Skip to main content

Scholarly Publishing and Research Impact

Is it Predatory? Check for Quality

Predatory publishers are exploitative publishers charging excess publication fees to authors without offering the usual editorial and publishing support associated with legitimate journals.  There isn't a definitive list of predatory publishers available.

  • Check to see if the journal is included in the DOAJ (Directory of Open Access Journals). Journals included in the DOAJ must exercise quality control on submitted papers and meet additional standards of quality.
  • Check to see if the publisher is a member of OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association). Members of OASPA are expected to adhere to the OASPA Professional Code of Conduct.
  • Check to see if the journal's publisher is a member of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics).
  • Check Ulrichsweb or publisher websites to find out if the journal is peer-reviewed and what databases it is indexed in.
  • Check SJR (SCImago Journal Rank)An open access metric that ranks journals contained in the Scopus database from 1996 to the present.

Review red flags for recognizing predatory publishers:

  • You don't recognize or cannot find out about authors or members of the editorial board.
  • The journal is not affiliated with a university or a scholarly organization you are familiar with.
  • You cannot easily identify author processing fees and/or how much they cost.
  • The journal doesn't look professional - look for an ISSN and DOIs for individual articles.
  • You cannot easily find contact information.

Checklists and Resources

Guidelines for evaluating journals

Contact Information

Make sure that complete contact information for the publishers is available, including a street address, email, and a working telephone number. Try to verify this information.

Do a web search for the publisher and evaluate what you find.

Check to see if the journal has an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number).

Editorial Board

Verify that the members of the editorial board are listed on the journal website with affiliations and contact information.

Evaluate to what degree they are experts in the field.

Author Fees

Determine that a standard article fee schedule is publicly available.

Article Quality

Sample a few articles form the journal to read and evaluate quality,

Search for article authors in Google Scholar or in library databases to see if they have written other articles.

Contact authors who have already published in this journal and ask them about their experience.

Peer Review Process

Make sure the journal's peer review process is clearly described on the website.