Faculty Publishing Guide: Predatory Journals

What are Predatory Journals?


The Definition of a Predatory Journal

In an article published in Naturea group of scholars and publishers from ten countries put forth the following definition of a predatory journal: 

“Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.”

Features of Predatory Journals

The following are characteristics that many predatory journals have in common. This list was originally proposed by Jeffrey Beall and has since been modified by others. This iteration of the list has been taken from Stop Predatory Journals.

  • Charging exorbitant rates for publication of articles in conjunction with a lack of peer-review or editorial oversight.
  • Notifying authors of fees only after acceptance.
  • Targeting scholars through mass-email spamming in attempts to get them to publish or serve on editorial boards.
  • Quick acceptance of low-quality papers, including hoax papers.
  • Listing scholars as members of editorial boards without their permission or not allowing them to resign.
  • Listing fake scholars as members of editorial boards or authors.
  • Copying the visual design and language of the marketing materials and websites of legitimate, established journals.
  • Fraudulent or improper use of ISSNs.
  • Giving false information about the location of the publishing operation.
  • Fake, non-existent, or mis-represented impact factors.

How to Avoid Them

Below are resources that can be used to identify predatory journals to avoid, or quality journals that you can submit your work to. Always remember that Librarians can help you with this work. If you are in need of assistance, please Ask a Librarian.

A Note About Beall's List

Beall's list is widely regarded by many but is not without criticism. It doesn't mean the source is unreliable, but if you would like to know what the criticisms are please read the article published in Nature "Controversial website that lists 'predatory' publishers shuts down".