Removing Articles from Predatory Journals

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 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, the domain name would be 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:


  1. Identify the copyright holder
  2. Identify the work or works being infringed (the title)
  3. Identify the location of the infringed material (URL)
  4. The author’s contact information (this can be in the signature line)
  5. Statement of good faith belief
  6. Statement of accuracy under penalty of perjury.


Here’s an example of a DMCA takedown request from ipwatchdog:


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!

Buzzfeed and Copyright

Recently, Mark C. Marino, Assistant Professor of Writing at the University of Southern California, wrote a Buzzfeed article entitled 10 Reasons Professors Should Start Writing BuzzFeed Articles. Marino’s article received a lot of press, including a Chronicle of Higher Education post, on whether members of the academy should start writing on Buzzfeed instead of in academic journals.

Whether Buzzfeed is a substitute for scholarly journals is not a subject for the Scholarly Communications Office, but Marino does provide an opportunity to illuminate an important contract term: Buzzfeed allows writers to keep more rights under copyright than many academic journals. When you submit content to Buzzfeed, you grant Buzzfeed “a worldwide, non- exclusive, perpetual, royalty-free, fully paid, sublicensable [sic] and transferable license . . .” (emphasis added) Regardless of how you feel about Buzzfeed or its content, Buzzfeed does not require a complete copyright transfer that is common to academic journals. If an author posts the article on Buzzfeed, the author can use it in their classroom, put it on another website (like a course management system like Sakai or Blackboard), or in their university’s depository without receiving permission from Buzzfeed or determining whether a copyright exception, like fair use, may apply.

Compare Buzzfeed with academic journals. Oxford University Press requires an exclusive license, or a complete copyright transfer. APS Journals also requires a transfer of copyright, as does World Scientific Journals and AIP Publishing. Regardless of how you feel about academic scholarship on Buzzfeed, Buzzfeed allows the author to keep more rights than the previously mentioned academic journals do, and many others. These publishers may require that the author receive permission from the publisher to use their own writing in their classroom, put it on another website (like a course management system like Sakai), or in their university’s depository. You certainly don’t want to have to use a fair use exception to use your own article in your own class, do you? If you have any questions about this issue or any other, please come see us in the Scholarly Communications Office!