Predatory Journals

Access publishing model. Open Access publishing requires a publication fee so that the final content (the article) can be made freely available. However, a large number of companies now pretend to be academic publishers and ask for large fees but do not offer the peer review process or editorial oversight that legitimate Open Access journals do.

The danger for researchers is that articles published in predatory journals are worthless in terms of career progression or professional reputation. In addition, once the predatory journal has published the article on their website very few legitimate journals will accept it. Often predatory journals ask for binding copyright agreements (which is a warning sign, see list below). Researchers should follow the Think. Check. Submit protocol.

The risk for the public or students is that predatory journals will publish anything, there is no scientific scrutiny at all. This means that pseudoscience and ‘fake news’ can be disseminated through these journals and accepted by those not familiar with the subject area as real science.

There have been a number of attempts to compile checklists for spotting predatory journals and to find ways to better prevent these journals from functioning effectively. Most famously, Jeffery Beall created his blog ‘Beall’s List’, a blacklist of predatory journals. However, a number of issues have been raised regarding his criteria and
conduct. Several associations have created a whitelist of legitimate Open Access

Predatory journals have taken advantage of the positive principles behind the Open Access movement to make money and in doing so undermine scientific publishing. These journals thrive on the desperation that overly competitive research environments create, as well as the lack of wider knowledge and access the public has to research. Open Science principles that support collaboration, public engagement, and publishing literacy for early career researchers all help combat these problems.

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