Predatory Journals


What is a Predatory Journal?

Predatory Journals take advantage of authors by asking them to publish for a fee without providing peer-review or editing services. The predatory publishers offer suspiciously quick publishing of articles because they omit proper academic standards for publishing.

How are the predatory journals different than the Open Access journals?

The Open Access journals may ask authors to publish for a fee but maintain high peer review and editing standards. The goal of Open Access publishing is to open research to a larger audience by removing payments. The Open Access journals can have Impact Factors and can be advantageous for authors regarding citation.

Why are there predators in publishing?

  • Publishing in major scientific journals is subject to the quality review process, which takes quite a long time.
  • The publishing fees in prestigious journals are pretty high, and it is uncertain whether the article is accepted.
  • The publishing fees in predatory journals are lower.
  • The publishing process in predatory journals is faster and easier because it has low-quality articles.
  • Predators use the internet and lure authors into publishing via e-mail (spam with offers etc.)

More information on the website Stop predatory journals


Common characteristics of predatory journals

  • The primary goal is to make money (there will be fees).
  • The quality of the work published is low: there is no or little editing, low-quality articles.
  • The peer review is suspiciously quick. The journal is not transparent about the peer-review process.
  • They engage in unethical business practices (i.e., not as advertised, it is difficult to contact the publisher).
  • The journal´s name is very similar to the prestige journal, also the website looks similar (List of Hijacked journals can help).
  • On the website they give false information, the website has spelling mistakes, etc.
  • They provide false information about the indexing of the journal in selected databases.
  • The Impact Factor value is either incorrectly stated (intentionally overestimated), invalid or according to JCR (Journal Citation Reports) has no Impact Factor.
  • The members of the editorial board are often fictional, or they are stated without their consent.
  • They don´t provide information on how the articles are digitally stored.
  • They allow the author to publish and release his article in Open Access; for a fee.
  • Some of them publish Index Copernicus ratings on their websites. Beware, not all journals featuring this index are predators.


How can you spot a predatory journal?

  1. Do you or your colleagues know the journal? Do you recognize the editorial board?
  2. Check the articles published in the journal.
  3. Carefully check the details of the publisher and the journal itself: contact details (which may not be complete), peer review information, members of the editorial board, and payment information.
  4. Is the journal Open Access? If so, is it listed in DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals)?
  5. If the journal or publisher is listed in the Sherpa Romeo database, check the conditions for archiving the articles.
  6. Have others identified the journal as predatory?
    • Google the journal-title with the word predatory.
    • You can also check Cabells Scholarly Analytics (the paid database of predatory journals) to see if the journal is listed in Cabell’s Predatory Reports (see ASK A LIBRARIAN).
    • You can check the original Beall´s list of predatory publishers and journals. In 2017 the blog was deleted and now it is in the archive.
    • Check the anonymous follower of the Beall´s list. In the bookmark "Other" there is the list of Hijacked journals and the list of Misleading metrics.
  7. Does the journal have an Impact Factor, or do they list one on their website? Confirm it!
  8. ASK A LIBRARIAN. Our library can help you to check journals or publishers.
    Contact us: The service is provided only for the MENDELU employees.
  9. Before publishing, we recommend checking the journal by the website Think.Check.Submit, which helps authors with the choice of the publisher.


Predatory conferences

Predatory conferences and also publishing of the proceedings papers after conferences are a growing problem.

Some scientific conferences will not take place properly. The conference proceedings are not indexed in the Web of Science or Scopus databases and the peer review process is missing. The conferences don´t have any information on their website about what kind of publication is produced from the conference or where the articles and proceedings will be published. Tips on How to Identify and Avoid Predatory Conference and 9 Signs a conference is fake warn to attend an unknow and fake conferences.

The predatory conferences often copy existing legitimate conferences: this article Inside a “Fake” Conference: A Journey Into Predatory Science describes the predatory conferences´ practices.

Before attending the conference: Think Check Attend.

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