The landscape of scholarly publishing is changing with the shift from print to online and the introduction of open access journals, typically funded by author fees, to ensure free access to all. This environment has given rise to “predatory publishers” that engage in deceptive practices to make a profit. Consequently, researchers must be able to evaluate the quality of journals before submitting manuscripts for publication. Similarly, scientists and practitioners need to assess journal quality and the validity of published research.

To meet those needs, Research and Education Department librarian Erica Brody, who is liaison to the VCU School of Dentistry, developed a peer-reviewed presentation about predatory publishing. 

Notably, she was invited to present her work in an in-depth pre-conference session at the 2020 International Association for Dental Research (IADR), American Association for Dental Research (AADR), Canadian Association of Dental Research (CADR) conference. The session was to take place March 17, 2020 in Washington, DC, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

This invitation is significant because this is the first time a VCU librarian (and perhaps any librarian) was scheduled to present at this eminent international dental conference. Her session “Master the Publishing Process: Evaluating Journal Quality to Peer Review” has these learning objectives: 

  • To understand the changing publishing landscape and the role of peer review to promote the dissemination of high-quality science.
  • To apply knowledge of predatory publisher characteristics to assess the quality and legitimacy of a journal.
  • To examine standards and principles in the peer review process with the goal to reduce waste and increase quality. 

“I first learned about predatory publishing from a training conducted by Hillary Miller from VCU Libraries Scholarly Communications and  Publishing division for the School of Medicine faculty,” said Brody. “It is very exciting to have this opportunity to share knowledge with so many others about this emerging topic in scholarly communication.” 

“As the liaison to the School of Dentistry, Erica has worked to better understand the issues facing dental faculty, students and practitioners,” said Interim Director of Tompkins-McCaw Library for the Health Sciences Emily Hurst. “This program highlights the impact a health sciences librarian can have on the scholarly output for a profession.”  

Brody also presented this information in a variety of venues including: 

  • 2019 annual meeting of the American Dental Education Association;
  • 2019 webinar sponsored by the American Dental Education Association;
  • 2018 continuing education program for faculty at the VCU School of Dentistry;
  • 2019 webinar sponsored by the Southeastern Atlantic Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine (in collaboration with Hillary Miller).

In addition, instruction about predatory publishing is provided to third-year dental students. Brody is available to give this presentation via Zoom to interested VCU faculty, dental students and other groups.  

Categories Annual Report, Dentistry, Faculty/Staff, health care, Librarians at Work