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Predatory Publishing

Learn how to identify and avoid predatory publishing opportunities and other scams directed at scholars.

Predatory Publishing and Other Scams Targeting Scholars

A predatory publisher or predatory conference uses deceit to get money, content, or prestige from scholars. These schemes target scholars as authors of articles, books, or book chapters, as editorial board members, and as conference presenters or attendees.

Determining whether a particular offer is predatory can be difficult. Predatory publishers and conference organizers can be very effective at fooling scholars, and there are few behaviors that guarantee an opportunity is predatory. Checklists devoted to identifying opportunities as predatory often falsely identify new or less prestigious opportunities as predatory too.

To identify predatory offers reliably, without overlooking good opportunities:

  1. Think critically about the types of opportunities you want to avoid.
  2. Leverage your network of colleagues.
  3. If your network is not helpful, consider checklists devoted to identifying these opportunities, but use them with a critical eye.

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The Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright at the Penn State Libraries supports faculty, staff, and students in making informed & ethical decisions about copyright and the use of copyrighted materials in support of education and scholarly communications. With over $800 million in annual research expenditures, Penn State ranks among the top 20 U.S. research universities. The University Libraries supports teaching, learning, and scholarship at PSU as an active participant in the open access ecosystem, raising discoverability and visibility of Penn State scholarship and resources.

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The information on this site and from the Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright at PSU Libraries is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. The Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright is not counsel to any members of the PSU community.