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Predatory Publishing

Predatory Publishing Red Flags

There are many warning signs that you can use to come to your own conclusions about the reliability of the publication. These can include, but are not limited to:

Graphic of paper with checkmarksStandards

  • Does the publication follow normally accepted standards of scholarly publishing?
  • Does the time between submission and publication look too good to be true? If so, they might be bypassing peer-review.

Graphic of pencil writing on paperEditorial Board

  • Does the journal list editorial board members, including names and affiliations?
  • Are they well-known experts in the field? Consider contacting them to be sure they are actually on the editorial board.

Graphic of map locationOwnership and Management

  • Does the journal's website include information that clearly identifies the owner?
  • Is their contact information listed?
  • Try searching the address in Google Maps - does it look like a legitimate business?

Graphic of person giving reviewPeer Review

  • Is most of the journal's content peer-reviewed?
  • Are the criteria for peer-review described clearly and thoroughly on the journal's website?

Author FeesGraphic of dollar sign

  • Is information about fees available and easy to locate prior to submitting articles for publication?
  • Are the author fees exorbitant? Excessive author fees could be a sign of a predatory publisher.

Graphic of briefcaseProfessionalism

  • Does the journal website look professional? Are there spelling or grammar mistakes?
  • If invited to publish by email, does the email make sense or does it have obvious errors?
  • Was the invitation clearly a form email?

When evaluating a publisher, you can also work your way through Lewis Library's Publisher Evaluation Guidelines. This is an interactive tool that helps you determine red flags for a journal and can assist you in identifying predatory journals.