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Elmer E. Rasmuson Library
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Scholarly Publishing and Copyright

This guide is intended for UAF faculty and researchers, and students or staff who are involved in publishing or using provisions of copyright law for teaching or research. This guide is not intended as legal advice.

Predatory Publishers

Rather than list here all the predatory publishers - which change frequently - here are some key tips for identifying those you should think twice about signing an agreement with. You may also contact one of the UAF librarians for more assistance in making sure your publisher is a good one. Note the red flags below.

About the journal:

  • Are you or your colleagues familiar with it?

No one has heard of it. If someone thinks they might have heard of it, double check the title. Predatory publishers choose very similar titles to existing journals.

  • Have you read any articles in it before?
  • Is it easy to discover the latest papers in it?
  • Is the journal published regularly?
  • Is the journal indexed in databases you regularly use? Check Ulrich’s Serials Directory to see which databases index it. Check to see if it’s indexed in Medline, or in Scopus.
  •  Check Scimago Journal and Country Rank to compare journals. 
  • Who is on the Editorial Board? Are they known in the [same] field? Do they list the journal on their own website, on their CV, etc.?

                Same people on the Board for all that publisher’s journals.

  • Who are the authors of various articles in the journal, and what are their institutional affiliations?

Same authors appear in every issue.  Their institutions don’t appear to have programs in this discipline. [Some unscrupulous individuals may receive compensation for this “service.”]

  • Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses? Double blind, blind, open, editorial? They are all valid, but of varying levels of rigor.

Journal doesn’t clearly state level of peer review. [Because they may not actually review it, or review it much!]

About the publisher:

  • Can you easily identify and contact the publisher by phone, email, mail?
  • Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the journal website?
  • When was the publisher founded? How many journals do they publish?

Recently founded publisher, with a lot of journals on highly varied unrelated subjects. [It takes time to put together a good journal. Most publishers specialize in their discipline.]

  • Is the publisher a non-profit? There are lots of good commercial publishers, but beware a vanity press.
  • What are people saying about the publisher? (Google it)
  • Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative, trade association or nonprofit scholarly society?
  • Do they belong to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) ?

About the author (YOU!):

  • Did the journal, publisher or its representatives solicit your article? Sometimes publishers do put out calls for articles, but they are most often sent to an email list, or posted on a website, or through a professional association. Sometimes publishers will ask scientists with a reputation to edit a book project. The solicitation should have someone’s name and credentials on it, usually the editor.

Publisher’s office contacted student (or new, lesser known faculty member) directly and offered to publish for a fee. Flattery might be used “Dear Scholar.”

  • Are fees clearly explained in the instructions for authors?

Fees are brought up after your article has been reviewed or accepted.

  • When you submit your manuscript, how soon will the journal editor get back to you?

Quick acceptance, not leaving time for peer review

No response for more than a month


Finding a Publisher

Self-Publishing, Things to Consider


Sample Author Publishing Agreements

(include whether agreement is book or journal article)

Elmer E. Rasmuson Library
1732 Tanana Loop
PO Box 756800
Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-6800
Phone: 907-474-7481​​
Text: 907-341-4404​

UAF is an AA/EO employer and educational institution and prohibits illegal discrimination against any individual: