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Predatory Publishing

Guide to the basics of predatory publishers and how to avoid them.

Consequences of Predatory Publishing

What happens if I submit work to a predatory journal?  Any number of these can result from a submission:

  • Because predatory publishers are low quality journals, they can spread inaccurate or false information about a topic.  This is especially common among STEM field, especially the sciences.  Other researchers may cite these works, further spreading false information (Elmore and Weston, 2020).
  • The journals provide researchers a misleading idea of what it is like to publish work.  In many cases, publishing to a predatory journal is a simpler process than publishing to a professional journal.  Researchers may pass this idea on to students and coworkers, further spreading misinformation about publishing (Elmore and Weston, 2020).
  • It can make it harder for individuals to legally find and use your work (Elmore and Weston, 2020).
  • If a predatory publisher has you sign a copyright agreement in the publishing contract, you could lose ownership of your work.  This makes it impossible to submit your paper to another journal (Elmore and Weston, 2020).
  • You lose financial resources due to publishing fees.  You may also lose the resources from the study if you are unable to withdraw the work from the journal (Elmore and Weston, 2020).

Falling Prey to Predatory Publishing

What should you do if you think you have gotten involved with a predatory publisher?  Zakout (2020) recommends several things you can do to reduce the consequences.

  • Send a withdrawal letter to the publisher.  If they do not respond to you, send a second email stating that legal action will be taken if your work is not removed within a specific period of time.
  • Email the editor-in-chief of the legitimate journal to which you want to submit your work and explain the situation with the predatory publisher.
  • Separate your research papers on your resume between those that have been published to legitimate journals, and those that have been published to predatory journals.  If you do not feel comfortable including them, you can only include works published in legitimate journals.