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Predatory Open Access Publishers: Home

This LibGuide is to make authors aware of predatory open access publishers.

Mayo & Open Access Journal fees

Before publishing in an open access journal, consult with your deparment/division chair to make sure there are funds available to pay the open access fees, and that the journal is published by a reputable publisher.

What is Predatory Open Access Publishing?

According to Jeffrey Beall, "[Publishers] that unprofessionally exploit the author-pays model of open-access publishing (Gold OA) for their own profit. Typically, these publishers spam professional email lists, broadly soliciting article submissions for the clear purpose of gaining additional income. Operating essentially as vanity presses, these publishers typically have a low article acceptance threshold, with a false-front or non-existent peer review process. Unlike professional publishing operations, whether subscription-based or ethically-sound open access, these predatory publishers add little value to scholarship, pay little attention to digital preservation, and operate using fly-by-night, unsustainable business models."

The New York Times weighs in with A Peek Inside the Strange World of Fake Academia, published Dec. 29, 2016.

A study published in the open access journal BMC Medicine identifies 13 evidence-based characteristics by which potential predatory journals may be distinguished from presumed legitimate ones.
The 13 characteristics identified by researchers at Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Canada include an interest in publishing research on a larger number of topics than legitimate journals; extremely low article processing charges (APCs) - below $150; fuzzy, distorted or potentially unauthorized images on their websites (noted in 66% of potential predatory journals); requests that articles be submitted by email - often to non-professional or non-academic email addresses- rather than via a submission system - and a lack of policies about retractions, corrections, errata, and plagiarism (more than half of legitimate journals had policies for all four).
The wide scope and low APCs may be a way for potential predatory journals to attract as many submissions as possible, the authors suggest. They caution that an APC below $150 for a biomedical journal -- while potentially attractive to uninformed authors or those with limited financial resources-- indicates that the journal may be predatory, as APCs of presumed legitimate journals tend to be 18 to 30 times higher. APCs cover peer review and editorial services that predatory publishers may not provide.
While the characteristics identified in this study may not be sensitive enough to detect all potentially predatory journals, the authors hope that their findings may be helpful to researchers in assessing a journal’s legitimacy and quality.

Subject Guide

Ann Farrell
Learning Resource Center
Mayo Medical School
(77) 8-0830
Rochester, MN