Researchers Tackle Predatory Publisher Awareness

September 26, 2019

Texas Tech University academics have been awarded funding to create a training program helping scientists identify and avoid predatory publishers.

With support from the National Science Foundation, an interdisciplinary team of researchers will develop a free online training program that will help educate academics about predatory publishing. The training will be geared toward scientists, but applicable to all disciplines. The Texas Tech team will also conduct research into the awareness of this issue among academics.

Predatory publishers often offer to publish authors’ work for a fee, but unlike credible open-access journals, they fail to follow accepted standards in scholarly publishing such as rigorous peer review.

The rise of predatory publishing was closely tracked by librarian Jeffrey Beall, who for many years maintained a list of open-access publishers he believed to be illegitimate. Beall took down the list in 2017, reportedly as the result of legal threats.

“One of the reasons predatory publishing has thrived is because it’s so easy to blast out information that seems legitimate,” said Amy Koerber, one of the Texas Tech professors who will lead the research, in a press release. “Hopefully we’re providing a counterforce, because we are going to make our training available online and free.”

The training program will join a host of resources designed to help authors navigate this issue, such as the Think. Check. Submit. website, which is backed by major academic publishers. Many university libraries also offer tips on how to identify trusted journals.

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