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Librarians have a key role to play in educating users about predatory publishing. Predatory publishing can be described as low quality, amateurish, and often unethical academic publishing that is usually Open Access (OA). Understanding predatory publishing helps authors to make more informed decisions about where to publish. In the process of educating our users, librarians can set the ground for important conversations that encourage critical thinking about the scholarly communications process. Predatory publishing stems from broader problems including overemphasis on publication quantity, an OA models based on traditional, for-profit publishing, and resource disparities in the Global South. When users take fuller responsibility and ownership of scholarly communications, knowledge can be a public good and not a commodity. A more sustainable and just scholarly communications ecosystem can be a reality. As effective advocates for OA, librarians need to be ready to respond to those who conflate OA and predatory publishing. It is helpful to contextualize predatory publishing as an aspect of evaluating publishers and the quality of scholarship. This helps promote the idea that due diligence is the responsibility of all scholars, whether as authors, peers, or administrators. Additionally, positioning (deliberate) predatory publishing in the broader arena of unethical and fraudulent scholarly practices helps to decouple predatory publishing from OA and boosts our ability to communicate effectively with non-librarians.


This work was originally presented at ACRL 2017, Baltimore, Maryland, March 22 - 25, 2017.



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