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Open Access

This page contains information on how to avoid predatory journals. It includes information on how to evaluate a journal, how to tell if a journal is legit, how to tell if a journal is predatory.

Avoiding Predatory Journals

What is a Predatory Publisher?

A predatory publisher is a publisher that exploits academic publishing by charging fees to publish works, without providing scholarly publishing services like peer-review and editing. Predatory publishers take advantage of authors interested in open access by claiming to follow the gold open access model, a model where it is typical for publishers to charge article processing fees instead of charging users via subscriptions, but then the predatory publishers do not provide important quality standards like peer-review and editing - because the main goal of predatory publishing is to make money!

Best Practices for Avoiding Predatory Open Access Publishers

  • Think.Check.Submit - Think.Check.Submit offers a check list that can help inform authors to whether a journal is the right match for their research.
  • Indexing - Does the journal appear in common indexes and databases for the given subject area?
  • ISSN - Does the journal have an International Standard Serial Number? ISSN is a national and international standard for serial publications for both electronic and print versions of journals. It is not difficult for a publisher to obtain an ISSN.
  • Quality - Does the website look professional? Are previous publications of high quality?
  • Transparency - Are their clear guidelines? Are all fees clear? Are author rights explained?
  • Memberships - Check to see if the journal a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), or the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
  • Colleagues - Do you know colleagues that have published in the journal?
  • Trust your judgement - If something feels off or is too good to be true, then it probably is! 

Characteristics of Predatory Open Access Journals

  • For profit - The primary goal of predatory journals is to make money, so there will be fees.
  • Recruitment - Did the publisher try to recruit you? Did you receive an invitation to submit to journals? Do the journals barely relate to your field?
  • Accepting articles quickly - Is there little or no peer-review? Does the peer-review process seem too fast for a quality review to be performed?
  • Poor quality - Is there little or no editing process? 
  • Fake claims or metrics - Do the claims of impact factors seem correct after researching the journal? Have you heard of the editorial board members and know their reputation?
  • Shady business practices - Did hidden fees come up? Are things not as advertised? 
Think.Check.Submit

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