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Journal Rankings, Research Impact, and Scholarly Publishing: Predatory Publishing

Predatory Publishing


  • Predatory publishers and journals pose as legitimate academic journals and charge authors often exorbitant amounts of money to publish
  • Usually solicit articles from authors for upcoming issues with little turnaround time, and these journals rarely (if ever) use a peer-review process or other method of quality control
  • Predatory conferences have also become increasingly popular
  • Open access publishing is NOT the something as predatory publishing
  • Predatory journals can be found in PubMed and other scholarly databases


Cabell's Predatory Reports
Journals are added to the database and "scored" according to criteria describing deceptive, fraudulent, and/or predatory publishing practices. Criteria ranked by severity of offense can be found here.


Checklists for assessing the integrity of publishers and journals.


Retraction Watch Hijacked Journal Checker
Database of legitimate journals that have been "hijacked" by predatory journals.

Predatory Journals

Characteristics of predatory journals proposed by Eriksson & Helgesson


  • Not a member of a professional organization committed to best publishing practices like COPE
  • Released a large suite of new journals during a very short period of time
  • Is new, yet claims to be a leading publisher
  • Journal and publisher are unfamiliar to you and your colleagues
  • Publication schedule is not clearly stated


  • Is unprofessional
  • Does not present an editorial board or gives insufficient details
  • Does not list the journal’s editorial office location or uses an incorrect address
  • Mimics another journal title and/or its website (hijacking)
  • Posts non-related or non-academic advertisements


  • Articles are of poor research quality
  • Articles have fundamental errors in the title/abstract or throughout the manuscript
  • Articles are outside of journal's scope


  • Sends unsolicited invitations to submit an article for publication with no idea about your field of expertise
  • Solicitation emails are written in poor language, include exaggerated flattering, and make contradictory claims
  • Unrealistic promises regarding the speed of the peer review process

Fees and Copyright:

  • Charges a submission fee instead of a publication fee
  • Submission/publication fees are not clearly stated
  • Copyright agreements are unclear or contradictory


  • No strategies for handling misconduct, conflicts-of-interests, etc.
  • Editor-in-chief is editor-in-chief for other journals with widely different focus
  • Journal title claims a national affiliation that does not match its location
  • Provides an impact factor before IF can be calculated
  • Claims an unrealistically high impact factor
  • Journal is not indexed in electronic databases like Medline or Web of Science

Eriksson, S., & Helgesson, G. (2017). The false academy: predatory publishing in science and bioethics. Medicine, health care, and philosophy, 20(2), 163–170.