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Statement of the President of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

on “Predatory Publishing”

Präsidentin Sabine Kunst

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dr. Sabine Kunst
Photo: Matthias Heyde

Extensive research by the ARD and the Süddeutsche Zeitung shows that the phenomenon of “predatory publishing” is a global problem, which is increasingly also reaching Germany. The Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin strongly condemns the business practice of shady publishers that, without taking into account the standards of quality assurance (peer review), publish articles in supposedly scholarly journals (“predatory journals”) and organise supposedly scholarly conferences (“predatory conferences”).

Among other reasons, the phenomenon of predatory publishers is also known at the university, because researchers are constantly being pestered by e-mails from the publishers in question. Regrettably, a few researchers have, nonetheless, been directly affected. We will have discussions with these colleagues and, in the interest of assuring good scholarly practices, examine the circumstances of the publications in question.

At our university, the rules for scholarly publications are laid out in the “Regulations of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on the Safeguarding of Good Scholarly Practices and on Dealing with Accusations of Scholarly Misconduct”. The regulations also thematise the responsibility of authors for the presentation of the results of their scholarly work and the publication of the latter.

Freedom of publication is highly valued by the HU, and this is why members of the university are in no way restricted in the choice of their publishing venues. Nonetheless, the university administration will, in the future, make greater efforts to sensitise scholars at the HU to the issue of “predatory publishing”, in order to take the wind out of the sails of the dubious business practices of such publishers.


Hans Christoph Keller
Spokesperson of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Phone: +49 30 2093-2946