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Predatory Publishing

A guide on predatory publishing, legitimate journal recommendations, and open access.

What to Expect from Legitimate Publishers

Category Typical of Legitimate Journals Predatory Publishing
Aims and Scope

Provide a clear definition on what material is included
Examples: Cardiac & Cardiovascular Systems

Broad Scope 
Examples: Dentistry

Aims and Scope Generally have 1 - 2 medical categories, range of 1 - 16 Generally have 1 - 4 medical categories, range of 1 - 31
Journal Name Fairly unique name Higher probability of similar journal name to legitimate journals
Publisher Information Publisher name provided on website 50/50 on publisher name provided
Publisher Information Publisher URL provided Must be found via Google or does not exist
Location Country name same as contact information Country name differs from contact information
Email Address Professional Email address May use gmail or yahoo
Email Content Professional approach Contains spelling and grammatical errors, or slang used
Website Targeted to mostly readers Targeted to mostly authors
Metrics May have impact factor, SciMago, Overall ranking, etc May have fake metrics or other values like Index Copernicus Value, Global Impact Factor, Total citations
Indexing May be indexed in PubMed, MEDLINE, CINHAL,  EMBASE, PsychInfo May be indexed in PubMed (but NOT Medline), Google Scholar, etc
Staff Easy to validate Editor in Cheif, journal staff, and institutional affiliation Fake journal staff or used without permission
Peer Reviewed Yes Many have no peer review, or peer review too fast to be true
Submission method Third party or journal specific Email, journal specific, or other
Retraction policy Yes No clear retraction policy
Preservation Digital Preservation mentioned Preservation information lacking

Adapted from Shamseer et al. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine. 15:28. DOI:

Sketchy Publisher Examples

Below are links to a couple of online journal publishers of questionable quality. They can act as useful examples of red flags to look for when evaluating journals.