How to Avoid Predatory Publishers
Where should I publish? How can I avoid predatory publishers?
Publishing your research in a scholarly journal increases your visibility, credibility, and competitive advantage in an academic setting. Getting published hinges upon finding a journal with an aim, scope, and audience that matches your manuscript; incompatibility between a manuscript and a journal’s aims and scope is a common cause of rejection (Ali J (2010). Manuscript rejection: Causes and remedies. Journal of Young Pharmacists, 2(1): 3-6. doi: 10.4103/0975-1483.62205). Therefore, the process of identifying which journal best fits your manuscript is important and requires careful consideration.
The existence of predatory journals, or journals that charge publication fees to authors without providing the clout and services expected of a scholarly journal, make the process even more difficult. Predatory journals may promise a quick turnaround from article review to publication. They may not disclose article processing charges (APCs) up front, but can demand payment for publishing at a later date. They offer little to no editorial services and may not be peer-reviewed. Predatory journals often create new open access journals with names similar to legitimate journals. Their websites, journal metrics, stats and editorial board members are often fabricated. They may send you unsolicited e-mails with grammatical errors in the correspondence.
However, there are free and fee-based tools that can make your search, evaluation and submission process more effective if you take the time, ask the right questions and if you can, work with a librarian. To help you in this process, The Injury Control Research Center for Suicide Prevention has compiled a list of tools for identifying the proper journal for your manuscript, avoiding predatory publishing, and a list of journals that most commonly publish research on suicide and its prevention. Those resources include but are not limited to these tips and tools for finding the best journal for you and your manuscript:
- Visit http://thinkchecksubmit.org/
- Check out InCites™ Journal Citation Reports®, SJR: Scimago Journal & Country Rank and Ulrich’s Web for more information about journal rankings and reach
- Check out the Journal Author Name Estimator (JANE) and review the titles
- Search the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) for vetted Open Access publications.
- Find out if a title is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA) or Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
- Search your favorite and respected databases for a list of journals indexed for that publication.
- Identify the publisher, associations or organizations affiliated with the journal.
- Review the names of the editorial review board or masthead. Follow up and verify the names, affiliations and actual roles.
- Ask if there are fees association with publication
- Find out who retains copyright and ownership
- Check out this article from ThinkSCIENCE that defines the problem and offers advice and tips.
- Consult Beall’s List, but be diligent in reviewing the titles. Not all publishers on the list are predatory.
And remember. If you can, work with a librarian. We are here to help.
Karen Liljequist, MLIS, AHIP
Liaison Program Manager
Medical Center Libraries & Technologies
University of Rochester Medical Center