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Journal Evaluation & Measuring Author Impact

What is Predatory/Deceptive Publishing?

Received an overly flattering email encouraging you to publish with a new exciting sounding journal?

When searching for a place to publish your work, did you come across a new journal that you have never heard of?

Before you send your manuscript, take a few minutes to check up on that journal. Just as technology has made it possible for the Open Access movement to make academic information more widely available, it has also made it much easier for scammers to take advantage of academics who are trying to make their work more accessible. 

Predatory or deceptive publishers charge authors Article Processing Charges (APC's), as do legitimate Open Access journals. However these predatory journals then fail to meet scholarly publishing standards, such as maintaining a rigorous peer review process, and ensuring the long term digital preservation of works published in their journals. These journals also do not follow standard publishing policies advocated for by organizations such as The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). They abuse the open access author-pays model for their own profit, taking advantage of the need for academics to provide open access to publicly funded research, and these actions reflect poorly on the many high quality Open Access journals that are available. Many predatory journals are also not indexed in well established academic databases, meaning that other scholars will not have easy access to your work.

Over the past few years, predatory publishers have become such a problem that the NIH has released a statement expressing concerns about its impact on grant funded research. The FTC has also expressed deep concern over this issue.

How to Avoid Predatory Publishers

List of (potentially) predatory online/open access journals:

Lists of online/open access journals (likely) to be legitimate:   


However, while the above list can be used as a starting place, relying on this list alone obscures subjective criteria from consideration during evaluation, and can overly simplify the issue.

It can also reinforce existing unequal publication power structures in the academic world. For example, new journals or journals from low or middle income countries may be more likely to end up on lists of predatory journals.

Journal evaluation is more complext than it might first appear, and we recommend evaluating each journal on its own merits using a set of established criteria to help balance the need to determine a journal's quality while not reinforcing the unequal status quo in academic publication.


Librarians at Scott Library are also prepared to help you one-on-one with such evaluations. 

Please e-mail if you would like assistance. 

We recognize the importance of this issue as it applies to the promotion and tenure process for faculty, as well as the maintenance of rigorous scientific research. While the approach that predatory journals take can lure anyone, students, early career researchers, faculty working primarily in clinical or teaching roles, or researchers publishing in new content areas, can be particularly vulnerable.

Industry Initiatives to Help With Evaluation

Think, Check, Submit: A website with practical resources to help researchers identify trusted journals.This cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications. The campaign has been produced with the support from a coalition across the scholarly communications community. They have also recently created a guide on how to identify trusted publishers for Books and Chapters

Think, Check, Attend: An initiative that guides researchers and scholars when deciding whether to attend a conference. This site has been endorsed by Think, Check, Submit, as a sister initiative.