Predatory publishers promise prompt, easy publication. The hidden charges come later, as well as the realization that the journal has no real standing or quality control. Not only is this bad for potential authors, it’s bad for knowledge, flooding the market with inferior information made to superficially resemble the information you need.
Imagine this scenario: You receive an email from a seemingly respectable journal inviting you to submit a paper for publication. You’ve wanted to publish on this topic for some time, and this journal promises you a quick review and publication within a few months. As a new author, you are thrilled . . . that is, until you get charged an outrageous processing fee upon turning the article in. You’ve just fallen victim to a predatory publisher.
Unfortunately, this scenario is becoming all too common. These journals are often difficult to spot, with their professional-looking Web sites and names that sound legitimate, if a little vague. In fact, just recently at AJN, we stumbled across a Web site featuring a journal that looked a lot like ours and had a very similar name. (Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, has been tracking predatory publishers since 2009 and maintains a list of them on his Web site, Scholarly Open Access.)
In our April issue, editor-in-chief Shawn Kennedy tackles this topic in her editorial, “Predatory Publishing Is No Joke.” As Kennedy explains, predatory publishers “take advantage of the relatively new open access model in publishing,” in which authors “pay the publisher a fee in order to make their article freely available or ‘open’ to all.”
As she notes, open access is a legitimate model; but legitimate publishers will publish an article only after it has gone through standard peer review and acceptance processes. Predatory publishers “do token peer review or none at all.” Going this route can lead to a slew of problems, from an author losing credibility to having her or his work held hostage by the predatory publisher.
Learn more about predatory publishing and how to avoid submitting your article to one of these journals here.—Amy M. Collins, managing editor