The Rise of Predatory Journals
The study described in this article shows how open-access journals–with questionable peer-review and marketing processes–have attracted a vulnerable audience (scholars under pressure to publish as much as possible in as short a time as possible. The result has been hundreds of thousands of articles a year (a huge jump in only a few years) with many of them never having been peer reviewed in any true sense of the concept.
Click title above or click HERE for the article.
Predatory Journals: What Faculty Need to Know
“Predatory open-access publishers are those that unprofessionally exploit the gold open-access model for their own profit. That is to say, they operate as scholarly vanity presses and publish articles in exchange for the author fee. They are characterized by various level of deception and lack of transparency in their operations. For example, some publishers may misrepresent their location, stating New York instead of Nigeria, or they may claim a stringent peer-review where none really exists.” – Professor Jeffrey Beall (Chronicle of Higher Education)
Predatory publishers began proliferating in the past few years with the increase in open access publishing. These journals claim peer-review, scholarly integrity, and have titles that often sound impressive despite their predatory nature. There has also been a sharp rise in predatory conferences, some which choose a name nearly identical to an established, well-respected conference. Traits common to predatory publishers and conferences are high acceptance rates (for manuscripts or proposals), quick turnaround, and fees to publish or present. It is important to note that predatory publishers may also claim to be included in directories and indexes when they are not. Some claim to have prominent university faculty on their editorial boards even when those individuals have never agreed to serve in that capacity. See also Open Access, Open Education, & More: Predatory Publishing.
How to perform due diligence before submitting to a journal or publisher
Check with departmental colleagues or discipline-area peers elsewhere to see if the journal is reputable. It is critical that faculty members differentiate between open access, fee-based journals, and predatory journals (there are distinctions of varying degrees between each of these). Also, look for the publisher and the journal on the predatory publishing lists linked below.
You may also contact the University Library for a second (or first) opinion about the authenticity of a publisher or journal. The library has numerous resources, the most valuable of which is Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters.
- Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including a physical address, on the journal site. Be cautious of outlets that provide only web contact forms.
- Check that a journal’s editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. If in doubt, contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
- Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees. Avoid outlets that require author fees (except when explicitly accepted within the discipline). While some disciplines may find author-fee associated journals acceptable, most do not. Check with experts in your discipline to learn about which fee-based journals–if any–are legitimate.
- Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members. Such solicitations have become ubiquitous in recent years. In short, if you receive a mass email about publishing in a journal, be skeptical!
- Generally, avoid open access (and even print) journals that have published very few volumes and issues. While some highly reputable organizations (e.g., the American Educational Research Association) have recently started new open-access journals, predatory journals are notorious for having very few volumes.
- Read some of the journal’s published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experiences.
- Check that a journal’s peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct. Avoid journals that have low impact factors or have no impact factor. You can confirm Impact Factor via Journal Citation Reports. Impact factors are, most simply, a ratio of citations per article per journal issue. For more on Impact Factor, click HERE.
- Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals (www.doaj.org) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (www.oaspa.org). [Some questionable journals appear in directories such as DOAJ and Cabell’s; we don’t advise using this as your sole criteria.] Be especially cautious of journals that are not affiliated with a scholarly or professional organization.
- Be cautious about open-access journals published in developing nations. This is not to suggest that these countries do not have reputable journals or that you should not seek publishing opportunities in foreign presses. Nonetheless, predatory journals based in developing nations (e.g., India, Nigeria) have flourished in recent years.
- Be skeptical of journals with dubious titles or claims that are too grandiose (e.g., The International Journal of…, The Universal Journal of…). While some reputable journals have such titles, this is also a hallmark of predatory journals.
- Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.
- Contact your librarian!
Resources for Scholars
Journal Citation Reports (available at Carpenter Library & other university libraries)
Recent Articles & Research Papers on Predatory Publishers
On Predatory Publishers: a Q&A With Jeffrey Beall, The Chronicle of Higher Education
Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too), New York Times
Sham Journals Scam Authors, Nature
Also see our recommendations for writing a strong curriculum vita and preparing one’s dossier for promotion and tenure. Visit our Promotion and Tenure Page.
Guns on Campus Bill Passes House; Stalls in Senate
The Guns on Campus legislation successfully made its way through committees (despite overwhelming opposition from virtually all who gave testimony) to the floor of the Florida House of Representatives. The House passed the bill along a party-line vote (votes correlated highly to NRA-ratings of House members). The bill is now in the hands of the Florida Senate.
Fortunately, the bill does not seem to have much traction in the senate as it lacks the support of a number of reasonable and powerful senators, including Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (R) of Miami, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee. Not surprisingly, gun-proliferation advocates have already begun attacking Senator de la Portilla and Senate President Andy Gardner (R), claiming that their inaction is tantamount to treason. Click HERE to see the sample letter being sent to these senators’ constituents and donors.
The bill itself–a part of model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)–specifically deletes current provision of law prohibiting concealed carry licensees from openly carrying handgun or carrying concealed weapon or firearm into college or university facility. Current law does not prohibit the carry of a stun gun or nonlethal electric weapon or device designed solely for defensive purposes and the weapon does not fire a dart or projectile.
The United Faculty of Florida opposes this legislation. We concur with the vast majority of faculty, students and law enforcement that prohibiting firearms on college and university campuses, except by trained law enforcement and security officers, is an essential element of an overall campus safety plan. The bill is also opposed by the Florida Board of Governors, the University Police Chiefs, the University Presidents, the League of Women Voters and many more organizations. At least 14 Florida newspapers have ran editorials opposing this bill!
Click HERE for more information on the bill and for talking points
It’s Not About the Money
Why Teachers Strike
Beware: “Study Sites” Posting Final Exams and Faculty-Owned Materials
In recent years, a number of websites have been created that ostensibly help college students study more efficiently and effectively. Sites such as studyblue.com offer students a means for accessing materials posted by other (generally former) students in a particular class. In other words, the site posts class notes, powerpoint slides, and even midterm and final exams from prior semesters. They do so without the knowledge or consent of the faculty who created those materials. Furthermore, these sites publish exams that in many cases could only have been copied through cheating.
When one of our chapter’s officers contacted studyblue.com to ask that her materials be removed from the site, she was told that the onus was on her to determine which specific materials needed to be removed and why (which itself requires creating an account through the site). She was also told that they would not remove materials without copyright and that even those materials that were copyrighted might not be removed (citing “fair use”).
A preliminary search shows that a number of UNF faculty members’ midterm and final exams are posted on the studyblue.com site.
“It is going to be a nuclear war between the government, the unions, the Republicans and the Democrats,” Trujillo said on the air Sept. 30. “That war is coming.”
Why continuing contracts matter; State College of Florida trustees should rescind vote to eliminate tenure
Jennifer Proffitt, UFF President
State College of Florida Board Eliminates Tenure
LAKEWOOD RANCH — Starting next July, new faculty members hired by the State College of Florida will not be able to earn tenure.
By a 7-1 vote Tuesday night, college trustees ended a longtime continuing contract system for SCF teachers. As of July 1, new faculty members at the Manatee County-based school will work on annual contracts at the only state school in Florida that does not offer tenure to qualified employees.
The scariest issue here revolves not around Christie’s vacuous claims but rather on the fact that he represents the views of an increasingly large, misinformed, and wealthy demographic that is openly hostile toward the very notion of unions. Read more HERE.
When Teaching Becomes a Crime
A proposed Kansas bill would make it easy for educators to face jail time for showing “harmful materials.” Lawmakers say they are only trying to protect students, but are they really trying to discredit public school educators?
Click HERE to read full article. Read an article in The Atlantic about parents and students increasing desire to avoid new or potentially controversial ideas on college campuses. Also see satire of this and similar actions in The Onion
Law Defines Professors as Management
(and thus not eligible for collective bargaining)
Full-time faculty members at Ohio public institutions are objecting to proposed legislation with big implications for their right to organize unions. Tucked deep into a 3,090-page budget bill pending before the state’s House Finance Committee is language that would reclassify professors who participate in virtually anything other than teaching and research as supervisors or managers, and therefore exempt from collective bargaining. So serving on a committee, for example, turns a professor into a manager.
For the entire text of the article, click HERE.
Outstanding Faculty Service Award, 2014-2015
Dr. Susan Perez
UNF-UFF Vice President & Associate Professor of Psychology
In addition to serving as Vice President of the chapter, Susan served as lead faculty negotiator in the creation of our current CBA, a role she has continued throughout this year’s long and frustrating contract re-openers. In addition, Susan has served as a union-administration liaison, as grievance co-counsel, as a chapter Senator, and has been a writer and/or editor of virtually all UNF-UFF communications with faculty. We are very lucky to have her as a chapter leader and are pleased that the UNF faculty has recognized her tremendous accomplishments in this and other service areas.