Skip to Main Content

Choosing Where to Publish: Predatory publishing

Created by Health Science Librarians

Is it a predatory journal?

Predatory journals take advantage of researchers, faculty, students, and other authors by luring them to publish in a questionable journal.  Some key characteristics of questionable journals are

•Exploits faculty, researchers, & students for money
•Solicits authors, reviewers, & editors via spam emails
•Provides incomplete, incorrect, or no information about fees
•Steals legitimate journals’ identities, content, & logos
•Implies value by using misleading or fake metrics
•Performs little or no copyediting, proofreading, or peer review, or reviewers may be unqualified
•No editor, fake editors, no review board, insufficient number of board members, or same editors for journals of different disciplines
•Publishes a large set of unrelated journals

Misleading metrics

There are several common measures of impact including ISI's Journal Impact Factor, the Eigenfactor, SCImago Journal Ranking, and a few others.

Common measures of research impact

Predatory journals often try to mislead researchers by providing names of metrics that are very similar to real metrics, as seen in the following list.

•Digital Online Identifier-Database System
•Global Impact Factor
•Institute for Science Information
•Journals Impact Factor (JIFACTOR)
•Science Impact Factor
•Scientific Journal Impact Factor
•SCIJOURNAL.ORG (International Scientific Institute)

Some of these metrics try to use the prestige of the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) or sound similar to the Digital Object Identifier (DOI).  Did it work on you?

Common tricks predatory publishers use

•Unsolicited contact following recent publication/presentation

•Doesn’t match your field of research

•Acknowledges you as a busy and important researcher (doing you a favor)

•Gives you a short deadline to decide

•Offers you a discount on publishing costs if you submit by the deadline

•Charges excessive fees for publication

•Publishes your work immediately

•Accepts just about anything content-wise

How to check a journal

Search for the journal on the web

•Don’t EVER click links in your email if you don’t know the sender

•Are there angry posts or negative articles about the journal?

•Beall’s list still “exists” but you can evaluate journals yourself!


Check out the journal’s website! Look for

•the journal’s contact information

•what the journal has published (past issues)

•the editorial board

•author instructions/ article fees

•what other journals the company publishes


Check where it is indexed by searching for the journal title in Ulrich's directory of journals.  If it's not listed, or if it's not indexed in any well-known databases, it may be predatory!

How can I tell what is reputable?

Beall's Lists
List of the [alleged] bad guys:
List of hijacked journals:
List of misleading metrics:
Note: Beall's lists are no longer available on the web.  These are archived links.
Or check resources such as:
Scopus (compare journals)
Web of Science Journal Citation Reports
SCImago Journal Ranking Lists