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Graduate Students' Resource Guide

What are Predatory Publishers & Journals?

The terms predatory publishers and predatory journals originated with librarian Jeffrey Beall and his well-known list of questionable, scholarly open access journals and publishers

Predatory journals exploit the open access author-pays model for their own profit by using unscrupulous methods to entice authors to publish with them. They conduct little or no peer review or editing work.

Checklist for Authors & Evaluation Tools

As an author, always carefully assess an unfamiliar publisher/journal before submitting your work. When trying to determine the quality of a journal or publisher, ask yourself the questions listed below. Use some of the tools listed here to help you determine validity. 

1. If the journal is open access, is it listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?

2. Is the journal listed in Ulrich's (an authoritative source on publisher information, including open access journals)?

3. Is the journal indexed in a key database such as Web of KnowledgePsycINFO, etc.

4. Does the journal or publisher appear in Cabell's Blacklist?

5. Are impact metrics provided by the journal recognized? (lack of impact metrics does not indicate low journal quality, as not all reputable journals have impact metrics)

6. Is the publisher a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)?

Additional questions to consider:

  • Is the journal's peer-review process clearly stated?
  • Do you or your colleagues read and recommend the journal?
  • Have you reviewed issues of the journal? Check for quality of writing and research.
  • Are the author processing fees clearly outlined?
  • Are the article rejection rates available and comparable with related journals?

Sources: CARL website "How to asses a journal", 

Consult these checklists for further help:

Quality Indicators - Open Access Journals

Predatory Conferences

Predatory conferences operate like predatory journals. They often charge high registration fees and focus on profit over scholarly communication. They use spam email tactics to promote their events and may even advertise speakers who have not committed to present at the conference. 

If you are unsure about the credibility of a conference, there are some things you can do:

  • Determine if the conference is hosted by a university, or government or research institution. 
  • Predatory conferences are often advertised as one-time occurrence, rather than an annual event. If it an annual conference, you can check the previous programmes and lists of speakers to help assess the quality or significance of the conference.
  • Determine if there is a peer-review process for submissions, if so, what is the acceptance rate?
  • Often there will also be an opportunity to get your research published in the journal associated with the conference. Check whether the publication is indexed in any of the major databases in your field and examine the quality of research published in previous issues.