1. Bindon, Susan L. DNP, RN-BC, CNE

Article Content

A recent poll on the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development (JNPD) website asked readers what would be most helpful to them related to the topic of predatory publishing, and the results were clear. Almost half (43%) of the respondents answered "general information about predatory publishing and why it matters." Twenty percent wanted to see either examples of predatory practices and their consequences or a list of useful resources and websites to help them safely navigate the literature. There was some interest in information that readers could share with others. Possibly the most telling response though was a blank one. There were zero respondents who chose the option, "Nothing, I am comfortable with this topic." Based on what readers are saying, we are revisiting the topic of predatory publishing here.


Although definitions of predatory publishing abound, in general the term describes publishers or publishing practices that are motivated primarily for financial gain and are not based on accepted or ethical publishing practices. The peer review process may be superficial, artificial, unofficial, or even nonexistent. The absence of careful peer review for scholarly evidence renders the credibility of a source questionable at best. Representatives from predatory journals or publishers may engage potential authors via unsolicited e-mails or other communications, often using flattery and promises of certain acceptance and a speedy turnaround to lure authors to submit their work, for a fee, to their journals. These fees or associated publishing charges can range from a few hundreds to several thousands of dollars for the unsuspecting author. Even more devastating, articles may not be thoroughly indexed, making them unsearchable and nearly invisible to potential readers.


Such journals and publishers "prey" upon contributors' naivete, carelessness, or, in some cases, their desperation to publish their work in light of a publish-or-perish paradigm existent in some settings. A definition from the Iowa State University library website describes predatory publishing as "an opportunistic publishing venue that exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for those using their services."


In 2014, many editors of nursing journals, including JNPD (Bindon, 2015), began highlighting issues of unethical or predatory publishing practices in their editorials and blogs and on their journals' websites. This effort was supported by the International Academy of Nursing Editors, which houses an interesting and useful collection of many of these pieces on their website at


Other resources exist to help explain and illuminate the issue of predatory publishing and its consequences for authors, readers, students, and practitioners alike. The Committee on Publication Ethics is an international body providing guidance, resources, and examples to help educate and support the publishing community. Certain "white lists" help users determine if a journal or publisher meets certain standards or criteria for acceptable practices. These lists can be a valuable first step in determining the trustworthiness of a particular source. The Directory of Open Access Journals is such as list. Cabell's International is a subscription-based source of scholarly analytics and may be available through your organization's library resources. Think. Check. Submit. is a user-friendly website offering checklists, tips, and other guidance to help authors and users determine if a journal or source is appropriate in terms of publication ethics. Finally, JNPD's publisher Wolters Kluwer provides valuable information for authors and readers through their author services web resources, including this useful primer from University of Michigan librarian Gale Oren.


We encourage you to explore some of the resources provided here and educate yourself and your teams about the need for a careful, informed approach to seeking and using quality evidence. As nursing professional development practitioners, we need to model safe practices in the clinical area as well as in the perilous world of unscrupulous or predatory publishing. Choosing, reading, and using quality evidence is one of the most valuable skills we possess and one that must be practiced and fine-tuned to remain sharp.




Bindon S. L. (2015). Open access: Opportunity and awareness. Journal for Nurses in Professional Development, 31(4), 189-190. [Context Link]


Cabell's International. Retrieved from


Committee on Publication Ethics. Retrieved from


Directory of Open Access Journals. Retrieved from


International Academy of Nursing Editors. Editorials published: Open access and editorial standards. Retrieved from


Iowa State University Library. Retrieved from


Wolter's Kluwer.