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Open Access Toolkit: Predatory publishers

Predatory publishers

Over the last decade many new publishers and journals have appeared hoping to attract authors who wish to publish Open Access (OA) via the Gold route. This trend was described in this article - Beall, Jeffrey, 2012,  'Predatory publishers are corrupting open access', Nature News, vol. 489, no. 179.

If you decide to publish in an OA journal, it is important to carefully evaluate the scholarly credibility of both the publisher and the journal.

Assessing OA publishers and their journals:
  • Is the journal in Cabell's Scholarly Analytics? The Blacklist contains entries for journals that do not meet the Cabell's criteria for scholarly publishing, which may be minor, moderate or severe.
  • Is the journal listed in Ulrichs Global Serials Directory - a comprehensive listing of 300,000 periodical titles?
  • Are articles from the journal indexed in journal databases relevant to your field, or in citation databases such as Scopus or Web of Science?
  • Who is on the editorial board? You may decide to contact the member to check that their affiliation is legitimate.
  • What is the quality of the articles? If they're clearly written by a novice this may indicate a predatory publisher.
  • Does the publisher have a clear peer-review process and provide details about their peer review panel?
  • Are the publisher’s rejection rates comparable with other publisher’s rates?
  • Do web searches involving the publisher name and keywords, like complaint, scam, or fraud, retrieve results?

A useful summary of this process is provided by the Think - Check - Submit site.


Check the publisher’s website against these codes of conduct for publishers: