Advice on predatory journals and publishers
On this page,
Open Access (OA) 'predatory' journals are now part of the scholarly communication landscape. We strongly recommend that University of Manchester researchers always check the credibility of unfamiliar publishers and journals prior to submission.
There is now more research done and more research papers published than ever before. There are currently approximately 28,000 journals publishing 1.5 million papers annually. New journals are launched every year, many of which offer OA.
Sometimes a newly launched journal is associated with a well-established publisher or learned society. This connection validates the journal's status. However, an academic journal may emerge from a new enterprise which lacks any prior history or reputation. In such cases journals often offer benefits by adopting new approaches to the publishing process, and they quickly develop a good reputation through endorsements from the academic community and from librarians. Recent examples of new, trustworthy OA journals are eLife, PeerJ and the Social Sciences Directory.
Although the majority of new journals are legitimate, the credentials of some are questionable. Such journals and publishers are referred to as 'predatory'. They commonly send spam emails to potential authors, solicit submissions and request payment of article processing charges, but lack any discernible scholarship, academic rigour or credibility. Authors should not use such journals.
How to check for 'predatory' journals?
Key indicators of the legitimacy of newly launched OA journals are:
- Entry in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – journals must meet strict criteria to qualify
- Publisher’s membership of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) – members are bound by a code of conduct based on standard publishing practices and transparency
- Publisher’s membership of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) – membership demonstrates commitment to widely accepted publishing practices
- Publisher’s membership of the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM) – membership demonstrates commitment to widely accepted publishing practices
- Named editor and editorial board – recognised experts in their field who include their editorial commitment on their own research profiles
- Full contact details (email, postal address, working telephone number)
- Visibility of costs associated with publishing
Legitimate journals acknowledge their newly formed status and do not attempt to feign reputation by referring to false Impact Factors or inclusion of content in indexing and abstracting services.
Jeffery Beall, a librarian at Auraria Library, University of Colorado Denver, Colorado, provides a comphensive list of criteria which authors may use to identify potential predatory OA publishers. He also maintains lists of potential, possible, or probable predatory OA publishers and journals.
- Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access Publishers (2nd edition)
- Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open access publishers
- Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open access journals
Contact the Library
If you are suspicious of a journal or a publisher and require further information or guidance please contact us:
Scholarly Communication Service
The University of Manchester Library
Tel: +44(0)161 306 1517 (internal: x61517)