May 21, 2022

Journal Article: “Qualitative Content Analysis of Watchlists vs Safelists: How Do They Address the Issue of Predatory Publishing?”

The article linked to below (full text) was recently published by The Journal of Academic Librarianship.


Qualitative Content Analysis Of Watchlists vs Safelists: How Do They Address the Issue of Predatory Publishing?


Amy Koerber
Texas Tech University

Jesse C. Starkey
Texas Tech University

Karin Ardon-Dryer
Texas Tech University

R. Glenn Cummins
Texas Tech University

Lyombe Eko
Texas Tech University

Kerk F.Kee
Texas Tech University


The Journal of Academic Librarianship
Volume 46, Issue 6, November 2020, 102236
DOI 10.1016/j.acalib.2020.102236


Predatory journals and publishers are a growing concern in the scholarly publishing arena. As one type of attempt to address this increasingly important issue, numerous individuals, associations, and companies have begun curating journal watchlists or journal safelists. This study uses a qualitative content analysis to explore the inclusion/exclusion criteria stated by scholarly publishing journal watchlists and safelists to better understand the content of these lists, as well as the larger controversies that continue to surround the phenomenon that has come to be known as predatory publishing. Four watchlists and ten safelists were analyzed through an examination of their published mission statements and inclusion/exclusion criteria. Notable differences that emerged include the remaining influence of librarian Jeffrey Beall in the watchlists, and the explicit disavowal of his methods for the safelists, along with a growing recognition that the “list” approach may not fully address systemic aspects of predatory publishing that go beyond the individual author’s ethical decision-making agency.

Direct to Full Text Article

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.