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Predatory Journals & Conferences

Predatory Journals

What is a "Predatory" Journal?

In the simplest terms, predatory journals and publishers do not follow best practices for publishing scholarly work - e.g., appear to be motivated primarily by profit and/or may disregard accepted standards for scholarly quality control, ethics, copyright law etc.  Having your work appear in such journals may harm your professional reputation.

Potential Characteristics

Potential Characteristics

While there is no single definitive list of criteria guaranteeing that a journal is "predatory" here are some characteristics of concern to look out for:

  • Lack of quality peer-review: e.g., reviewers lack subject expertise and/or the publication timeline is too short for legitimate review.
  • The editorial board includes fictitious scholars; scholars from unrelated disciplines and/or those who have been listed without their knowledge.
  • Information about publishing costs or article processing charges is unclear, misleading or unavailable.
  • You cannot verify the impact factors claimed by the journal.
  • The journal is not indexed in the scholarly databases for your discipline.
    • Note, it can take several years for a new journal to be indexed, even when it's a quality publication. 
    • For a newer, non-indexed journal it's important to assess the publication's academic rigour, ethical standards, "fit" with your subject, etc.
  • You cannot verify claims of affiliation with reputable professional associations.
  • The journal sends repeat unsolicited offers.
  • The journal agrees to publish your work even if your expertise/ subject area is outside the scope of the journal.
  • Journal titles are nearly identical to well-known/reputable journals - making it easy to mistake which is which.
  • Information about who actually publishes/profits from the journal is unclear or unavailable.
  • The journal has poor production values, e.g., unprofessional formatting, blurry images, illegible print etc.
  • The journal includes content that may be infringing copyright and/or lacks appropriate attributions.

Video: Authors Beware [15:05]