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Understanding Predatory Publishers

The objective of this guide is to help VDOT personnel learn what "predatory publishers" are, how to evaluate publisher integrity and ways to protect yourself, your rights and your professional reputation.

Advice for Dealing with Predatory Publishers

General advice

  • Be cautious and take your time checking out an unfamiliar publisher.
  • Trust your gut instincts if something seems wrong and feel free to confer with colleagues in your field to get their opinions.
  • Don't sign anything or send payment if you are unsure about the publisher and until you've obtained approval from your AD and the VTRC Director.

If you are suddenly appointed an article to review* without your consent.

*Yes, this has happened!

  • You're under no obligation to review something that you didn't volunteer for.
  • You may want to contact the publisher and tell them that you didn't agree to a review and/or to ask that they not contact you again. 
  • You can add the sender's email to your junk/spam list.

If your name is misappropriated**

**Yes, this has also happened. Predatory publishers have been known to list peoples' names as editors, board members, or reviewers without their knowledge.

  • Contact the journal/publisher immediately and ask that they take your name off the unauthorized materials.
  • Make it clear in other venues that you don't associate with the publication.
  • If you feel you need to, consider getting legal advice – but if you are a VTRC researcher discuss this with your Associate Director and the VTRC Director first.

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