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Open Access and Depositing your Research: Predatory publishers

What is predatory publishing?

Predatory open access publishing uses a business model that exploits authors by charging publication fees without providing the editorial and publishing services that authors expect from legitimate journals.

The rise of on-line open access (OA) has profound implications for academic publishing, not least the shift from subscribers to authors as the primary transactional partners for peer-reviewed journals. Although OA offers many benefits, it also paves the way for predatory publishers, who exploit the author-as-customer model to obtain revenue from author fees while providing few of the editorial services associated with academic publishing. Predatory journals publish papers with little or no peer review, and often disguise their real geographical location while exaggerating their scope and editorial expertise. Such journals also attempt to attract authors by promising unrealistically rapid editorial decisions while falsely claiming peer review, and fabricating impact factors and inclusion in academic indexes. The explosive increase in predatory OA journals is not only a risk to inexperienced authors, but also threatens to undermine the OA model and the legitimate communication of research.  

Ward, S.M., 2016. The Rise of Predatory Publishing: How To Avoid Being ScammedWeed Science 64(4):772-778


How to spot a predatory publisher

View the useful video produced by Cambridge University Office of Scholarly Communication on

How to spot a predatory publisher 

How to identify reputable publishers

  • Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including address, on the journal site. Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.
  • Check that a journal's editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. Contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
  • Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.
  • Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members.
  • Read some of the journal's published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experience.
  • Check that a journal's peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct.
  • Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals ( or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (
  • Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.

Butler, D.,2013.  Investigating journals: the dark side of publishing. Nature [online] 495, 432-435

Buyer beware: A checklist to identify reputable publishers

Have you received an email like this?

Dear Prof./Dr.,

Manuscripts Submission

We are an international open access peer reviewed journals publisher, covering all academic disciplines. We welcome submission of original research articles for evaluation and publication in our upcoming issue.

Submission its via E-mail: < > . Our Peer-Review Evaluation Process normally takes 1-3 weeks to complete depending on the number of rounds the Peer-Review Evaluation Process needs to take place before an article is published. X is indexed by well recognize international database such as Google Scholar, Centage Learning, Chemical Abstract Society and many more.



How to avoid Predatory journals

Beware Predatory Open Access publishers!

REF 2021 stipulates that all journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN, accepted for publication after 1st April 2016, should be made Open Access within 3 months from acceptance in order to be eligible.

  • How do you know which open access journals NOT to publish in?
  • Is the journal you have chosen a reputable academic one with a robust peer-reviewing system?
  • Does it have an impact factor?
  • Have you checked DOAJ for yourself?

  • Look for trusted journals using the "think, check, submit" checklists
  • Look at the American Journal Experts checklist
  • Use Stop Predatory Journals an information professionals' community successor to Beall's list . Be aware that this listing may include new journals so use with care.


Predatory Conferences

Think.Check.Attend.  is an initiative that aims to guide and assist researchers and scholars to judge the legitimacy and academic credentials of conferences in order to help them decide whether to or not attend…

Caltech have produced a very useful guide to questionable conferences based on Beall's list.

See also the article in Times Higher Education 12 January 2017 : Warning: conmen and shameless scholars operate in this area.  James McCrostie was shocked to discover the extent of ‘predatory conferences’, but even more shocked by those abetting them.

Useful guide by Eaton, S. E. (2018). Avoiding Predatory Journals and Questionable Conferences: A Resource Guide, CC BY NC SA

How do you check for journal impact factors?

Established journals are included in lists such as SJR and CWTS Jourrnal Indicators  based on Scopus.

See also blogpost Strategic approaches to getting your work published