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Predatory Publishing

There are a number of factors to be considered when evaluating a journal to determine if it is a legitimate or a predatory publisher. Presence or absence of one indicator does not determine a journal's legitimacy. The cumulative effect of indicators is what matters.

Indicators of a Legitimate Journal

  • The journal is included in subject databases/indexes
  • If the journal is open access, if is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • If the publisher is open access, if it is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association
  • Any fees fpr publishing in the journal are easily found on the website and clearly explained
  • The editor and editorial board are recognized experts in the field
  • The journal has an ISSN
  • The journal clearly indicates copyright at the article level
  • The journal is affiliated with an established scholarly society or academic institution
  • The primary audience of the journal is researchers/practitioners
  • The scope of the journal is clearly stated
  • Articles are within the scope of the journal
  • Articles meet the standards of the discipline
  • Articles have DOIs.

Top Indicators of a Potential Predatory Journal

  • No information is provided about the publisher
  • Information provided about the publisher does not indicate a relationship with sharing research content
  • The publisher "About" section is absent on the website
  • The direct marketing/advertising from the publisher is obtrusive
  • Journal website is difficult to locate/identify
  • The journal's scope statement is vague or absent
  • There is no peer review or copyright information available, or it is unclear if it is available
  • Instructions to authors or similar information is not available

Other Indicators of Potential Predatory Journals

  • Manuscript submission is done via email and not an online submission system
  • The publisher email is a Google/Yahoo/non-business or educational type account
  • Editors and members of the editorial board have false credentials or credentials that cannot be easily verified
  • It is difficult to find contact information on the website
  • The physical location or address cannot be verified
  • Website looks rudimentary, links don't work
  • Poor spelling and grammar
  • The owner of the publisher is also an editor of the journal
  • Editorial boards are duplicated between journals
  • There are no academic credentials provided for editors, editorial board, or review board
  • Rapid time to publication (a few days/weeks from submission)
  • Credentials for editors or the editorial board are not appropriate for the journal's discipline (i.e. a STEM Librarian as editor of a rhetoric journal)
  • False indexing claims
  • Exaggerated citation counts
  • No retraction policy
  • No errata policy
  • Unverifiable or inflated impact factor
  • Offers to publish a paper and then asks for a fee after, with no previous discussion of author fees
  • The publisher sends unsolicited emails with flattering comments inviting submissions to the journal
  • Journal title is almost identical to that of an established, well-respected journal
  • Country named in the title is not the country where the journal publisher is located
  • Editors are published heavily in the journals they edit
  • Archives links lead to empty pages or simply don't work
  • The range of disciplines featured is overly broad.