Predatory Publishing or Why Professors Are Not Kanye West

illuminated manuscriptUniversity professors exist in a semi-public world, which means we usually suffer the negative consequences of pseudo-celebrity status but rarely get to enjoy any of its benefits. An exception that perhaps proves the rule is the terrible interview of Reza Aslan by a Fox News program host — his deft handling of the host’s stupidity will undoubtedly make his book sell many more copies than it otherwise would have (the interview is analyzed in some detail here).

A more mundane example is the periodic email solicitations for manuscript submissions that we receive from predatory open-access journal publishers. These publishers are essentially vanity presses; authors have to pay fees for the publication of their work. Anonymous peer review frequently doesn’t happen and editing is haphazard. The problem? It can be difficult to identify whether a particular journal is bogus or not.

Jeffrey Beall, a librarian and associate professor at the University of Colorado–Denver, has made this task easier by maintaining a list of predatory open-access journals and their publishers. It’s an extensive list and regularly updated.