Predatory publishing typically refers to cases where individual journals or organizations intentionally deceive authors or readers by falsely claiming to offer publishing services or expertise. For instance, a journal may indicate that it implements peer review when it fact it does not. Predatory publishers may also copy and disseminate content from legitimate sources under their fraudulent brand.
Deceptive publishing often includes charging authors fees without providing promised services or review. However, charging a fee for publication—to make an article openly accessible or for illustrations or page charges—is not on its own a sign that a publisher is illegitimate or fraudulent. Highly prestigious journals commonly charge such fees, though there is a growing dialogue regarding how this practice might reinforce inequities in scholarly publishing.
One leading resource developed by publishers, librarians, and policy experts as a starting point in evaluating publications is Think. Check. Submit. This project offers a checklist of factors to consider, including whether or not the publisher is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics or if the journal is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals.
Lists should be treated with caution as just one consideration in deciding whether or not a publication is predatory. If you use a list, look for transparent criteria being used to add publishers or publications to the list. Take the time to look at the publication website and review according to the Think. Check. Submit checklist.
Librarians Suzanne Stapleton and Perry Collins presented on the basics of questionable and predatory publishing at the January 2020 Faculty Senate meeting.
UF Invests in Open Access
The Libraries partner with a range of publishers to pass on savings for open access publishing costs to our authors. In most cases, this comes in the form of a percentage discount on the article processing charge (APC); in other cases, all publications from UF authors may be published at no cost thanks to the Libraries' investments.
Click here for current list of credible publishers offering discounts on open access publishing fees to UF scholars.
A list of predatory publishers may provide one piece of evidence in your effort to answer your questions. Be aware that lists can be outdated, may carry their own biases, and may not provide full disclosure of the criteria they use to include or exclude publications or publishers.
You can contact our team, including experts on scholarly publishing, research integrity, and copyright. Read more of our advice at 10 Simple Rules for Avoiding Predatory Publishing Scams.