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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.

What is predatory publishing?

Predatory publishers use the Open Access publishing model and adopt questionable business practices for their own profit. They typically solicit articles from faculty and researchers for the purpose of exploiting authors who need to publish for tenure and promotion, often at the monetary and reputational expense of the scholars. The ultimate goal of such publishers is to make money. They have no interest in scholarly works, therefore they have no concern with the integrity of the materials they publish. They also claim to provide a fast turnover on peer-review, which typically does not occur in a genuine peer-review process. This essential aspect of academic publishing takes time, and cannot effectively be completed in a matter of days or weeks, as some predatory publishers claim. 

How they operate

As mentioned above, predatory publishers exploit the Open Access publishing model, particularly the Gold Open Access model. The Gold OA model allows the published version to be uploaded into services such as institutional repositories without embargo and authors retain full copyright control for a fee. Unfortunately, predatory publishers have seen this as a way to make money while delivering no valuable content. 

A caveat: Open Access does not make a publisher predatory. There are many publications using the Open Access publishing model that are reputable and ethical. What makes a publisher predatory is their intent. Predatory publishers make false claims, such as quick turn around on peer review and falsified impact factor data, to lure authors into submitting papers. 

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