As with all industries, academic publishing isn’t all smiles and rainbows, it has its share of spam and scams. I’d only been at my job at Iowa State for about 3 months before I got an email inviting me to submit an article to a journal only referred to by a three-letter acronym. My warning bells went off – and rightly so – the email was from a predatory publisher.
A predatory publisher is an opportunistic publishing venue that exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for those using their services.
It’s not always easy but usually five minutes of investigation is enough to know if the publisher is a legitimate business that values academic research or one that’s just looking to make a profit. To help others with this process I recently published a Library guide called Understanding Predatory Publishers. The guide works in tandem with the guide on Journal Evaluation Tools which provides resources on how to look up rankings like Journal Impact Factors, SCImago stats, publishing frequency, and more.
As a disclaimer: each author needs to decide for themselves what they expect from their publisher. As a librarian, my bar may be a little higher than most, so take the advice offered as a starting point, not an end point.