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Revised Statement by University Management of Leibniz University Hannover on "Predatory Publishers and Predatory Conferences"

Revised Statement by University Management of Leibniz University Hannover on "Predatory Publishers and Predatory Conferences"

In the past few weeks, university management received media enquiries on predatory publishing. By using aggressive advertising and professional appearance, "predatory journals" ask researchers to submit articles in return for a publication fee without providing sufficient measures of quality assurance. "Predatory conference organisers" pursue similar activities by organising questionable conferences and asking researchers to attend these events.

ARD, NDR, Süddeutsche Zeitung, and SPIEGEL have picked up the problem in a comprehensive investigation. Their investigation shows, that several researchers are affected by the activities of predatory publishers both nationally and internationally. Leibniz University Hannover has also come under scrutiny via an institute of the Hannover Centre for Production Technology (PZH).

A drawback of the distribution via Open Access is the growing complexity of the scientific publishing landscape. In individual cases, it may be difficult for researchers to identify the respectability of a new publisher. Misjudgement cannot be ruled out entirely. The affected institute at Leibniz University Hannover discovered the deficit in 2015 and has implemented a quality assurance process. It should be pointed out that publications that have been unwittingly published through channels that turn out to be unacceptable and dubious in hindsight are not necessarily of inferior quality.

As an institution, Leibniz University Hannover stands for high scientific integrity. Therefore, university management appreciates the publishing of their researchers in renowned magazines and trade journals with a high-impact factor and peer-review processes. The university encourages researchers to familiarise themselves with culture and ethics in academic publishing at an early stage of their career, for example through qualification programmes of the Graduate Academy. Academic work that is published through dubious suppliers or publications that do not meet the quality standards of the subject, damages the reputation of each individual researcher, the reputation of the university, as well as the standing of science in the public eye. Such forms of publishing are unacceptable and damage the trust in science.

University Management will continue raising awareness of the issue and calls on researchers to further strengthen existing quality assurance processes in their fields. It is in the interest of researchers to remove publications in questionable journals from publication lists and no longer use such publications for applications. In its role as university library, the German National Library of Science and Technology (TIB) supports authors by advising them on their rights and opportunities in order to help them with their publication decisions. This also includes training opportunities on site, as well as webinars on Open Access and academic publishing. By means of funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG), Leibniz University Hannover has opened a publication fund, which advises researchers in terms of the respectability of publishers.

For further information on protective measures against predatory publishers and predatory conferences, please consult the following websites and documents:

Leibniz University Hannover supports the statement of Leopoldina, Académie des sciences, and Royal Society, that argues for Open Access and consistent principles for good scientific publishing.


For further information, please contact Mechtild Freiin v. Münchhausen, spokesperson of Leibniz University Hannover and head of Communications and Marketing (Tel. +49 511 762 5342 email: vonMuenchhausen@zuv.uni-hannover.de).