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Reputable v. Predatory Publishing

Think, check, submit, chose the best journal for your research.

What is a predatory publisher? 

Predatory publishers are exploitative and opportunistic publishers with the sole purpose to make money. Some red flags include: 

  • pay -to-publish models with excessive author fees 
    • harm to you could be financial
  • before submission, there is a lack of transparency or clarity of publishing requirements or process
    • harm to you could include a stressful work environment
  • no evidence of editorial oversight or peer-review, the bedrock of academic publishing
    • harm to you could include scholarship that does not meet the standards for tenure and promotion. 
  • no effort to disseminate scholarship through databases or indexing services. 
    • harm to you as a scholar could mean your work is hard to find or disappears. 

How they behave

Predatory publishers find scholars through various ways

  • Phishing: They will email to request your contributions
  • Trojan horse: looks, feels smells, like the real deal 
  • Unicorn: too good to be true
  • Imposter/Hijacker: Uses similar sounding titles of well established journals.


A Checklist of Warning Signs

  1. The journal's scope of interest includes unrelated subjects alongside legitimate topics.
  2. Website contains spelling and grammar errors
  3. Images or logos are distorted/fuzzy or misrepresented/unauthorized.
  4. Website targets authors, not readers (i.e. publisher prioritizes making money over product).
  5. The Index Copernicus Value (a bogus impact metric) is promoted.
  6. There is no clear description of how the manuscript is handled.
  7. Manuscripts are submitted by email.
  8. Rapid publication is promoted, and promised.
  9. There is no article retraction policy.
  10. There is no digital preservation plan for content.
  11. The APC (article processing charge) is very low (e.g., <$150)
  12. A journal that claims to be open access either retains copyright of published research or fails to mention copyright.
  13. Contact email address is non-professional and non-journal/publisher affiliated (e.g.,, or

Adapted from Shamseer et al. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine. 15:28. DOI:

checklist for identifying predatory publishers contact information scope of the journal editorial board author pay fee , quality of articles, peer review process, indexing information, retraction policy,  pitch for authors, email invitation

Predatory Journals List

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