Predatory Publishing

Learn about predatory publishers and how to recognize the warning signs

Evaluating a Publisher

There is not a complete list of predatory publishers that you can check, so it’s important to evaluate each journal you suspect of being predatory. There are many common warning signs that you can look out for to make an educated guess about the reliability of the publication. These can include, but are not limited to, the suggestions below.

1. Publication Standards

  • Does the publication follow normally accepted standards of scholarly publishing?
  • Is detailed information about their peer review process available on their website?
  • Does the time between submission and publication look too good to be true?
  • Is there an editorial board listed, including names and affiliations? Are they recognized experts in the field? Consider contacting them to be sure they are actually on the editorial board.

2. Ownership and Contact Information

  • Does the journal’s website include information that clearly identifies the owner?
  • Do they provide an address, phone number or other contact information? Does it look like a professional building? Try searching the address in Google Maps or calling the phone number.

3. Author Fees and Rights

  • Is information about publication fees available and easy to locate prior to submitting articles for publication?
  • Check the author agreement. Do they require you to sign over your copyright to the journal? If so, that’s not a legitimate open access publisher.
  • Is the publication fee exorbitant? Excessive author fees could be a sign of a predatory publisher.

4. Professionalism

  • Did you receive an email from someone you don’t know soliciting a submission? Was the email professional? Were there spelling or grammar mistakes?
  • Was your invitation email clearly a form email?
  • Does the journal website look professional? Is it well-designed? Any spelling or grammar mistakes?

5. Indexing and Impact Factor

  • Is the journal indexed in major databases in your field? Even if they claim on their website that they are, check the list of journals in the database.
  • Does the journal have an Impact Factor? Is it a real Impact Factor? Check the Journal Citation Report (JCR) to be sure.