Predatory Journals

There are many "publishers" who misuse the Open Access principle to enrich themselves. These "publishers" create fraudulent or pseudoscientific publications and journals and their primary purpose is to make money on Article Processing Charges (APC). 

Predatory journals or publications are characterized by not going through a quality peer review process and not having the information verified and/or confirmed by reviewers. Articles published in these journals are generally not of high scientific quality and are not perceived as credible in the scientific community.

Identify Your Predator – Basic Guide

A good place where to start a verification of a journal credibility is Think. Check. Submit.

A basic guide how to verify the credibility of a conference is provided at Think. Check. Attend.

There have been published a lot of articles on the topic, an interesting overview was published in December 2019 in Nature journal.

An updated list of predatory journals can be found at

What Types of Publications Can Be Identified as Predatory?

  • Stand-alone journals
  • A set of journals by one publisher
  • Conferences (conference events and proceedings published for example in a predatory journal)
  • Books – so-called vanity press publishers: the authors pay for the publication of the book, but the publishers do not provide the usual editorial work. For example Lambert Academic Publishing, a part of Omniscriptum Publishing Group (previously VDM Verlag Dr. Müller). They most often address fresh graduates and offer them to publish their thesis. The principle is the same as with journals – a total lack of quality control and peer review process, high expenses, low impact, and then inability to publish the results at a respected publisher.

Why Are the Predatory Journals "Dangerous"?

  • Journals do not go through a quality peer review process. Their content is questionable, the information published may not be reliable, and they may contain serious errors or misleading conclusions.
  • Authors' results do not reach the target scientific community, and the impact of such journals is questionable.
  • Since the results are already published, it is not possible to use them again for a respectable journal.
  • A discussion with such a publisher regarding the article retraction or correction is not successful, usually impossible.
  • The author associates his/her name with an untrustworthy publisher and it degrades his/her reputation. The journal remains traceable and "there is no way back".

Characteristic Features of Predatory Journals

  • there is no peer review – or only a fictional one
  • prompt publication of the article (even within a few days from sending the article to the publisher)
  • non-compliance with publication standards
  • aggressive and intrusive behaviour of publishers (e-mailing the authors, inviting them to editorial boards and conferences as key-note speakers)
  • unclear and/or misleading information on royalties (royalty rates often communicated ex post)
  • journal titles can often be confused with their prestigious competitors, e.g. swapping a word in the title, adding a preposition, a word or an article
  • journal titles too generic or vague
  • names of well-known scientists on editorial boards without their knowledge
  • the same editorial board for several journals of the same publisher
  • non-existent or vague contact details (generic e-mail addresses, contact forms, fictitious company address or just a P.O. BOX)
  • misleading indexing of the journal (false indexing, low-level indexes or formal lists)
  • fictitious metrics or bogus claims about an impact factor and Scopus indicators
  • large amount of plagiarism

How to Detect a Predator and How to Verify a Journal Quality

  • verifying the reported value of the impact factor in the Journal Citation Reports database Web of Science and – if necessary – checking the indexing of the journal in Scopus or ERIH+ database
  • checking the journal by ISSN in ROAD registry
  • check if the journal is not listed on Beall's List of predatory journals – ARCHIVE Caution: The last update to Beall's list was in January 2017, when the blog was shut down.
  • check if the journal is not hijacked – the archive can be found HERE. Please note that the last update was in January 2017 again.

Some Examples of Predatory Practices

  1. Misleading Metrics
    • Advance Science Index 
    • Eurasian Scientific Journal Index (ESJI) 
    • Global Impact Factor 
    • General Impact Factor 
    • Impact Factor Services for International Journals (I.F.S.I.J.) 
    • IndexCopernicus 
    • Journal Influence Factor 
    • Universal Impact Factor 

  2. Confusable Identity



     The International Journal of Engineering and Science 

     International Journal of Engineering Science 


     The Veliger 

     Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology 

     Journal of Analytical Toxicology 

  3. Stolen Identity

    Predator: ARCTIC Journal ( 

    Original: ARCTIC Journal (


Predatory Conferences

Predatory conferences are also becoming more and more common and their main purpose is – of course – to collect conference fees. An invitation to such a conference often resembles a travel agency offer rather than an invitation to share professional information.

You can learn how to identify and avoid predatory conferences HERE

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