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What is Predatory Publishing?

What is Predatory Publishing?

This refers to both journals and publishers that exist purely to make money, not to advance knowledge or the spread of accurate, peer-reviewed information. The term was coined by Jeffrey Beall, a former librarian at the Auraria Library, University of Denver, who has done a large amount of scholarship and advocacy on the issue, including starting Beall's List an online resource that lists suspected and confirmed predatory publishers. With the growth in online publishers and the open access movement, the term has grown since its inception. The following are also considered predatory:

  • Vanity Press: Publishers who charge authors to publish, but don't guarantee any kind of peer review, with conditions such as exclusive rights and buying a number of copies at the outset. This differs from self-publishing in that the authors do not make any money from their work.
  • Publishers who take advantage of open access movements to gain control of scholarly works, but don't make the work publicly accessible.
  • Predatory or scam conferences: businesses purporting to be scholarly organizations that charge scholars to present or submit work to poorly organized and disparate themed conferences OR fronts that don't exist at all.

Predatory publishers often solicit submissions through emails, so be wary of Call For Proposals that you receive to institutional accounts or emails you have posted to professional websites, etc. These publishers also tend to target students and early-career professionals, taking advantage of the pressures of "publish or perish" academic culture and lack of experience. 

Jeffrey Beall on How Publishers Dupe Authors