Purdue Libraries and School of Information Studies News

Predatory Publishing and Purdue Faculty: What You Need to Know

August 31st, 2018

Nina Collins -Purdue Univeristy Libraries
Nina Collins, Purdue University Libraries

The scholarly publishing landscape has changed more in the last 20 years than the last 300 years. Every year, we see the rise of new technologies and innovations in scholarly publishing, and in many ways, the rapid change has made it difficult for the remainder of the scholarly community to keep pace. Unfortunately, not all emerging trends in scholarly publishing are changes for the better. In recent years, predatory publishing has been on the rise.

Fortunately, for Purdue University researchers, Purdue University Libraries offers in-house expertise and can help faculty and other researchers navigate the issue of predatory publishing, as well as help reap the benefits of Open Access publishing.

Scholarly Publishing Specialist Nina Collins, who is situated in the Purdue University Press, has put together the “Deceptive Publishing” resource via this LibGuide. “Deceptive Publishers: Predatory Publishing.”

Additionally, in the brief Q&A below, she provides an overview of predatory publishing, its impact on Open Access publishing, and how she aids Purdue faculty and researchers in their scholarly publishing pursuits.

Q. What exactly is predatory publishing? Why is this topic and practice important for faculty to be aware of?

Collins: Currently, the phrase “predatory publisher” is an umbrella phrase to describe a wide variety of issues in scholarly publishing, including failure to adhere to publishing best practices, deception, inadequate or non-existent peer review, fraud, and even scientific misconduct. Predatory publishers cause harm to all stakeholders in the scholarly communication ecosystem. Often, these publishers look legitimate on the surface, and scholars in all disciplines can have a difficult time discerning a predatory publisher at first. Frequently, predatory publishers send relentless spam email to scholars, requesting submissions to their journals or participation in their conferences.

Publishing in a questionable journal can have a negative effect on a researcher’s reputation or even inhibit career advancement. Furthermore, as good scholarship can be published in bad outlets, scholars, as consumers of knowledge, can find themselves questioning scholarship based solely on the publication outlet in which it was published. This erodes trust in the scholarly record, in scholarship, and even in scientific knowledge.

Due to the negative association of Open Access, the movement has been especially challenged with the presence of many predatory publishers. Although predatory publishers use traditional publishing business models, as well as Open Access business models, the literature oftentimes associates “open” with “predatory.”

Open Access is a noble goal, supporting many benefits for scholars, students, researchers, practitioners, academic institutions, funding agencies, and the public. There are many paths to Open Access, including the gold standard “author-pays” model, which is the OA business model most often exploited by predatory publishers.

As funding agencies move toward greater transparency and openness, the need for greater awareness of predatory publishers is critical in order to protect scholars, funders, and academic institutions from these deceptions.

Q. What predatory publishing resources do you provide for Purdue faculty?

Collins: Purdue University Libraries offer resources to help faculty identify predatory publishers.

Our “Deceptive Publishers” LibGuide includes tools for faculty and researchers to help identify the most common deceptive and non-transparent practices of predatory publishers.

The University Copyright Office (housed within the Libraries) advises Purdue University faculty and staff about copyright law, as it applies to higher education, and provides information on current issues in copyright. The Copyright Office can provide programs and lectures on issues related to copyright.

Purdue University Press, a division of Purdue University Libraries, aligns the strengths of both publishers and librarians to advance the creation, communication, and discovery of new knowledge. We are Purdue University’s own scholarly publishing experts. Located in Stewart Center, we are available for publishing consultations on any topic related to scholarly publishing.

Within the Press, I serve as the scholarly publishing specialist. I have been researching and talking to scholars about predatory publishers since 2013, and I offer predatory publisher workshops and presentations to departments, schools, and colleges throughout campus. I can be contacted at

In addition, our librarians work with publishers to provide access to scholarly literature. Collection development and collection assessment are some of our core duties; we are constantly evaluating sources and teaching information literacy, the skills used to evaluate resources. For more information, contact a Subject Librarian.

Q. How else do you help Purdue faculty in their Open Access publishing pursuits?

Collins: Open Access is a legitimate business model in scholarly publishing. It differs from traditional business models in that anyone, anywhere, can access scholarship as soon as it is published.

There are many ways to support Open Access, including publishing in Open Access journals or using the “green” Open Access model, which is a process of self-archiving in an institutional repository. In this model, authors publish their scholarship in traditional publishing outlets, then archive a version of the paper on their institutional repository. Many scholarly publishers have friendly sharing policies, permitting this type of sharing.

Purdue e-Pubs, Purdue University’s institutional repository, provides free, global access to more than 50,000 scholarly resources created by the Purdue University community. We provide a free sharing policy review service, alerting authors which version of their papers can be archived on Purdue e-Pubs. We also offer a free mediated upload service—uploading the paper on the author’s behalf. To participate, email a list of your Purdue publications to

Through memberships provided by Purdue University Libraries, Purdue-affiliated authors are entitled to discounts from some gold model Open Access publishers. We are members of SPARC and the Open Textbook Network. Purdue University Press publishes several Open Access journals, and we generously support Open Access publishing in many ways. As scholarly publishing specialist, my expertise is Open Access. Send Open Access questions and inquiries to