SciByte 3: July 2021
Johann Mouton and Marthie van Niekerk
It is now more than a decade that Jeffrey Beall – a former librarian at the University of Colorado in Denver – introduced the idea of ‘predatory’ journals to refer to journals (and their publishers) that exist for the sole purpose of making profit. In his first major publication on the topic published in Nature in 2012, Beall provided a first description of what is meant by predatory publishing:
Then came predatory publishers, which publish counterfeit journals to exploit the open-access model in which the author pays. These predatory publishers are dishonest and lack transparency. They aim to dupe researchers, especially those inexperienced in scholarly communication. They set up websites that closely resemble those of legitimate online publishers, and publish journals of questionable and downright low quality. Many purport to be headquartered in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada or Australia but really hail from Pakistan, India or Nigeria. Some predatory publishers spam researchers, soliciting manuscripts but failing to mention the required author fee.
Beall uses the term ‘predatory’ to refer to journals that ‘prey’ on (often unsuspecting and often young) scholars to submit their manuscripts for the sole purpose of making money from these scholars. In this process, normal good editorial and review processes are violated or suspended.