Getting your research published often seems like the pinnacle of success after struggling through ruthless editing and endless revisions. It’s not unusual to feel extremely vulnerable once you’ve sent your document and hard work off to be judged by unseen strangers. It may feel that nothing matters quite as much as receiving a positive response. Unfortunately, there are some publishers who deal unscrupulously with those in this precarious, vulnerable position.
Don’t Rush Into Publishing Contracts
There are two types of predatory publishers to avoid: those who don’t publish at all and those who trap inexperienced researchers in bad contracts. If you are attempting to get published to boost your career opportunities or get your work recognized by your peers, working with predatory publishers could be devastating to your prospects.
Recognize Different Types of Publishers
The first step in avoiding unscrupulous publishers is understanding three basic types of publishers you may encounter:
- Traditional publishers offer an initial investment once they’ve approved the writing. In return for their initial investment and ongoing support, these professionals own the rights to sell the work and receive money through sales of the work.
- Subsidiary publishers get fees from writers and sometimes a percentage of future sales. Writers pay for editing, marketing, and other services in return for seeing their work in print. Ultimately, writers in this situation have very little control over their work once they’ve signed the contracts.
- Self-publishing allows writers to cover most of the costs on their own, paying fees for work, while engaging in most steps of the publication process.
Of the three, you’re more likely to have trouble with predatory publishers in the subsidiary group. These publishers may also be called vanity publishers or may call themselves self-publishing companies. Although many of the details are different, when submitting scientific research and journal articles for publication, watch out for similar situations.
Recognize and Avoid Predators
How can you avoid falling prey to fake publishers who promise to print your work in a journal for an expensive fee, only to find out that your work is now in the hands of junk science promoters? There are several signs that should warn you away from these exploitive predators:
- It may feel flattering to receive an email inviting you to submit your work for publication, but an unsolicited invitation should make you suspicious.
- Invitations to submit your work to a journal that isn’t directly related to the topic of your research.
- Mass emails are generally sent by unprofessional companies looking to take advantage of unwary students and novice authors.
- Existing content hasn’t been peer-reviewed or is full of mistakes that should have been edited out.
- You are required to pay a fee to get your work published.
In addition to recognizing predatory publishers, you can avoid trouble by proactively researching journals. For example, Bentham science journal entries (published by Bentham Science Publishers) appear in academic or open access journals. When you go to the publisher’s website, you can browse the entries to ascertain the quality of writing and make sure that the included journals are appropriate for your work. If you suspect you’ve seen Bentham science predatory tactics, review the content and look for peer reviews, good editing, and compliance with accepted standards of scholarly publications.
Think Before You Publish
Although waiting to get your research published for academic or professional recognition can be nerve-wracking, don’t fall into the trap of predatory publishers with unsavory journals. Review the signs that a publisher or journal may be trouble. If you suspect that anything is wrong, don’t get into a contract you’ll regret later. Instead, take time to talk to librarians, your peers, and other professionals with publishing experience.