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Research Visibility: Predatory Publishers

Predatory or Deceptive Publishers

Predatory or deceptive publishers are generally for-profit groups that will suggest they publish high quality academic research, while not adhering to generally accepted scholarly publishing best practices.

A group of scholars have recently put forth the following definition:

“Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices" (Grudniewicz, Agnes, et al., 2019).

There are some obvious red flags and some that are not so obvious.  The aim of this guide is to highlight the things to look for when selecting a journal for publication.

Content on this page adapted from https://onesearch.library.utoronto.ca/sites/default/files/copyright/deceptivejournals_checklist_082018.pdf

Obvious Red Flags

You should exercise extreme caution if any of the following statements are true:

  • Publication is guaranteed.

  • You've received an email soliciting work that does not come from a known scholarly organization or someone with whom you have published in the past.

Think. Check. Submit.

Think Check Submit Logo

Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international, cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications.

Journals from the Global South

Publishers from low and middle-income countries may not have the resources to have impressive websites and slick processing. Do your research or ask for help.

Common Practices of Predatory Publishers

When considering where to publish, there are many things to keep in mind.  This list highlights some of the characteristics of predatory journals

1. The Publishing Process of the Journal

  • The promise of a short turn around time to publication

  • An unclear peer review process

  • A requirement to transfer copyright during submission

  • An irregular publishing schedule

2. The Financial Details

  • Article Processing Charges (APCs) prior to acceptance of manuscript

  • Unclear terms of the APCs

3. The Journal's Website and Contact Information

  • The journal title is very similar to another well known periodical

  • The contact information is difficult to locate

  • The website is of poor quality

4. Scope

  • Predatory journals sometimes have a poorly defined scope, and/or

  • The articles in the journal don't match the defined scope

5. Indexing and Metrics

  • The journal isn't indexed where you might expect to find it

  • The journal make claims about metrics you don't recognize

6. Affiliations

  • The journal is not part of a recognized scholarly organization

7. Editorial Board

  • The information about the editorial board is difficult to locate

  • Do the members of the board list the journals on their own websites or CVs?