It’s Monday morning, and, as you check your email over a cup of coffee, you notice a new message:
Subject: An Exciting Opportunity to Publish your Research!
Dear Dr. Smith,
I want to congratulate you on all your many accomplishments in your field of research and expertise. I am writing this e-mail with reference to your article published in the field of medicine. Specifically, I have had an opportunity to read your paper: Diabetes and Renal Malignancy in Adults, which was published in The Annals of Medical Case Reports, Volume 10 Issue 3.
I know you are an expert in this field, so it is my honor and privilege to invite you to submit a manuscript to our new journal, The Open Annals of Medical Case Reports. This Open Access journal has a distinguished editorial board with extensive academic qualifications, is double blinded peer-reviewed, and is indexed in EBSCOhost, Ulrich, Informed Librarian Online, DOAJ, ISI, Google Scholar, CrossRef, OAK, and similar indexes. Volume 1, Issue 1 needs only two more articles to publish, so I am pleased to offer you a 30% discount on our APC! If perhaps you do not have a manuscript at this time, we request you to suggest your colleagues to submit.
Please let me know about this exciting opportunity as soon as you can!
The Annals of Medical Case Reports
Have you received an email like this in the past? Perhaps your first thought was, ‘Finally a good place to get my work published!’ Or, maybe you saw a 30% discount and the bargain shopper in you got excited. Maybe, instead you were suspicious: you’ve never heard of this person or this journal. But it’s new, so that explains it. Wait, is it really their “honor and privilege” and why are they congratulating me? Something is off.
The email above is, in fact, fake. We made it up based on samples of messages sent from predatory publishers. The term “predatory publisher” was coined in 2010 by librarian Jeffrey Beall and continues to be used to describe amateurish or fraudulent organizations that intentionally deceive scholars into paying for their works to be published without the value-added services and support that reputable organizations offer, like peer-review, copy-editing, and indexing. Like most social engineering schemes, these predatory publishers use flattery and deceptive tactics to get your money, your research — or both! Similar schemes include invitations to become an editor or attend a conference, where your name and reputation might be used to lure other authors.
Don’t fall into the trap!
We recently received several inquiries from faculty regarding a few questionable publishers’ solicitations. We did some detective work to help make sure that our researchers publish with trusted and credible organizations. Here are some of the ‘red flags’ we check for each time we receive a request from your colleagues to evaluate a journal or publisher:
- Publisher’s direct marketing, or spamming your email, asking you to share
- APC fee is not mentioned anywhere
- The promise of unusually and virtually impossible short submission-to-publication times (2 or 3 days!)
- No clear guideline for author’s submission
- Information on copyright and Creative Commons licenses is absent or unclear
- Non-functional contact information, such as email and social media platforms
- The contact address is residential or represents another business; try a search on Google to check for this
- The names of lead authors or editors are repeated in other journals from the same publisher
- Editors are not known as experts in the field
- The scope of journal is vague or too vast
- Indexing claims use incorrect jargon
This is not a comprehensive list, so remember: when in doubt, contact your librarian! Suspicious emails should also be reported to Touro IT, especially ones with links and requests for personal information.
Additional library resources
- Think, Check, Submit! Choose a trustworthy journal for your research.
- Rubric for Journal Evaluation
- Research & Scholarship Library Guide
- Ulrichsweb: A global serials directory useful for researching if a journal is refereed/peer-reviewed
This post was contributed by Sara Tabaei and Timothy Valente, Midtown Library