Research Skills Blog

Why and how to avoid publishing in a predatory journal


Why it is important you don’t publish in a predatory journal

Many innocent academics have been duped by the deceitful practices used by predatory publishers. Some publishers send overtly flattering emails requesting the academic publishes their work in one of the publisher’s journals. Others make up impact factors or list researchers as being on their editorial boards without permission. Researchers have also published in predatory journals in response to pressure to get published.

However, there are consequences to publishing in less than satisfactory journals, including:

  • hindering the career development of researchers

  • wasting funding resources in paying for poor quality publishing

  • and damaging funding prospects for researchers and their institutions.

But as well as damaging the reputations of both researchers and institutions, having work published in these journals, potentially without peer review, calls into question the legitimacy of the work. This compromises its usefulness, leading to the loss or marginalisation of the research.

Read the blog post: How predatory journals enable fake science

How can you tell if a publisher is predatory?

Although the academic publishing community has started to wise up to the tactics of predatory publishers, predatory publishers have concurrently improved their approach. Better communication styles and increasingly professional-looking websites, alongside the ever growing number of predatory journals in existence, can make it difficult to detect whether a publisher is genuine or not.

Scrutinising a website to try and determine whether a journal is legitimate or not can be a difficult and time-consuming process. At present, there is no perfect tool that covers all the journals out there; however, some useful resources exist that can help you in determining whether a publisher is authentic.

Beall’s infamous list of potentially predatory journals is perhaps the most well-known resource, but it has not been without criticism and was deactivated in 2017.

DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals), COPE (Committee on Publishing Ethics) and OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) can also be helpful for determining whether a journal or publisher is genuine. But as it is not mandatory to register with any of these organisations, they don’t cover every journal out there, and there are many journals and publishers that do not appear on any of these lists.

Check out our Predatory Journals page for information and tools to help you  feel confidentrecognising and avoiding predatory journals when researching and  publishing.

With our mission to fundamentally understand and serve the information needs of the food community, it seemed only appropriate that we try to tackle this issue.

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