As the world of academics turns increasingly digital, avenues such as open access platforms allow knowledge to reach a worldwide audience almost immediately. But they also leave researchers open to an ocean of cybercrime opportunities such as predatory publishing practices.
These publishers often look too good to be true to researchers who have consistently tried and failed to have their work accepted by more credible journals. Instead, predatory journals step in, grabbing manuscripts as soon as they’re submitted without due diligence. Predatory publishers threaten the credibility of the academic world by neglecting to conduct peer reviews that can be costly.
Additionally, these predatory publishers can insinuate their programs into the researcher’s computer, hijack their information, and steal their work. But if you recognize the signs and watch for them, you can avoid becoming prey to these predators.
Examples of Predatory Publishing Practices
As technology expands and changes how academics publish their work and how research is disseminated, predatory publishing practices will change, too. However, currently, there are a few types of predators that you should be on the alert for.
● Predatory journals - Publishers that appear like a typical publishing agency but will sweep up any submission and accept the proceeds that come from the publication without spending the overhead to ensure it’s credible and legitimate.
● Imposters - Also known as “hijackers,” these also appear to be journals or publications that are well-established. However, they are posing as the credible journal in order to piggyback off of the association with them and they themselves are not legitimate.
● Phishers - Phishers will frequently look for researchers who are sending out feelers for publishers. They’ll obtain your contact information and let you know they’re interested in publishing your work. However, they’ll promise you publication and other incentives, but then charge you hefty fees to get your paper published after you’ve been accepted.
● Trojan horse - Trojan horses in academia act like any other virus. The website looks legitimate, frequently with a large list of links. But when you click on those links, they’re full of empty pages or plagiarized articles. By searching around the site, you’ve now opened your computer up to a search and seize of your hard work.
● Unicorns - As the name implies, unicorns are publishers that just don’t exist. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The publishers themselves might be real businesses, but once you’ve skimmed the surface, you find that there’s no customer support, no content base, and no stability for your publication. You could also be brought up on ethics violations if their peer-review criteria is not up to standards or was skipped.
Signs to Avoid These Predators
It’s essential to go into communication with a publisher with your eyes wide open. There are many legitimate publication agencies out there, and if your work is good, there’s no reason no doubt that they’d be happy to publish it if it meets and exceeds their strict criteria.
Keep on the alert for signs like these that might mean the publisher is actually a predator in disguise:
● Predatory publishers operate in sneaky ways. You might notice that the authors and reviewers aren’t allowed to know each other’s identities or there is no review set up. If a review is set up by the agency, that’s also a red flag.
● Check the journal’s publishings. If it includes anything that is unrelated to the academic field, it may not be legitimate.
● Watch for mechanical, spelling, and grammatical errors or unusual symbol usage.
● Avoid websites that focus on targeting authors to send them submissions rather than readers to join their subscriptions.
● Look closely for images and logos that are misrepresented from other valid brands or may be fuzzy.
● Never submit manuscripts by email or accept a fast publication promise without a specifically delineated description of how your submission will be handled at each step.
● Red flags should be visible if you see anything like the Index Copernicus Value (a fake metrics), a non-publisher affiliated email address, or a low article processing charge.
● Don’t allow a journal that states they are open access to have your work if they proclaim copyright or avoid the discussion.
With these signs ready to help you avoid becoming a victim to predatory publishers, you’re ready to move on and find a legitimate source to release your research and share your knowledge with the world.
Use Impactio to Show Your Credibility
Impactio is an all-in-one platform used by legitimate scholars around the world. When you’re ready to submit your work for publication, our program allows you to easily drag and drop your text into sections, create charts and tables for your citation and publication data, and then publish your final profile in professional PDF documents or web pages for submission.
With Impactio, you don’t have to worry about your credibility being questioned for unprofessional finished work. Share your research with a global audience of your peers, create an academic profile and network with others, or just watch how well your work impacts your audience after it’s published!