12 October 2021
We are all aware that predatory journals and publishers are a problem. Most of us will have received at some point an unsolicited email inviting us to publish in an obviously fake journal. These approaches can be frustrating, but also, because they are unsophisticated, all too easy to laugh at. However, some predators are becoming quite crafty and ingenious. They often impersonate a reputable publisher by using a similar name and the same postal address. Some of the information they provide, at first glance might look quite plausible unless checked thoroughly.
With hundreds of new journal titles launched every year, deciding whether or not a journal is reputable is increasingly difficult. Even experienced researchers have been deceived, but early career researchers and those that do not speak English as a first language are more vulnerable to predatory practices. These journals not only trick researchers out of money in exchange for services that don’t really exist, but also harm the reputation of those researchers who are then unable to re-publish elsewhere even if they catch the scam in time (1). This is why helping researchers to build up their publisher evaluation skills is more important than ever, and why Think.Check.Submit. provides a checklist for journals.
We tend to think first about predatory journals, but there are also predatory book publishers. If evaluating a journal publisher can be tricky, checking if a book publisher is reputable can be even more complicated, because book publishers offer such a range of different services. This is why Think.Check.Submit. has developed a checklist for books and chapters. It is not an ‘approved’ list of publishers, but an open educational tool which guides researchers through the questions they need to ask to be more confident a publisher is reputable and a suitable venue for their work.
There are many ways in which the library and publishing community are helping to get the word out and to raise awareness about Think.Check.Submit. The checklist for journals has been translated into forty-two languages; within the last month alone volunteers have translated the checklist for books and chapters into Finnish, Persian and Urdu. More translations are needed, so please do contact Think.Check.Submit if you could translate the checklist for books and chapters into your local language.
Librarians are helping by including links to Think.Check.Submit in their lib-guides, workshops and other information for researchers. There are some great examples of publishers linking to Think.Check.Submit. from their submission pages. You can also help by sharing your story - let Think.Check.Submit. know how you, or your researchers, have used the tool.
The author is Lorraine Estelle from the Think.Check.Submit project. You can contact Think.Check.Submit at firstname.lastname@example.org