With Open Access (OA) becoming increasingly popular in disseminating research publications, vanity and predatory publishers are also on the rise. These dishonest publishers exploit the OA model, existing on fees paid to them by the author.
Note: These types of publishers should not be confused with legitimate OA scholarly publishing, which whilst digital, online and free of most copyright restrictions, employs the same peer review and editing processes as traditional scholarly publications.
While similar to vanity publishing, predatory Open Access publishers seek to take advantage of the Gold Open Access model, whereby the author pays to have an article available as Open Access on the journal website. These publishers can set up websites that closely resemble legitimate online publishers, and often send out spam emails requesting authors to submit articles, many times with hidden author processing charges that are invoiced to the author on acceptance of their manuscript.
So how do you identify a predatory journal?
Vanity publishers are publishers that will charge the author a fee for publishing a book. While there are some instances where publishing with a vanity publisher is warranted, generally these publishers do not have any interest in promoting and selling the book. Vanity publishers do not get their money from selling the book, but rather from selling the book production services to the author.
Vanity publishers often target early career researchers who are seeking publishing opportunities or may offer to publish their thesis.
Vanity publishing usually:
Note that research publications published by a vanity publisher may not be eligible for HERDC/ERA reporting.
For an excellent account of an experience with a vanity publisher, see "I Sold My Undergraduate Thesis to a Print Content Farm" by Joseph Stromberg.
Academics considering publishing in journals should carefully evaluate the scholarly credibility of both the publisher and the journal. Some things to consider include: