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Predatory Publishing

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

About Journal Quality

Note that journal quality and predatory publishing are related but different things. While all predatory journals are low quality, not all low-quality journals are necessarily predatory. Some characteristics of low-quality and predatory journals may be caused by inexperienced editorial staff, or due to cultural differences for non-US-based publications. 

Quality also occurs on a spectrum, from clearly predatory and worthless journals, to new journals that have not yet had time to develop a reputation and best practices, and well-known high-quality journals.

In addition, it is important to keep in mind that journal quality is not an indicator of research quality. Good research may be inadvertently published in predatory journals, and bad research might slip by peer review and be published in well-known journals. That is why it is important to read research skeptically and practice critical appraisal.



Is This Journal Respectable? Checklist from Think. Check. Submit.

Think.Check.Submit icon


Think. Check. Submit is a cross-organization effort to help researchers figure out whether a specific journal is a viable option for publishing research.  Use it to evaluate journals that are new to you before submitting to them.

Checklist for Journal Consideration

  • Do you or your colleagues know the journal?
    • Have you read any articles in the journal before?
    • Is it easy to discover the latest papers in the journal?
  • Can you easily identify and contact the publisher?
    • Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the journal website?
    • Can you contact the publisher by telephone, email, and post?
  • Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses?
  • Are articles indexed in services that you use?
  • Is it clear what fees will be charged?
    • Does the journal site explain what these fees are for and when they will be charged?
  • Do you recognize the editorial board?
    • Have you heard of the editorial board members?
    • Do the editorial board members mention the journal on their own websites?
  • Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative?

Tools for Evaluating Journal Quality

Other Methods

After your initial search, you could also: