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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.

Services from the Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright

The Office of Scholarly Communications and Copyright provides education and services to the university community. Topics we can help with include:

  • Copyright and fair use for research and teaching
  • Author’s rights and publication agreements
  • Open access and public access to research
  • Creative Commons licenses
  • Penn State’s Researcher Metadata Database

Contact us with your questions and requests for customized workshops for University groups or book an appointment with a member of our office.