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Publishing your Research

This guide contains information about choosing a journal, predatory publishing, author rights, and research impact.

What are Predatory and Questionable Publishers?

“Predatory Publishers” is a term used to describe publishers that exploit the open access “author pays” business model for their own profit, while conducting little or no peer review or editing work. There are many aspects that can make a journal or publisher an illegitimate place to publish your work. On this page, we will use the term “questionable publishers” rather than predatory to better illustrate the range of potential disreputable practices.

A common misconception is that all Open Access (OA) journals are questionable. In fact, there are thousands of reputable, high-quality OA journals (see the lists and resources below). Questionable publishers merely take advantage of OA models.

Recognizing Questionable Publishers and Journals

Using a premade list of predatory/questionable journals seems like an easy way to find out which journals are questionable. However, these lists are often comprised using outdated methodology and focus on OA journals, ignoring journals published traditionally engaging in questionable practices. Instead, thinking critically about individual journals and their practices is a more reliable technique.

Some characteristics of predatory publishers:

  • Journal title is similar to one well-established and respected in the field
  • Journal website mimics well-established journal
  • False impact factors or claiming nonexistent metrics
  • Editorial board lists people who are
  • Non-professional email addresses used (gmail, hotmail, etc.)
  • Call for papers comes from an unknown source
  • Call for your paper is extremely flattering
  • Previously published articles have many errors, or you cannot easily find past issues
  • Peer-review process is not explained or is extremely quick
  • Claims to be indexed in prestigious databases when it is not
  • Journal does not have an ISSN or DOIs for articles

If you are ever in doubt about a publisher, ask your liaison librarian for help.

Tools and Resources