Here in the Scholarly Communications Office, we have had questions about predatory Open Access Journals. Typically, those journals will solicit articles from professors and students on a topic of their choice. Upon submission, the journal will request an Open Access fee. At this point or at other points in the process, if authors attempt to withdraw the paper from publication, the journal publishes the paper without the consent of the author. At this point, the author will generally try and contact the publisher or editor to have the paper removed and the Open Access Journal refuses to remove the paper. This is the point where the question often comes to the library or the Scholarly Communications Officer. Below, we have spelled out one way to get the article removed from the journal’s website. We have been advising authors to file DMCA takedown notices, which have worked fairly well.
It is unlikely that you will know who owns the domain name, so the first thing to do is to determine who you need to send the DMCA takedown notice to. We will be using Wikipedia as an example for a domain name search. To do this you should go to http://www.register.com/ Select the option “WhoIs Lookup” underneath “Domain” At that webpage, type in the domain name. From the Wikipedia article on “Open Access”, the link is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_access, the domain name would be wikipedia.org. Once you are on the “WhoIs Results page” You will find email contact information for the registrar abuse contact information, the registrant email, and the admin email. Additionally, we have advised the professor to email the editor of the journal with the information for the DMCA Takedown notice.
DMCA takedown notices have specific requirements which are the following:
- Identify the copyright holder
- Identify the work or works being infringed (the title)
- Identify the location of the infringed material (URL)
- The author’s contact information (this can be in the signature line)
- Statement of good faith belief
- Statement of accuracy under penalty of perjury.
Here’s an example of a DMCA takedown request from ipwatchdog: http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2009/07/06/sample-dmca-take-down-letter/id=4501/
Finally, remind the professor that even after the material is removed Google will still have it indexed for approximately two weeks after they have taken down the paper, so he/she might still see the paper in Google Search or Google Scholar results for a period of time after it has been removed from the web. If you have any questions about this issue or any other, please come see us in the Scholarly Communications Office!