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Academic Publishing

Predatory Publishers

What is a predatory publisher?

A predatory publisher is an opportunistic publishing venue that exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for those using their services.

The academic "publish or perish" scenario combined with the relative ease of website creation has inadvertently created a market ripe for the exploitation of academic authors. Some publishers are predatory on purpose, while others may make mistakes due to neglect, mismanagement, or inexperience. While the motivations and methods vary predatory publishers have common characteristics:

  • Their primary goal is to make money (i.e. there will be fees).
  • They do not care about the quality of the work published (i.e. no or little editing or peer-review).
  • They make false claims or promises (i.e. claims of impact factors and indexing).
  • They engage in unethical business practices (i.e. not as advertised).
  • They fail to follow accepted standards or best practices of scholarly publishing (various).

How does this process work?

Predatory publishers exploit a new publishing model by claiming to be legitimate open-access operation. Online predatory publishers take advantage of the Gold Open Access model. Under this model, publication charges provide publishers with income instead of subscriptions.

It's important to realize that Open Access does not make a publisher predatory, their bad behavior does.

Predatory publishers make false claims (such as quick peer-review) to lure unwary authors into submitting papers. While sending a predatory publisher a manuscript may see it "published" there is no guarantee that it underwent peer review, is included in indexes like Web of Science and Scopus, or that it will be available in a month much less in five years.