Predatory publishers are unethical publishing groups that take advantage of the Open Access (OA) funding model and researchers in order to make a profit. OA journals make research freely available online without a subscription and they often cover their publishing costs by charging authors article processing fees. Predatory publishers exploit this business model by soliciting articles from authors and collecting, often extravagant, processing fees.
Predatory publishers will sometimes go to great lengths to pretend that they operate a legitimate OA journal, including listing editorial boards and claiming to be indexed in top databases. After collecting processing fees, a predatory publisher either never publishes the work or does make the work available, but without a legitimate peer-review and editorial process. This exploitative practice takes advantage of authors who believe they are paying fees to have their work published in respectable, peer-reviewed journals.
Once a predatory journal has “published” the work online, authors often have no recourse to reclaim their work. Predatory publishers do not care about producing high-quality publications or an author’s reputation and are only interested in generating revenue for themselves. This is why it’s important to learn the warning signs and to always investigate the legitimacy of a journal before publishing.
Watch the 22-minute video below as Research & Education Librarian Hayley Brunner discusses Open Access publishing, predatory publishing practices, how to spot warning signs that an article solicitation might not be valid, and hear real-life examples of predatory emails.