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A Guide to Predatory Publishing

Learn about what they are, how to identify them, and how to protect your intellectual property.

Email solicitation: A common tactic used by predatory publishers

Icon is a drawing of the back view of an envelope. Beware of the call of the predatory publisher...

The major tactic predatory publishing "companies" use to exploit researchers and scholars is the email solicitation. They may be requesting for a submission, a presentation, or even to be a member of their "distinguished" editorial board. Be wary of the following:

  • Email that comes from a non-academic address (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo. etc.) 
  • How the writer addresses you in the message. Did they call you Dr. when you do not hold a Ph.D.? Did they address you...oddly? For example, did they address you as something like Dr. Wichita State?  
  • An overly complimentary message. Did the writer use language such as "Dear esteemed scholar" or "your admirable/essential/dire research has drawn the attention of the editorial board of [X] journal"?
  • Did the writer reference your research? If they did reference your work, does the publication make sense to your field? Does the journal have a generic name (ex. Journal of Research)? If you are approached to present at a conference, is the name associated with a legitimate professional association or group? Again, does it make sense for your field? Are you being invited to be a plenary speaker at a conference on dental hygiene when you are in the English department? 
  • Look for grammar errors and misspellings. 
  • The messages may also mention indexing when they aren't and impact factors such as the Index Copernicus journal rating system, which Beall called into question for its methods. 

Beall, J. (2013). Index Copernicus has no value. Scholarly Open Access [blog]. Retrieved from

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