Innovation & Research Practice

Paper: Program Description Abstract

EEK! Is Everything Predatory? Elevating the Conversation about Predatory Publishing and the Ethics of Scholarly Communication

Monday, May 6
2:50 PM - 3:05 PM
Room: Columbus GH (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Background : The world of poor and predatory scholarly communication now extends from traditional publishing to conferences and phishing emails, and a disturbing trend in academia of knowingly publishing in low quality resources. How do librarians serve as agents of change in protecting our patrons from predatory bodies and scholarly misconduct? We arm them with knowledge.

A lecture and discussion targeting faculty and graduate students was created to teach the methods of evaluating unknown publications or conferences, recognize poor quality and predatory practices, and discuss ethical scholarly communication and researcher reputation issues.
Description : In 2016, the librarian was invited to talk about predatory journals. She developed a 60-minute lecture consisting of an introduction to Beall’s List, the Directory of Open Access Journals, and tips for evaluating journal quality. In 2017, after the dissolution of the Beall’s List, this lecture was elevated to a 90-minute talk adding active learning and the discussion of ethics in scholarly communication.

Participants receive three articles prior to the seminar. During the session, they learn about the steps to determine a publication, conference, or email invitation’s credibility, and judge examples of good quality, poor quality, and predatory materials. Key points of discussion focus on several topics, including hijacked identities (i.e. journal titles), protecting author reputation, and the role scholarly communication plays in open access and predatory publishing. The seminar concludes with the discussion of the ethics of scholarly communication.
Conclusion : Seminar attendees leave with a strong understanding of the differences between good quality and poor quality open access resources, the essential elements of evaluating resource quality and credibility, and avoiding inadvertently publishing in a predatory or poor quality journal. The product of this lecture is a robust discussion about ethical decisions in scholarly communication and the affects publishing in a predatory or poor journal can have on their reputation as researchers. They leave with answers to their questions, and a realization of the vital role they play in the future of scholarly communication.

Kathleen Elizabeth Phillips

Nursing & Allied Health Liaison Librarian
Penn State University
University Park, Pennsylvania

I am Kat Phillips, the Nursing & Allied Health Liaison Librarian at Penn State University. I work with the College of Nursing, the Department of Health Policy & Administration, and the Consortium to Combat Substance Abuse. The students I work with range from freshman to doctoral candidates, and are located either at the University Park campus (residental), or are in the World Campus (distance) program across the globe. My research focuses on resource credibility and bias, the use of grey literature in nursing publications, and the librarian's role working with distance graduate students. My husband and I have 2 active children, Abby & Rhys, a big, doofy dog, Bowser, and 2 lazy cats, Tibold von Tippleton (Tippy) and Stormagedon (Storm).


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Christina L. Wissinger

Health Sciences Librarian
Penn State
University Park, Pennsylvania

Christina L. Wissinger, Ph.D., Health Sciences Librarian, Penn State
Dr. Wissinger is a tenure track faculty member with The Pennsylvania State University Libraries. Her research interests focus on the areas of privacy literacy, e-professionalism, online reputation management, personal branding, researcher reputation, and the acquisition and promotion of expertise. Her previous experience includes working as a clinical informationist with Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions and collaborating on systematic reviews in the areas of obstetrics and gynecology and public health. Dr. Wissinger is co-author of the “Searching for Evidence” chapter in the Johns Hopkins Nursing Evidence-Based Practice Model and Guidelines 2nd and 3rd editions. In addition to her health related research she has published in the Journal of Social Media Studies, Proceeding for the Society of Information Technology and Teacher Education, and the American Foundation for the Blind’s trade publication Access World. Dr. Wissinger’s dissertation examined privacy and power issues in social media. Currently, she researches the effects of social media on healthcare providers’ careers and the ways librarians facilitate privacy education and advocacy.


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EEK! Is Everything Predatory? Elevating the Conversation about Predatory Publishing and the Ethics of Scholarly Communication

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