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Open Access Resources: Publishing OA

Open Access Publishing

Predatory Publishers

Predatory publishers "lie about their practices in order to attract publishing payments from unwary or unscrupulous authors." - Rick Anderson

Predatory publishing:

  • Is a business model leveraging the Article Processing Charge (APC) without providing the services of legitimate publishers
  • Makes fraudulent misrepresentation of claims to peer review
  • May charge an APC  and not even publish the article
  • Does not furthering the academic conversation
  • Can have negative effects on science and health

Piracy is theft. Rather than tricking authors into transferring copyrights, or making false claims about standards and peer review, intellectual property pirates take copyrighted works (some of them may be yours) and make them available without consent.

The most notorious being Sci-Hub:

  • Started by a frustrated Neuroscientist who wanted more access to content
  • Hacks through paywalls and makes content available for free
  • Not to be confused with Open Access because it violates copyright
  • Read an excellent article from The Scholarly Kitchen about how SciHub works
  • Read about Elsevier's legal battles with Sci-Hub here

Also known as an Article Publishing or Publication Charge or Fee

  • Fee charged to an author to make work available in an open-access or hybrid journal
  • Does not guarantee that the author will retain copyrights to the work
  • Does not guarantee that the work will be published under a Creative Commons license
  • Represents a shift in the academic publishing model
  • More articles = more income
  • Removes the subscription pay wall of the traditional model
  • Does not necessarily mean a publisher is predatory

Lists and Directories




Beall's List

Created by Jeffrey Beall in 2010 in response to an increasing number of spam solicitations for publication

No longer updated, deleted in 2017, this is a link to an archived copy

Directory of Open Access Journals

 A community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals

The Directory aims to be comprehensive and cover all open access academic journals that use an appropriate quality control system and is not limited to particular languages or subject areas

Stop Predatory Journals

Taking Jeffrey Beall's story as a cautionary tale, the authors have chosen to remain anonymous. They started this site with the intent of protecting the scholarly community from being taken advantage of.

The authors evaluate journals and/or publishers based on 10 pre-defined criteria. If the criteria are met, then the publisher or/journal is included in the list.

Evaluating Options

When thinking about where to publish, always consider the audience you want to reach. Is the publication:

  • Relevant for your work/discipline
  • Read by the right audience
  • Published on an acceptable timeline
  • Prestigious enough

Think. Check. Submit

Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research. 

Suggested Reading

A confusion of journals -- What is PubMed now? by Kent Anderson (2017), published in The Scholarly Kitchen

I fooled millions into thinking chocolate helps weight loss. Here's how. by John Bohannon (2015), published in Gizmodo

Potentially predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparision. by Larissa Shamseer, et al (2017), published in BMC Medicine

Substituting article processing charges for subscriptions: The cure is worse than the disease, by David Schulenberger (2016), white paper hosted by the Association of Research Libraries

The surge of predatory open-access in neurosciences and neurology by Andrea Manca, et al. (2017), published in Neuroscience

What is a predatory journal, by Kelly Cobey, et al. (2018), published in F1000Research

Who's afraid of peer review? by John Bohannon (2013), published in Science

Why Beall's List died -- and what it left unresolved about Open Access. by Paul Basken (2017), published in The Chronicle of Higher Education