Predatory publishing and other scams targeting scholars use deceit to get what they want. Sometimes they want money, but they also want prestige and content. These scams target scholars as authors, editorial board members, conference presenters, and conference attendees.
Deceit is the defining characteristic of these scams.
The following behaviors do not mean that an opportunity is predatory:
Caution: It’s easy to import your biases into this decision when you rely on your networks.
If you are not able to evaluate an opportunity using your network, there are checklists you can use to help you evaluate it yourself. The trouble with checklists is that predatory journals can be pretty good at gaming the system. On the flip side, many suggestions for identifying predatory opportunities will also lead you to avoid non-predatory opportunities with newer publications, new ways of sharing scholarship, or publishers and organizers from outside the U.S.
Successful predatory offers may make scholars think they are not predatory by:
Think. Check. Submit. is a checklist developed by scholarly publishers. It can help you protect yourself, but it doesn't protect you on its own. You still need your own common sense. It's also important to watch out for bias when using Think. Check. Submit. For example, the checklist item “Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative?” is quite limiting, because the initiatives listed are primarily based in North America and Europe.
Some groups also create lists of predatory publishers and conference organizers using criteria like those in the checklists. These lists, too, should be used with caution. Cabell's Predatory Reports is a subscription product providing this service. The Penn State Libraries do not subscribe to it.