Available Until 10/26/2027

Beyond the List: Unpacking the Predatory Publisher


For more information or to schedule this course, please contact  Catherine Smith <catherine.arnott.smith@wisc.edu>.

This face-to-face course enables learners to think in a deep way about how librarians can evaluate the published biomedical literature they find and make decisions about quality. I do this by focusing on a real-life situation: the “predatory publisher” scenario. Both practicing librarians and their patrons are affected by the predatory phenomenon in important ways, and I hope to equip librarians to deal with the phenomenon to empower themselves as information professionals and authors alike.

Learning Objectives

By the end of Part II of this program, the learner will be able to: a. Identify the criteria that characterize journals and publishers as “predatory”, using the definition put forward by the academic librarian Jeffrey Beall. b. Recognize specific controversial aspects of Beall’s definition. c. Identify useful resources – both licensed and free – available to help librarians and patrons assess the nature of a journal as “predatory” or not. d. Assess examples of journals to be able to distinguish predatory from non-predatory publications. e. Identify the elements of citations, abstracts and journal web pages that are helpful in evaluating unknown journals.


(Can be customized to clients’ requirements; this agenda for a 4-hour version presents artificial timings for illustrative purposes only).

1:00 PM: Instructor introduces self; depending on size of room/number of attendees, brief go-round for participants to introduce selves and their institutions. While introductions are happening, a very brief (4-5 questions) assessment will be circulating to help instructor gauge skill levels in room as well as the specific needs of the learners.
1:15: Review of assessment, discussion of previous learning contexts and needs of the learners.
1:45: Exemplar materials are distributed for attendees to discuss in small groups/at tables. This breakout activity asks attendees to review 5 articles published in the general area of consumer health informatics for their suitability for a systematic review (described in the presentation). Objective: To get learners talking about the ways in which information professionals evaluate content of journals for a specific purpose.
2:15: Re-grouping for discussion of elements and agendas described above.
2:45: Break for 15 minutes.
3:00: Exemplar materials are distributed for attendees to discuss in small groups/at tables. This breakout activity asks attendees to review 5 journals based only on information about the journal – not on individual articles within the journal – that make it fit the concept of “predatory”. Objective: To identify elements of the journals that make them “predatory” or not.
3:45: Re-grouping for discussion of elements described above.
4:30:Wrap-up and question time. While questions are being asked, a post-assessment form will be distributed to get a sense of what the learnings were from this activity.
5:00: Activity ends.

Facility Requirements

Presenter requires AV equipment to project PowerPoint slides on a screen; can bring laptop computer (Windows 7, PC). Seating arrangements need to facilitate working in small groups (ideally no larger than 4 per group); round tables perfect, moveable furniture if round tables aren't available. There should be something in the room to write on and display: Whiteboard, easel with easily detachable notepaper are both fine.

MLA CE Contact Hours: 3