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Open Access: Predatory Journals

Predatory Journals

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Predatory journals and predatory publishers are designed to look like legitimate journals, but fail to offer the rigorous peer review and editing offered by legitimate scholarly publishing operations.

How To Identify A Predatory Journal Or Publisher

  1. The journal asks for a submission fee instead of a publication fee or tries to keep the copyright to authors’ work. The majority of open access journals are supported by contributions from authors. Having authors pay a fee allows for the published material to be free to readers. This cost should come in the form of a publication fee that is paid only when an article is accepted for publication, and the amount of the fee should be stated clearly on the website.
  2. The editorial board is very small or “coming soon.” Never submit to or rely on research from a journal that has no editorial board or editor-in-chief – you have no idea who is reviewing the work and deciding if it will be accepted! 
  3. A single publisher releases an overwhelmingly large suite of new journals all at one time. If the publisher you are considering is offering hundreds of new journals, it is unlikely that the publisher can actually find appropriate editors to support each journal.
  4. The journal says an issue will be available at a certain time, but the issue never appears. If the journal you are investigating says its next issue was due six months ago, but no papers have been published, be wary.
  5. The website is not professional in quality. If the website has errors, broken links, typos, and lots of pop-up ads, this may indicate that it was compiled very quickly and not by a reputable organization.
  6. There are fundamental errors in the titles and abstracts. Large errors in the title and throughout a paper may indicate that the reviewers and editors were not truly familiar with the topic. 

Source: Beall J. Criteria for determining predatory open-access publishers [Internet]. 2015; [Place unknown]. Available from

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