Choose a trusted journal for your research
Have you received an email from an unfamiliar source encouraging you to publish with a new journal or to present at a conference? Before you submit your manuscript, take a few minutes to verify the publisher or conference to ensure it’s legitimate and not predatory.
What is a predatory publisher?
Predatory publishers take advantage of the open access publishing model (e.g., the author pays to publish) by collecting article processing charges or publication fees for the articles they accept. While many legitimate, trusted publishers do this as well, predatory publishers only seek to take money from the author without conducting peer review; therefore, the quality of the article in the journal is questionable. Predatory publishers try to attract new submissions through email advertising and high acceptance rates. Whereas emails from predatory publishers can also encourage the recipient to share the email with colleagues who might be interested in publishing, legitimate publishers do not engage in such practices.
In order to appear credible, predatory publishers may doctor their websites to look like a legitimate journal, which is known as “hijacking a journal”. They may also cite false editorial boards or make false claims about the databases in which they are indexed.
What is a predatory conference?
Predatory conferences solicit researchers to submit papers and presentations to conferences that are organized for the sole reason of making a profit. These conferences usually do not peer review submissions and the conferences may not even take place.
Have you received an unsolicited and unfamiliar request to submit to a journal or conference
1. Ask yourself the basics
- Who is the journal from?
- Have I ever heard of them?
- What do they offer in exchange for the article processing charge? Is there a submission fee?
- Where the journal or conference located?
- What has the journal published this far? Has this conference held previous events and are the proceedings available online?
- Does the journal or conference demonstrate any knowledge of the field?
- Does the library subscribe to the journal?
2. Look for the following signs
- Published by a verified organization, department, or university.
- Demonstrates a working knowledge of the field.
- You can find them online, along with an editorial board, aim and scope statements and author guidelines etc.
- You recognize some names of other authors or editorial board members.
- You have never heard of them, even though you have been doing research in this area for a while.
- The title is vague and/or overly broad.
- Physical location is obscure or missing.
- No affiliation with school or society.
- Interest in receiving money upfront.
- Negotiable “deals” are offered.
3. List of resources to help you distinguish between legitimate and predatory publishers or conferences
- How to assess a journal: AKA how not to publish with an undesirable journal
- Visit Think. Check. Submit for help with identifying trusted journals and publishers.
- Visit Think. Check. Attend for help with choosing trusted conferences to attend and to present research.
- Follow the journal assessment checklist to research the credibility of a publication before you publish.
- Follow the conference evaluation questions in this article to assess conference credibility.
- Verify a journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals. This is a type of “whitelist” in which journals must meet specific criteria to be recognized as legitimate open access publishers.
- Verify the journal is indexed by searching for the journal in databases such as PubMedCentral (free) or Scopus.
4. Ask the Library for assistance in evaluating the legitimacy of a publisher, journal or conference.
For more information regarding predatory publishers, consult our Academic Publishing guide, and if you have questions about this tip or any other research-related questions, please contact the library.