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Publishing Resources for STEM Authors: Predatory Journals

A guide with resources to accompany the workshops on publishing for gradute students and post-doctoral researchers.

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What are predatory journals?

What are predatory journals?

"Predatory journal" is a term used to describe journals which are created for the sole purpose of extracting money from authors, without providing the services (expert editorial board, high-quality peer review, etc.) which authors expect from reputable journals.

Why are predatory journals widespread now?

Among other factors:

  1. The rise of electronic journals on the World Wide WebPublishing  a print journal required a considerabe initial investment before the first issue could come out. Electonic journals, on the other hand, can be slapped togehter in slipshod fashion and put out on the web with little initial investment.
  2. he coming of "god" open access journals, in chich authors are expected to pay an author publishing charge (APC) as a way to support journals in place of subsription fees charged to readres and librries. Legitimate scholarly publihsers have made widespread use of this economic model. However, it has worked to the advantage of predatory publishers. While it would take a long time to build up a subscption base to profit from a subscription model journal, a publisher can begin immediately gathering APCs from would-be authors.
  3. The explosive growth of worldwide scholarhip.  The number of authors seeking to be published has grown tremendously.Authors desperate to be published to earn tenure and promotion, may turn to predatory publihers if they find the can't get accepted in the "presige" journals in their field.


Why should I, as an author, avoid predatory publishers?

  1.  Publhing your work in predatory journals can be deamaging to your reputation.  Your work may appear alongside poor quality, plagiarized, or even completely phony articles, dragging your work down by assocatation.
  2. Predatory publishers are often "here today, gone tomorrow."  Once a publisher is exposed as predatory, its operators may close up shop, only to start a new publishing operation under a new name. But the article they published may not be archived, which could mean that the record of your work could vanish completely.
  3. Every author who supports a predatory publisher just encourages the growth of more and more predatory publishing.  Be a part of the solution, not of the problem!

Tools to identify and avoid predatory publishers

The first three tools elow are good ways to identify quality journlas.  DOAJ has strict criteria for which journals they will list, and will not list predatory journals.  Journal Citation Reports is the most widely-used source for "impact factors" and list primarily journals with established track records. Thier new Emerging Journals list help identify promising newer titles. Preatory publishers will often cite phony imact factors to make their journals look more prestigious than thay really are.  Ulrich's is the standard directory of scholarly journals and provides reliable information about journals and their publishers.

The links below point to resources which proice list of predatory journal, or informatin which can help you to identify and avoid predatory journals.

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