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Where to publish your research article: Predatory Publishers

Information and resources to help you make important decisions about where to publish your research.

What is predatory publishing?

Essentially predatory publishers are those who charge a fee for the publication of either articles or books without providing any of the publication services an author would expect such a fee to cover. This exploits the Open Access publishing model which charges for publication, but provides author services such as peer review to ensure that academic standards are met. Missing out these important steps can result in bad quality research entering the scholarly landscape. (Claire Sewell, Cambridge University)

Prof Johann Mouton and Astrid Valentine (Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST)) highlight the following characteristics of a predatory journal or publisher according to certain categories in their article, The extent of South African authored articles in predatory journals. Look out for the following:

Business model Predatory journals are open access journals and they exist for the only purpose to make profit
Origin of papers They spam researchers to solicit manuscripts from them, usually by using their Yahoo or Gmail accounts.
Journal titles Predatory journals usually have very broad titles or titles with a strange combination of scopes, for example, Global Journal of Advanced Research or Journal of Economics and Engineering
Time to publication  Journals will promise extremely rapid response and publication times. They will also publish a very high number of papers per year. This may be one of the best indications that a journal is a predatory journal, as it is not possible for any editor to handle so many papers and at the same time use proper peer review.
Journal metrics They will often give fake journal impact factors as well as false information on where the journals are indexed.  
Peer review Predatory journals usually have fake editorial boards or editorial boards that consist of a small number of individuals from the same organisation or country. They may also include scholars on an editorial board without their knowledge.
Contact information They will list false or unreliable contact information, which does not clearly state their location or misrepresents the headquarters location.

Other characteristics are also highlighted by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, for example:

  • Little attention paid to digital preservation
  • Not necessarily indexed in electronic databases
  • Journals may be short lived
  • No archiving policy

How to avoid predatory publishers and journals