However, at the beginning it can be confusing to keep an overview of the academic publishing landscape, with new journals and publishing houses being added every week. One particular problem is the increasing number of ‘predatory journals’ which aggressively promote their ‘services’, sometimes deceiving even experienced academics. These practices harm not only individual academics but the academia in general by spreading ‘fake science’.
In an online talk on 16 June Dr. Leonhard Suchenwirth from the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) presented some examples and insights into the phenomenon of predatory journals and how to best avoid them. He outlined some of the characteristics of predatory journals and their practices, which are mainly geared towards making profit from mass publications without any consideration to quality. In general predatory journals are not listed in any reputable academic catalogues, however they often try to fake or imitate impact factors and other quality criteria of reputable journals in order to attract authors. They also promise to publish papers within a very short time, however at considerable costs. Authors who publish with such journals do not only waste their money but can also harm their academic reputation. In his presentation Dr. Suchenwirth provided some recommendations how to avoid ‘predatory publishers’ including some useful links (see links below). Following the presentation, scholars asked some questions, for instance on the relationship between submission fees and the quality of journals. They also shared their own experiences with predatory journals. In general they were aware of the problem, although some had also fallen victims to these dubious publishers before.
Dr. Leonhard Suchenwirth is a subject librarian at the Library of TU Wien. He holds a diploma in Geography from University of Vienna and a PhD from Technische Universität Berlin. Previously he worked as a GIS Specialist for GIZ, UNODC and others.