What is a Predatory Journal?

Publishing Apr 09, 2021

Academic authors are often under enormous pressure to publish their work, and the ease of website creation has created a market ripe for exploitation. Some publishers take advantage intentionally while others may make mistakes due to neglect or inexperience--but all predatory publishing companies have certain things in common:

  • Predatory Journals main goal is to make a profit
  • Predatory Journals have low standards, hardly any editing, and few options for peer-review
  • They are quick to profess what they can do for you and offer guarantees right away
  • Most predatory journals behave in an activity that is questionable and harmful.

What is the definition of a predatory publisher?

A predatory Journal is an opportunistic publishing house that takes advantage of the academic's desire to get published by offering low-quality content with no payment or royalties provided back.

So, how exactly does the scam work?

Predatory publishers have been exploiting the Gold Open Access model to take advantage of unsuspecting authors. Under this method, in which publication charges provide funds for publishing instead of subscriptions.

They continue their unethical tactics by claiming legitimacy as a publisher and taking money off new writers before disappearing from public view. They do this with no explanation or contact info made available.

Predatory publishers are a threat to the world of academia. They lure unknowing authors by offering quick peer-review.

They would also promise that their work will be published in prestigious indexes like Web of Science, Scopus or even university databases for libraries such as JSTOR.

Unfortunately, though these predatory journals have no idea about quality control - they don't bother with any form of editorial review at all.

What is the backlash?

Predatory publishers are a growing problem for authors, who sometimes unwittingly provide their work to these types of organizations. Legitimate publishing companies offer various services that predatory ones cannot match because they have no vested interest in your product.

Your work may be subject to sub-par peer-review

The peer-review system is excellent for improving the quality of writing. Papers that go through review are generally better off because they get feedback from peers on how to improve their work.

If you're working towards promotion or tenure, it's important to publish in a journal where your research will be valued and given time and resources to make improvements before publishing.

Your work could disappear

It's a relief for many academics to publish with responsible publishers because they make commitments to preserve your work. Opportunistic publishing companies who care only about making quick bucks will not be worried if you need access in 5 years or tomorrow; it is every scholar's nightmare when applying and hoping their paper will still be available then.

Your work will be hard to find

Beware of predatory publishers who claim to be in well-known databases like Web of Science or Scopus when they are not. Most likely, your work will show up on Google Scholar. Still, it won't have the same visibility through other research databases that Iowa State University subscribes to, including these two prestigious data sources.

Why do academics publish in such journals?

Research environments are continuously looking for quantity over quality. Promotions in academic circles rely mainly on the number of publications, which is not always a guarantee that they're true and accurate research findings.

Predatory journals have helped many pseudo-researchers prosper by providing them with false credibility through publication without any peer review process whatsoever; What is even worse is that predatory journal articles could be reprinted elsewhere under fake author names or even sold off outright.

Embarrassment

It's tough to find out you've been the victim of a scam. There are still many unknown repercussions for publishing with questionable publishers, but there have recently been some documented cases where this has hurt careers pretty badly, and it doesn't even take that much time before people start noticing something fishy going on.

Conclusion

A predatory journal is a publication that has been set up with the sole purpose of making money. These journals charge authors hefty fees to publish their work and then sell the result back to them at inflated prices.

This unethical business model, which can be considered an "academic scam", exploits both authors and society by taking advantage of people's desire for academic prestige or career advancement without any concern for quality control.

You would be wise to stay away from Predatory Journals and take time to do the research to make sure you’re working with a reputable publisher.

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