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University of Minnesota

Kathryn A. Martin Library

Scholarly Publishing

What you need to know about journal impacts, acceptance rates, peer-review status, UMD's institutional repository, and who is citing whom.

Avoid Predatory Journals and Publishers

Predatory Publishers: Aggressive marketing to unsuspecting authors, fictional editorial boards, little or no peer review, unqualified reviewers, and generally poor editorial quality are issues that plague the journal publishing landscape.  Regardless of whether a journal asks for an APC or is subscription based, authors can critically evaluate journals before submitting their manuscripts. Contact a Subject Librarian for assistance.

Librarians helping researchers avoid predatory journals and publishers

Lists of Predatory Publishers

Open Access Publishing does have its detractors. Often critics of OA will note the existence of predatory publishers and malicious rights agreements as a way of defaming and discrediting the concepts and movement. Regardless of publishing in a traditional or oepn access environment, librarians and Intellectual Property Managers caution all scholars to read and analyze deposit and submission agreements.

We have included two resources to aid in the conversation:

more information

Tactic How to Recognize
  • Flattering email to invite you to submit an article or serve on the editorial board of a "scholarly" journal
  • Suspect journals aggressively solicit scholars to submit papers.  The solicitation may come as spam or individual emails. Legitimate journals usually do not solicit authors but instead have the authors contact them.
  • The journal agrees to publish your article for a fee before reviewing it.
Article Processing and Peer Review
  • Asked whom you would like to review your work. 
  • 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)
Impact Factors
  • Be wary of journals that cite bogus impact factors, such as the GIF ( Global Impact Factor), Index Copernicus Value, Citefactor, or the UIF (Universal Impact Factor). Some may falsify legitimate impact factors. Impact Factors can be verified via Web of Science, Dimensions or Google.
Editorial Board
  • Members of the editorial board lack qualifications in the field.
  • Different  journals by the same publisher have the same editorial board.
  • Predatory journals will sometimes  solicit well-known scholars to join their boards in order to lend credibility to their journal but don't let them make decisions. (How you would make this discovery even with good due diligence is hard to imagine.)
  • Listing academics as members of editorial boards without their permission and not allowing academics to resign from editorial boards.
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
  • The journal is not indexed in the major indexes in the field as well as general indexes, even though it might claim to be.
  • Some journals falsely claim to be indexed by Thomson Reuters.
Watch lists
  • The journal is listed on Beall's List of Predatory Journals, Cabell's Predatory Journals list, or other watchlist.
Other Factors
  • The journal is difficult to locate in library catalogs, i.e. few major libraries subscribe to it.
  •  The scope is overly broad and/or does not fit well with your research.
  • Publication frequency is irregular or not stated.
  • May have the same or similar name to a legitimate journal. The former is characteristic of hijacked journals.
  • The email address is often non-professional, e.g.,  (, or