The world of scholarly publication has been complicated by a recent uptick in the amount of “predatory” journals and publishers. Despite best efforts, a lot of novice and even advanced researchers have been caught up in the “publish or perish” mentality on which the predatory, open access publishing industry thrives. Inside Higher Ed recently published an article noting that in 2014 over 420,000 articles were published in likely predatory outlets, which is up dramatically from approximately 53,000 in 2010.
Do you have plans to submit a scholarly manuscript for publication in the near future? If so, read on.
What is Scholarly Predatory Publishing?
Predatory publishing is a model of publishing that exploits researchers by deceiving them for personal gain. There are predatory publishers as well as stand-alone predatory journals that masquerade as legitimate research dissemination outlets by calling themselves “journals” and scholarly presses.
There is no shortcut to avoiding these publishers. The burden for identifying these predatory outlets lies with the author of the work. We’ve included suggestions below to aid you in identifying high-quality publications.
Identify Your Publishing Goals
One of the major goals of most researchers is to disseminate their research findings for the sake of advancing knowledge in their field or industry. What you hope to get out of publishing may range from knowledge contribution or advancement, to individual career advancement. These goals can inform where you choose to publish.
How to Find Journals for Publishing Your Research
Set Realistic Expectations
It is often unrealistic to publish several articles in reputable journals each year. While a quick publication can be enticing, it is often the predatory outlets that offer a quick turn-around time from submission, to peer review, to publication. Sometimes the offered turn-around is as fast as just a few weeks or even days!
Non-predatory, reputable journals often have much slower turn-around times as the review processes they use are time-consuming, and for good reason. Rejection notices are also commonplace, and you need to be comfortable with the idea of rejection. Authors also need to understand that reviewers may have your article for a minimum of a couple of months before you receive any sort of notification about the status of your work. Some reputable journals may take as long as six months to fully review your work. Thus, publishing can be a slow process, and it’s important to align your expectations with that reality.
Do Your Research and Use Available Resources
After all the work you’ve done researching and writing, you want to submit to journals and other resources that will best disseminate this new knowledge and help to further related research.
Not all publications are created equal, and not all publications will further knowledge in your field or help advance your career. With that in mind, it’s imperative to learn to identify outlets that offer the best target audience for your research and offer the best quality and highest integrity for the work you have produced.
Publishing in quality, non-predatory journals benefits your field and your career more so than quickly published articles in predatory outlets. Employers may also take journal quality into consideration when looking at your scholarly contributions.
How to Evaluate and Select the Right Journal for Publishing Your Research
Below you will find a tip sheet outlining ways identify quality versus predatory publishers and publications. This is your hard work, make sure to protect it!
View our tip sheet for Vetting Journals Updated June 2017