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Predatory Publishing: Common Characteristics of Predatory Journals/Publishers

SAGE: How to Spot Predatory Journals

Characteristics of Predatory Journals

While the below list below describes some common characteristics of predatory journals, each criterion should be considered carefully.  For example, some non-Western, high-quality journals may not adhere to Western grammar conventions. That does not make it predatory. 

  • Claims to be a peer reviewed open access publication but does not provide adequate peer review or the level of peer review promised (some predatory journals repeatedly use a template as their peer review report).
  • Advertises a Journal Impact Factor or other citation metric on the website that is incorrect or cannot be verified.
  • May advertise an unrealistic timeline for publication.
  • Publishes all articles for which authors pay an APC (article processing charge) even if the article is low quality, unrelated to the topic of the journal, or nonsensical.
  • Publishes articles that have many grammar mistakes (little or no copyediting).
  • Editorial board includes people who do not exist, do not have credentials relevant to the topic of the journal, have affiliations that cannot be verified, or are real people who are not aware that they are listed as members.
  • Mimics name or website of other well-known, legitimate journals.
  • Aggressively targets potential authors through emails.
  • May state that offices are in one country but contact details are in another.
  • Solicitation emails contain grammatical errors or phishing scams.
  • Lack of transparency about acceptance process or APCs, so that authors do not how much they will be charged until their article is accepted.
  • Requires authors sign away their copyright to the article at the time of submission, making it impossible for the author to submit the article to another publisher.
  • Publishes articles submitted before the authors have signed the publishing agreement, then refuses to take the article down if the author withdraws the submission.
  • Removes articles or entire journals from the web without warning or informing authors.

Source: Elmore, S. A., & Weston, E. H. (2020). Predatory journals: what they are and how to avoid them. Toxicologic pathology48(4), 607-610.

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