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Predatory Publishing: Tips

Workshop on identifying and avoiding predatory publishing

Definition of predatory publishing

Predatory publishing:

  • engages in questionable business practices, such as charging excessive author fees or failing to disclose publication fees to potential authors.
  • fails to follow accepted standards of scholarly publishing, particularly in regards to peer review.
  • exists to make money by taking advantage of the "author-pays model" of open access journal publishing, and have no interest in promoting scholarship or advancing knowledge.

How to avoid predatory publishers

Check the publisher and journal on the predatory publishing lists

Contact your department's Library Liaison for a second opinion about the authenticity of a publisher or journal. We're happy to help faculty attempt tp identify reliable, quality scholarly publishing venues. 

Use the following checklist, provided by Declan Butler in Nature, as a guide for assessing publishers and journals:

How to perform due diligence before submitting to a journal or publisher.

  • Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including address, on the journal site. Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.
  • Check that a journal's editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. Contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
  • Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.
  • Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members.
  • Read some of the journal's published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experience.
  • Check that a journal's peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct.
  • Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals ( or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (
  • Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.
  • Contact a librarian at the Russell Library.

More resources

Addressing Faculty Publishing Concerns with Open Access Journal Quality Indicators The scholarly publishing paradigm is evolving to embrace innovative open access publication models. While this environment fosters the creation of high-quality, peer-reviewed open access publications, it also provides opportunities for journals or publishers to engage in unprofessional or unethical practices.

Open Access Journal Quality Indicators Journal quality indicators from Grand Valley State University can help to evaluate open access publications as you consider appropriate publication venues, or invitations to serve as reviewers or editors.

The Sniff Test Follow the criteria described in Walt Crawford’s article, “Journals, ‘Journals,’ and Wannabees:  Investigating the List.”  Cites and Insights.  2014. A good starting point is by looking  the journal up in  If it’s listed, keep going. If not, keep looking for another journal.  DOAJ makes it easy to search by keyword and subject.

Article: "Beyond Beall's List" Read this article from C&RL News.