Beware of predatory journals and conferences!
- Many predatory journals - also called fraudulent or deceptive journals - are found in open access journals.
- To avoid predatory journals, please assess the credentials of Journals and publishers before submitting manuscripts.
- Even when co-authored manuscripts are submitted by other institutes, please confirm the credentials of journals and publishers.
- Please also pay attention to predatory conferences.
What Is a Predatory Journal?
The recent open access movement in scholarly publishing has brought an unintended consequence of the rise of numerous predatory journals, which simply aim to profit from article processing charges without conducting proper peer review or offering editorial services. Since the scientific quality of articles published in predatory journals is questionable, they are recognized as a global concern in scholarly publishing.
Publishing in a predatory journal may have negative consequences such as the ones below[2,3].
- - Raising concerns about the legitimacy of the research.
- - Damaging the external reputation of the authors.
- - Receiving an unreasonable bill for publication fees after the acceptance of the manuscript.
- - Unable to retract the manuscript after it has been submitted or accepted for publication.
- - Creating academic confusion and negative social impacts if the manuscript is flawed.
- - Giving negative impacts on the education of young, inexperienced researchers.
- - Disappearing the published article when the journal is closed.
- - Unable to deal with copyright infringement.
- - Wasting research and funding.
Predatory journals have some common characteristics as below[1,4].
- - Aggressive or flattering email invitations are sent to a large number of individuals.
- - Journal websites are not professional in quality and contain spelling and grammatical errors.
- - No verifiable contact information is provided.
- - Editorial board members are not experts in the journal scope.
- - Publication fees are hidden or only disclosed after the manuscript has been accepted.
- - Review policy and process are not clearly stated.
- - No retraction or copyright transfer policy is mentioned.
- - Expedited peer review and publication processes are promised.
- - False impact factors or fake metrics are provided.
- - Low publication fees (e.g. less than $150) are advertised.
How to Avoid Predatory Journals?
While the lack of a unified definition of predatory journals makes it difficult to determine which journals are predatory, a checklist for assessing the credentials of a journal or publisher is available from Think. Check. Submit..
Think. Check. Submit.
Reference this list for your chosen journal to check if it is trusted.
- - Do you or your colleagues know the journal?
- - Can you easily identify and contact the publisher?
- - Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses?
- - Are articles indexed in services that you use?
- - Is it clear what fees will be charged?
- - Do you recognize the editorial board?
- - Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative?
The following online resources are useful for confirming the indexing status of journals and the membership of publishers.
Databases indexing journals and other scholarly publications with certain criteria:
Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics)
Online directory indexing open access journals with certain criteria:
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
Nonprofit organization for the ethics of scholarly publishing:
Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)
Association for open access publishers with membership criteria:
Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA))
A list of potential predatory journals and publishers created by Jeffrey Beall in the US was publicly available by 2017 as "Beall’s List", including 1294 journals and 1155 publishers. Currently, the list is kept up-to-date by an anonymous researcher and is available at the following website.
Beall’s List (original and update)
The Beall's List is pointed out to contain non-predatory journals and publishers due to the criteria employed for the list. Likewise, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), which is often used as a "white list", contains journals indexed in so-called "black lists" such as Beall’s List and others. In addition, a legitimate journal can suddenly turn into a predatory journal. Thus, it is sometimes difficult to determine predatory journals relying on a single source of information.
To avoid predatory journals, please assess the credentials of journals and publishers using the above diverse sources of information before submitting manuscripts.
Predatory Conferences - Another Predatory Model
A similar predatory model is found for predatory conferences, which solely aim to profit from the attendees without conducting proper peer review.
A checklist for assessing the legitimacy and credentials of conferences is available from Think. Check. Attend.. The checklist describes judging points regarding organizers, sponsors, agenda, editorial committee and conference proceedings.
Think. Check. Attend.
A list of potential predatory conferences created by Dana Roth in the US is available at the following website, while it should be noted that the list contains only a portion of existing predatory conferences.
Please refer the above checklist and predatory list to avoid predatory conferences.
-  Grudniewicz A, Moher D, Cobey KD, et al. 2019. Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature, 576, 210-212.
-  Ferris LE, Winker MA. 2017. Ethical issues in publishing in predatory journals. Biochemia Medica, 27, 279-284.
-  Richtig G, Berger M, Lange-Asschenfeldt B, Aberer W, Richtig E. 2018. Problems and challenges of predatory journals. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology & Venereology, 32, 1441-1449.
-  Shamseer L, Moher D, Maduekwe O, et al., 2017. Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine, 15, 28.
-  https://thinkchecksubmit.org/
-  Beall J. 2017. What I learned from predatory publishers. Biochemia Medica, 27, 273-278.
-  https://beallslist.net/
-  Olivarez JD, Bales S, Sare L, vanDuinkerken W. 2018. Format aside: applying Beall's criteria to assess the predatory nature of both OA and non-OA library and information science journals. College & Research Libraries, 79, 52-67.
-  Strinzel M, Severin A, Milzow K, Egger M. 2019. Blacklists and whitelists to tackle predatory publishing: a cross-sectional comparison and thematic analysis. mBio, 10, e00411-19.
-  https://thinkcheckattend.org/
-  https://libguides.caltech.edu/c.php?g=512665&p=3503029