Prey tell, what makes a publisher predatory?

Read the full story at Science.

Thanks to a childhood of but-wait-there’s-more, I had become aware that everyone, everywhere wanted to sell me something, and resisting their efforts would be an uphill but necessary battle. The poetry anthology, though, was new. It couldn’t rotisserie a chicken or cut hair with a vacuum. It was my own work sold back to me, along with the flattery that I had, via creative genius, qualified for the enviable opportunity to be their customer. I warily added the occurrence to my growing list of potential swindles—worse than the Home Shopping Network, which at least offered actual products, but a notch better than Columbia House’s eight CDs for a penny introductory offer that disguised its subscription trap.

This is why, when I started to encounter predatory publishers as a scientist—you know, the emails that greet you with much warmth and little grammar, inviting you to submit your work to their esteemed family of publications—I smelled the scam a mile away. Really, you consider me “a leader in my field”? And the publication of my research is “a matter of some urgency”? Clearly you don’t know me or my research.

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