Open Access has been a positive move in the world of scholarly publishing, but it has also contributed to the rise of for-profit, scam-like, publishing industry that exploits the model. Before submitting a paper, it is crucial to establish and confirm the credentials of a journal and its publisher.
This guide aims to alert you to some of the practices typical of predatory presses. Knowing what to look for should make it easier for you steer clear from submitting your work to journals that lack credibility.
For background and additional information, please consult these resources:
Additional links have been added to enable you to consult other online resources dedicated to the subject of predatory publishing.
Berger, Monica and Cirasella, Jill. (2015). Beyond Beall’s List: Better understanding predatory publishers. College & Research Libraries News, 76(3) 132-135,
Berger, Monica. (2017). "Everything You Ever Wanted tp Know About Predatory Publishing But Were Afraid to Ask."
The information here is culled from Prof. Monica Berger's (NYC College of Technology) presentation "To Catch a Predator: How to Recognize Predatory Journals and Conferences" that took place at the Graduate Center on 11/26/13.
Think, Check, Submit! There are reputable journals that are completely open or have open access options. But there are other journals you should avoid. Choose carefully. Think before submitting your manuscript to an unfamiliar journal - - publishing in a predatory journal may damage your reputation.
Think. Check. Submit. is a cross-industry initiative led by representatives from ALPSP, DOAJ, INASP, ISSN, LIBER, OASPA, STM, UKSG, and individual publishers.
How open is it? A guide for evaluating the openness of journals. From SPARC. This guide provides a means to identify the core components of OA and how they are implemented across the spectrum between “Open Access” and “Closed Access”.
Before submitting a manuscript, consider the following practices and characteristics of predatory presses:
Solicitation and the publishing process
- mass mailings of unsolicited invitations to contribute to a journal (these spam-like invitations shouldn't be confused with the emails received from the scholarly organizations you are a member of or with emails from the journal or publisher where your past work has appeared)
- a strikingly quick turnaround from submission to publication
- peer review process not explained and conducted in no time
- no revisions required
Journal and publisher presentation
- the title resembles the title of a well-known publication
- the title suggests an overly broad or extremely vague scope (e.g., Galaxy: International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, British Journal of Science)
- although the title specifies location ("European Journal...") the journal is located in another part of the world
- the publisher's website include typos and grammatical errors; contradictory details about editorial policies, fees, etc.; dead links and no information about the publisher's physical address; a look and interface that mimics the design of a well-known publisher
- the publisher is also the editor
- the email address is a popular one (Gmail or Yahoo) or not listed at all ( web form only)
- no information about editorial or advisory boards
- a large number of published titles (especially for new presses)
Investigating journals: the dark side of publishing. The explosion in open-access publishing has fuelled the rise of questionable operators. (27 March, 2013). Nature - News & Comment. (part of a Nature special issue on the future of publishing).
M. Pai and E, Franco (2016, October 4). What Are Predatory Open Access Journals And Why Should We Worry? Huffington Post Business Canada. (on predatory publisher OMICS buying Canadian medical journals)
Predatory journals recruit fake editor. Nature, March 22, 2017.
Beall's List of "potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers". Beall is a librarian at the University of Colorado who closely monitored the seedy side of open access publishing.
From the original site:
"This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. We recommend that scholars read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards. The criteria for determining predatory publishers are here.
We hope that tenure and promotion committees can also decide for themselves how importantly or not to rate articles published in these journals in the context of their own institutional standards and/or geocultural locus. We emphasize that journal publishers and journals change in their business and editorial practices over time. This list is kept up-to-date to the best extent possible but may not reflect sudden, unreported, or unknown enhancements."