promise low article processing fees. However, once an article is "published," the publisher will invoice the author a much larger price than originally quoted. Once an article is published, authors have very little recourse.
When you decide to publish your article with a legitimate publisher, they will provide services such as peer-review, archiving, and discovery services that enable others to find your work easily, and copyright protection. Predatory journals do not provide such services.
The dangers of publishing in a predatory journal can include:
Predatory publishers often publish papers that have not gone through any peer-review process.
If you've been approached by a publisher as an author or editor and are concerned it may be predatory, email Ruth Bueter, Associate Director of Library Operations (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Priority is given to requests submitted by members of the GW community.
This guide is intended to provide information about predatory publishing and is intended as a guide only. Deciding where to publish is solely the responsibility of individual authors.
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