May 23, 2022

Texas Tech University Faculty Members Awarded $345,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant to Develop Training for Recognizing Predatory Publishing

From Texas Tech:

Amy Koerber, professor and associate dean for administration & finance in Texas Tech University’s College of Media & Communication, is looking to develop a program that will educate people on open-access publishing and how to distinguish “predatory” journals from credible ones.

“Open-source publishing itself has emerged as a perfectly legitimate way to make academic knowledge more readily accessible to wide global audiences,” Koerber said. “But what Jeffrey Beall was saying was that the rise of open-source journals was leading some publishers to take advantage of that model. They were giving away articles for free, but they were doing that by charging these exorbitant author fees. At the same time, they were compromising quality by taking away standard measures of gatekeeping such as blind peer reviews.”

Koerber, along with four other Texas Tech faculty members, was recently awarded a $345,702 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to research current publishing practices in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines and develop STEM Training in Ethics of Publication Practices (STEPP), a training program that will raise awareness among consumers and producers of information about which academic publishing practices lead to ethically sound and credible knowledge.


Their research will consist of three phases. Koerber said the first will focus on reviewing blacklists, whitelists and ethical codes for publishing from different organizations in regard to scholarly publishing standards. Then, they will conduct interviews with professors and scholars in various STEM disciplines, as well as academic administrators and science journalists, to understand what people know about predatory publishing and how some scholars fall for these scams.

Once the team has gathered their data from the first two phases, they will develop the online training program that can be used by researchers and scholars around the world for guidance about what predatory publishing is and how they can combat it.

Despite being a STEM-focused project, Koerber said the training program they develop will be relevant to people across all disciplines and those not involved in publishing. It will also help consumers of information because it will improve the legitimacy of articles being published and referenced.

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See Also: NSF Award Abstract: STEM Training in Ethics of Publication Practices (STEPP)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.