Skip to main content
Definition of "Predatory Publishing"
Coined by Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the Auraria Library, University of Denver, the term "predatory publishing" refers to a questionable business practice of charging fees to authors to publish their articles without standard editorial and publishing services provided by legitimate scholarly journals. For updates, please see the Wikipedia entries
Predatory open access publishing and Predatory conferences.
Should I Publish in This Journal?
This guide was created to help answer the following questions, upon receiving an invitation from a publisher:
Should I publish my article in a particular journal?
Should I pay article processing charges to publish in an Open Access journal?
Should I edit a special issue for a particular journal?
Should I accept the invitation to serve on the editorial board of a particular journal?
Should I accept the invitation to be a keynote speaker at a particular conference?
When in doubt, feel free to reach out to your
subject specialist librarian at Rutgers University Libraries.
Predatory Publishers on the Rise
Jeffrey Beall's numbers of predatory publishers from 2011 to 2016 show a dramatic increase.
Warning Signs / Red Flags
Flattering email to invite you to submit an article or serve on the editorial board of a "scholarly" journal
poor language with typos and awkward style
vocabulary below industry standard with multisyllabic words
offer sounds too good to be true
sounds similar to a reputable publication (words are in different order or mixed from several other titles)
contains prestigious-sounding but potentially vague terms such as "advanced", "global","international", "universal", "world", "open", (although these words are also used by reputable journals)
might be hijacked from a legitimate academic journal: a bogus website offers rapid publication for a fee
Website with information on the journal, editorial board, and publisher
site looks amateurish and unprofessional (layout, typos, poor quality pictures, flashy ads, dead links, abundance of well known logos)
multiple pages "under construction", including current and past issues, editorial board
missing, scarce, or contradictory information on "About Us" page (claiming a US address - check with Google Maps)
contact information is missing, incomplete, or leads to unavailable links
unclear or falsely claimed affiliation to scholarly associations or reputable organizations
same publisher publishes multiple journals with a broad scope and from different disciplines
editors and editorial board members are from all over the world and have no academic credentials (or are unaware that they are listed!)
Metrics and indexing
no ISSN, no DOI
invented or fake metrics (sounding similar to established metrics used by reputable journals)
Impact Factor can't be verified in Journal Citation Reports
falsely claimed to be indexed, e.g., in
DOAJ not listed in reputable sources such as Ulrich's Periodical Directory
Article processing and peer review
lack of clear instructions to authors
lack of transparency or policies about fees related to publishing
article processing fees look below that of reputable open access journals
peer review process is not clearly explained
peer review seems to be extremely fast (i.e., days) - may be non-existent
articles are to be submitted via email (some predatory publishers use legitimate editorial manager systems - it doesn't make them legitimate)
journal and/or publisher is already listed on Beall's list
listed on Cabell's Blacklist
What Are Predatory Publishers?
From University of Manitoba Libraries (1:18)
Common Features in Predatory Invitations
Language is boastful, editorialized
Missing standards: ISSN, DOI, IF
Overly polite, but clumsy
See document below for more, including examples.