In this age of open access publishing, where authors to retain copyright and removes the paywall to potential readers, one must be aware that not all open access publishers are the same. Predatory publishers—those who distribute content solely to make money from article processing charges (APCs) –have little regard for peer review and what researchers typically expect from scholarly publishing processes.
But, how can you tell if a journal publisher is potentially predatory? It is a challenge: journal titles and publisher names are similar, reputable-looking articles front the website, and editorial boards looks to be full of experts from reputable institutions. You may have even received an invitation to submit a paper, complete with the convincing “hook” of knowledge about your work or field.
An article recently published in BMC Medicine tackles the issue of spotting the difference between potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals. It highlights the typical characteristics of predatory journals, such as broad scope, errors in grammar and spelling, no retraction policy for submissions, and little or no mention of copyright. (All 13 characteristics are outlined in Table 10 of the article.)
In addition to these, consider whether a journal is indexed in MEDLINE, Scopus, or other major databases and whether all fees are clearly disclosed. Authors should look at the journal and publisher critically. The library’s Author Toolkit guide provides some pointers.
If you have questions about the quality of a journal, librarians can help. Please contact the AskUs Desk at 402-559-6221 or firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.