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Health Sciences: Predatory Publishing

Predatory Publishing Defined

                                                           Predatory Journals: No Definition, No Defence 

 "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."                   


                                                                                  Image by David Parkins  

                                                      This copyrighted illustration is used with the permission of the owner.

Why Is Predatory Publishing Harmful?

Predatory publishing began with the growth of online and Open Access (OA) publishing.  Both predatory and legitimate OA publishers collect APCs (Articles Processing Fees).  However, the focus of predatory publishers is entirely on making money.  They have little concern for publication ethics or the quality of research. 

The problems of publishing in a predatory journal can include:

  • Lack of Peer-Review: Predatory publishers often promise a thorough and speedy peer review process.  However, a quality process is very unlikely in the quick turn around time promised by many predatory journals. 
  • Lack of archiving:   Papers published in predatory journals could disappear from a journal's website at any time. This might make it difficult to prove that your paper was ever published.
  • Lack of indexing or discovery services:  Publications that are not indexed in reputable sources will be difficult to be found and read.    Predatory publishers often falsely claim that the journal is indexed in popular databases such as Medline, PubMed, Web of Science, or Scopus in other directories such as Ulrichs. You can check these sources to verify that the journal title is actually indexed.   
  • Harm to quality of research and evidence based practice
  • Damage to Academic Reputation: Publishing in a predatory journal can hurt your reputation, and the reputation of your institution. If you publish in a predatory journal, you may have difficulty in withdrawing the publication and publishing it elsewhere. 

                                                                  Predatory Publishing: The Threat Continues 

Jeffrey Beall

Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado-Denver, coined the term "predatory open access publishing.  Beall developed a list of journals and publishers he considered "potentially predatory."  Beall received criticism because of some of the standards he used for the list as well as his lack of support for the open access movement.  Beall's List was discontinued in 2017 but is still referred to as an example.