Predatory Publishers and IUScholarWorks

My name is Brianna Marshall and I am the Scientific Data Curation Assistant in the Scholarly Communication Department. While my responsibilities primarily pertain to helping researchers manage their data, I also work with IUScholarWorks (IUSW) quite frequently. Making your work available in IUSW ensures that it is preserved and made available to researchers around the world. Unfortunately, individuals submitting work to IUSW and other institutional repositories may find themselves targeted by predatory open access publishers.

What is a predatory publisher?

Often, predatory publishers do not offer traditional editorial services, such as peer review (although they may claim that they do). Many of these journals will accept an article then let the author know that they owe an exorbitant publication fee.

These predatory publishers can seem legitimate – they may have fully functional websites and authors rights statements that are similar to those of well-respected publishers, but this is no guarantee of their quality. The rise of online publishing has made it easier for these groups to masquerade as legitimate publishers.

How can I identify a predatory publisher?

Predatory publishers don’t serve any risk to researchers if you can identify and discount them as an option for disseminating your work.

Predatory publishers are seeking to make a large profit, so they are known to aggressively seek out new authors or editors. Receiving a form email that requests your submission to a particular publisher should be your first clue. Some publishers are bold enough to find authors who have submitted to institutional repositories: a librarian within our department experienced this firsthand after submitting her work into IUSW.

Don’t be fooled by these publishers. If you have any suspicions about the publisher, we recommend that you consult Beall’s List of Predatory Publishers. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado-Denver, publishes a list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers” on his website. If after consulting his list you still have questions or concerns, consult your local librarian.

How can I avoid unwanted reuse of my work?

Clearly licensing your work with a non-commercial Creative Commons license is a possible way to thwart unwanted reuse of your work, but it’s not fool-proof. The rise of predatory publishers means that scholars need to be more vigilant than ever about researching where they choose to publish and what rights they have over that work.