It is important to avoid publishing with publishers who display unethical practices. These Publishers often claim that your work will be peer reviewed. Sometimes their web pages also display fictitious impact factors.

These publishers motivation is to profit from the fee you pay for publication. 

The publisher could potentially own the articles copyright under the laws of the country in which the publisher resides.

You can damage your reputation when publishing with predatory publishers. Your work is unlikely to be indexed or accessible in major databases.

Sample template

This template might be used to send to the predatory journal publisher if you realise that your manuscript has mistakenly been submitted to a predatory publisher. There is no guarantee that the withdrawal of the manuscript will be successful.   

Predatory or deceptive publishers

Characteristics of predatory journals & publishers:

Some ‘predatory or deceptive publishers’ have taken the development of the open access author-pays academic publishing model, as an opportunity to make money.

 Predatory or deceptive publishers are known to:

  • Create counterfeit websites that impersonate the website of a legitimate scholarly journal, with the aim of soliciting manuscript submissions and publication charges. The legitimate journal being counterfeited may publish only in print, not have an online portal, or use another online web domain for its online journal issues.
  • Make dubious claims about the quality or credentials of a journal, e.g. citing a pseudo ‘journal impact factor’ purchased from companies such as the Global Institute for Scientific Information (GISI) which could easily be mistaken for a ‘journal impact factor (JIF)’ published by Thomson Reuters (previously ISI). The Australian Research Council and ERA now recognize Quartile journal ranks, and discourage the use of Journal Impact Factors.
  • Have websites with spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Adopt a journal name that is easily mistaken for that of another established title, or incorrectly identified with an established institution or professional association.
  • Publish a journal that includes material from multiple disciplines not normally associated together, e.g. International Journal on Recent Trends in Life Science and Mathematics.
  • Release an overwhelmingly large suite of new journals all at one time.
  • Publish content of the journal which varies from the title and stated scope.
  • Use false addresses, or indicate no address or contact details.
  • Website or email domains do not match the purported address of the publisher. 
  • Use generic email accounts (i.e. Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo etc.) for Chief Editors or other editors. Ideally, email addresses should indicate the academics' institution.
  • Solicit papers from potential authors directly via email. Some legitimate academic publishers might contact authors directly about a relevant special issue of a journal, or announce a new journal, but it is not standard practice.
  • Provide limited editorial support.
  • Fail to meet established standards with respect to peer review.
  • Falsely list editor(s).
  • Charge non-advertised publication fees after accepting an article for publication.
  • Falsely claim that the publication is listed or indexed by reputable services, e.g. DOAJ, Scopus, Web of Science.

Help from a Librarian

A checklist and further reading

Before publishing with any journal, you should check that:

The journal has an ISSN in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory
It is indexed in established databases related to that discipline. This information is also available in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory.
If Open Access, the journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
The journal does not claim pseudo ‘journal impact factors’ from organisations such as the Global Institute for Scientific Information (GISI).
The journal is in fact indexed in the databases in which it claims.

The editor(s) have been legitimately appointed. Check the editor(s) online academic CV or profile for accuracy or authenticity.

The journal and publisher are not listed in the Stop predatory journals or Beall's list of predatory journals & publishers**. Please note that these lists are not definitive and may not be up to date. The reason(s) for including specific journals or publishers are not stated and users should conduct due diligence in this regard.

** Beall's List - published by Jeffrey Beall (University of Colorado, Library) was discontinued in early 2017, but is updated anonymously on this site.

Further information is available from ‘Think, Check, Submit’

Further reading:

Dadkhah, M., Maliszewski, T., & Teixeira da Silva, J. A. (2016). Hijacked journals, hijacked web-sites, journal phishing, misleading metrics, and predatory publishing: actual and potential threats to academic integrity and publishing ethics. Forensic Sci Med Pathol, 12(3), 353-362. doi:10.1007/s12024-016-9785-x

Butler, D. (2013). Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing. Nature, 495(7442), 433-435. Retrieved from: https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/1328550659?accountid=10344

Mercier, E., Tardif, P.-A., Moore, L., Le Sage, N., & Cameron, P. A. (2017). Invitations received from potential predatory publishers and fraudulent conferences: a 12-month early-career researcher experience. Postgraduate Medical Journal. doi:10.1136/postgradmedj-2017-135097

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