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Open Access Publishing at UC Davis

Predatory Publishers

"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 et al., Nature, 11 December 2019)

These journals should be avoided for several good reasons, but to identify them is not always easy. The Nature article provides some advice and so does the website Think.Check.Submit

There are a number of checklist available on the web that can help to deter mine if a journals is deceptive/predatory or not.

Here is a compilation of criteria an author should check for:

Do you or your colleagues know the journal?

  • Have you read any articles in the journal before?
  • Is it easy to discover the latest papers in the journal?
  • Read several articles from the journal and assess the quality.

Is the journals scope clearly defined on their webpage?

  • The scope of predatory journals is often very broad and includes multiple and unrelated fields.

Can you easily identify and contact the publisher?

  • Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the journal website?
  • Can you contact the publisher by telephone, email, and post?

Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses?

  • Does the journal have an independent and genuine peer review process?

Is the journal listed in reputable citation indexes or ranking lists?

  • Scopus
  • Web of Science

Do you recognize the editorial board?

  • Have you heard of the editorial board members?
  • Do the editorial board mention the journal on their own websites?

Submission Process

  • Does the publisher website clearly state what the submission process entails? Can authors track the progress of their manuscript in an electronic submission system?
  • Predatory journals often ask you to send your submissions to an email address.

Is the journal open access?

  • Do they make it clear if there is any charges to publish (this is usually in the author guidelines)?
  • Does the journal site explain what these fees are for, and when they will be charged?
  • Is the journal listed by any of these webpages?

Is the publisher a member of:

What is the appearance of the website?

  • How professional is the journal website? (Design, grammar, typos, distorted images, ads)
  • Does the ISSN match the journal name? ISSN Portal 
  • Does the journal URL reflect the journal’s title?
  • Does the journal have a social media presence?