Open access and predatory publishing: a survey of the publishing practices of academic pharmacists and nurses in the United States




open access, predatory publishing, scholarly communication, academic publishing, tenure, pharmacists, nurses


Objective: Academics are under great pressure to publish their research, the rewards for which are well known (tenure, promotion, grant funding, professional prestige). As open access publishing gains acceptance as a publishing option, researchers may choose a “predatory publisher.” The purpose of this study is to investigate the motivations and rationale of pharmacy and nursing academics in the United States to publish in open access journals that may be considered “predatory.”

Methods: A 26-item questionnaire was programmed in Qualtrics and distributed electronically to approximately 4,500 academic pharmacists and nurses, 347 of whom completed questionnaires (~8%). Pairwise correlations were performed followed by a logistic regression to evaluate statistical associations between participant characteristics and whether participants had ever paid an article processing fee (APF).

Results: Participants who had published more articles, were more familiar with predatory publishing, and who were more concerned about research metrics and tenure were more likely to have published in open access journals. Moderate to high institutional research intensity has an impact on the likelihood of publishing open access. The majority of participants who acknowledged they had published in a predatory journal took no action after realizing the journal was predatory and reported no negative impact on their career for having done so.

Conclusion The results of this study provide data and insight into publication decisions made by pharmacy and nursing academics. Gaining a better understanding of who publishes in predatory journals and why can help address the problems associated with predatory publishing at the root.

Author Biographies

Bridget C. Conlogue, The University of Scranton.

Bridget C. Conlogue is a Research & Instruction Librarian at The University of Scranton. She was Health Sciences Librarian for Pharmacy and Nursing at Wilkes University. She has a BA from the University of California at Berkeley, and earned her MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

Neyda V. Gilman, Binghamton University

Sr. Assistant Librarian, Libraries, Binghamton University.

Neyda V. Gilman is the Librarian for the Decker College of Nursing & Health Sciences and the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York. She is also the Assistant Head of Sustainability & STEM Engagement and co-founder of the Sustainability Hub. She has a BS in medical laboratory science from the University of Utah and worked as a medical technologist in a variety of laboratories before earning her MLS from the University at Buffalo.

Louisa M. Holmes, Penn State University

Assistant Professor, Geography, Penn State University 


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Original Investigation