Predatory publishers: what you need to know

Last month, Beall’s blog made waves in the scientific publishing world when all of its content disappeared without warning.

Jeffery Beall, scholarly initiatives librarian and associate professor at the University of Colorado, maintained Scholarly Open Access, a blog offering a list of indicators of predatory publishing activities as well as a list of “known” predatory publishers. This blog became a go-to resource for researchers and librarians alike when faced with questionable or fraudulent practices.

“Beall’s list”, as it was kn2000px-Open_Access_PLoS.svgown, was not without controversy because he criticized the open access model, expressing views that the current model, whereby the author pays the cost of professional publishing, is lucrative for publishers and subject to corruption. Meanwhile many open access journals are credible and integral sources of scholarship.

In the absence of regulatory structures to govern open access publishers, the list, initiated in 2008, served an important educational and regulatory role. Many librarians and researchers used the list to teach peers and students about scholarly communication and the too often “buyer beware” nature of scholarly publishing. It also served to call out publishers and/or publishing vehicles that seem to exhibit some or many questionable practices.

Beall’s list was last updated in January 2017, before it was taken down. As of the last update, Beall listed 1155 suspect publishers. Web maintains a cached copy of the 2017 list of publishers and journals.

In the post-Beall’s list world, what can you do to educate yourself about open access best practice and scholarly communication avenues at the University of Manitoba? The first step is to consult a University of Manitoba librarian. It’s our role to help researchers navigate the dynamic publishing world.

We recommend you build a scholarly communication strategy as part of your research data management plan early on in your research project design. We have many tools and training options to assist you to be informed, critical consumers and contributors of scholarly publishing.

For more information about and a clear and comprehensive definition of predatory publishing check out these University of Manitoba Libraries videos: “What are predatory publishers?” and “Identifying predatory publishers”.

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Open Access publishing

University of Manitoba Libraries. 2016. “What are predatory publishers?”

University of Manitoba Libraries. 2016. “Identifying predatory publishers”

Singh Chawla, D. Jan 17, 2017. Mystery as controversial list of predatory publishers disappears. Science, news; available at: DOI: 10.1126/science.aal0625

Wikipedia. Jeffrey Beall. Last update: January 25, 2017. Available at:

Spears, T. January 17, 2017. World’s main list of ‘predatory’ science publishers vanishes with no warning. Ottawa Citizen; available at:

Karlsson, Emil. January 16, 2017. What happened to Jeffery Beall’s List of (Allegedly) Predatory Publishers? Debunking Denialism; available at:

Straumsheim, Carl. January 18, 2017. No more ‘Beall’s List’. Inside Higher Ed, news; available at:

Voutier, Catherine. January 23, 2017. Beall’s list of predatory publishers. Exploring the Evidence Base; available at:

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