Skip to Main Content

Predatory Publishing

The purpose of this guide is to help you understand what is predatory journals and how to identify them.


Have you felt the excitement of receiving an email inviting you to submit your paper to a conference (you've never heard of?)?

Have you been invited to publish or be an editor for a journal (you've never heard of?)?

Welcome to the world of Predatory Publishing. 

In the following pages, we will provide you with concrete steps to identify predatory publishers and what you can do to avoid them!

For questions not answered by this guide, please email [email] and we will try our best to help you !

What is it?

Predatory publishers and predatory conference organisers are broadly understood as those motivated by profit rather than scholarship, who exploit the pressure on researchers to publish papers and participate in international conferences, respectively. Traits common to both so-called predatory journals and conferences include deceitful practice; little, poor or no peer-review and/or editorial control; and the fraudulent use of the names of established journals, institutions or researchers. (Definition provided by Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences published by InterAcademy Partnership)

Other ways these predator publishers try to prove legitimacy include:

  • claiming to be indexed in legitimate indices (like Scopus or Web of Science) or highlighting being indexed in DOAJ and Google Scholar. Read: Some journals say they are indexed in DOAJ but they are not.
  • using names similar to well-established journals or conferences
  • falsifying impact factors or other criteria often used to establish credibility

Reasons to avoid predatory publishing

Submitting your work to a predatory publisher may have some consequences that you might not have considered:

  • Many predatory publishers often charge an acceptance fee upfront, often calling them article processing charges (to sound similar to traditional open-access publishing)
    • Note: Article Processing Charges are common in open access publishing, but will be collected AFTER peer review and a decision has been made, not beforehand
  • Your work might become invisible:
    • articles may not be published or take a long time to be published
    • articles may not be discoverable through the different search interfaces researchers use
    • the journal/conference itself might disappear and your work will no longer be out there
  • if you are going up for review at your institution, your work may be disregarded or discounted by reviewers