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Scholarly Publishing

This guide provides information on how to make strategic decisions in your publishing journey.

Predatory Publishing & Conferences

We can’t discuss professional publishing without addressing the problem of predatory publishers. Although we think of it in terms of “publishing” you also need to be aware of “predatory” conferences. Participating in either the journals or the conferences could potentially impact your promotion and/or tenure status.

Below we will discuss steps you can take to ensure you do not fall prey to either of these. 

Remember, you can always contact your subject's liaison librarian if you would like assistance determining if a journal or conference is legitimate or not.

Potential Red Flags - Publishers

Visit the website for the journal. Ask yourself these questions. If you cannot answer yes, these are potential red flags.:

  • Is the scope of the journal clear? 
  • Who are the editors? Do you recognize any of them?
  • Do they have clear instructions for the author?
  • Are they peer reviewed?
  • Do they provide copyright information? 
  • Do they have a retraction policy?
  • What can you determine about the publisher?
    • Does an internet search reveal any negative information?
    • Do they have a PHYSICAL address or only a PO Box?
  • Do they have author processing fees and are they reasonable for the field? 
  • Is the journal affiliated with a reputable/familiar University or scholarly organization?
  • Look at an issue - do you find more than one article by the same author?
  • Do they promise to publish quickly?
  • Is there an ISSN?
  • Does the publication appear professional?

Open Access Publishing & Predators

Open-access is a model for publishing scholarly, peer-reviewed journals on the Internet that relies on sources of funding other than subscription fees. Some publishers and editors have exploited the author-pays model of open-access, publishing for their own profit. Submissions are encouraged through widely distributed e-mails on behalf of a growing number of journals that may accept many or all submissions and subject them to little, if any, peer review or editorial oversight. Bogus conference invitations are distributed in a similar fashion. The results of these less than ethical practices might include loss of faculty member time and money, inappropriate article inclusions in curriculum vitae, and costs to the college or funding source.

Bowman, J. D. (2014). Predatory Publishing, Questionable Peer Review, and Fraudulent Conferences. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education78(10), 176.

Predatory Conferences

  • Conference Subject & Scope
    • Are your colleagues familiar with this conference?
    • Is it too broad? In most fields, the subject of the conference should be targeted to a specific subject.
    • If it claims to be an “international conference”, it is important to take extra steps to ensure its quality and validity. The terms “international’ and “global” may be an overstatement if it is not attracting participants from across the globe.
  • Conference Website
    • Is the website well-organized, uses correct terminology for the field and proper spelling and grammar? Or are there mistakes or is poorly written.
    • Who are speakers? If you are not familiar with the, check them out on Google. Are they authorities in your field?
    • Have they had previous conferences or is this their first one? Check out information on past conferences.
  • Conference Organizers & Sponsors
    • Who are the organizers of the conference and what is their goal? This information should be specific and readily available
    • Is contact information for the organizers provided – and are they real phone numbers & P.O. boxes?
    • Are the sponsors organizations you are familiar with?
    • Are the conference fees in line with similar conferences or unusually high?
    • Don’t require peer review.

Adapted from:
What are ‘Predatory’ Conferences and How Can I Avoid Them?

Nine Signs a Conference is Fake.

Websites to Check for Predatory Journals