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Predatory Journals and Publishers

This guide serves to provide information on issues in predatory publishing.

Open Access Publishing

Open access (OA) refers to freely available, digital, online information. While OA is a newer form of scholarly publishing, many OA journals comply with well-established peer-review processes and maintain high publishing standards.

For more information, see Peter Suber's overview of Open Access:

Open Access Journals 

  • Open access journals make articles freely available on the Internet, permitting any user to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search or link to the full text. Benefits of publishing in an open access venue may include:

    Increased visibility, usage, and impact of your research

    More efficient dissemination compared with traditional publishing models

    Retention of some or all of your copyrights

    Contribution to societal good by providing scholarly content to a global audience

    Rigor of traditional peer-review before publication

    Ongoing feedback through social media

  • There are thousands of peer-reviewed open access journals, with new titles emerging rapidly using a variety of models. While there are many high-quality, peer-reviewed open access publications, there are also journals/publishers that engage in unprofessional or unethical practices.
  • Note that there is no single criterion that indicates whether a publication is reputable. Rather, look for a cumulative effect of more positives or more negatives. If you still have questions, please contact your liaison librarian.

The following guidelines serve as a guide to help evaluate open access publications :

Positve Indicators Negative Indicators

Scope of the journal is well-defined and clearly stated

Journal web site is difficult to locate or identify

Journal’s primary audience is researchers/practitioners

Publisher “About” information is absent on the journal’s web site

Editor, editorial board are recognized experts in the field

Publisher direct marketing (i.e., spamming) or other advertising is obtrusive

Journal is affiliated with or sponsored by an established scholarly society or academic institution

Instructions to authors information is not available

Articles are within the scope of the journal and meet the standards of the discipline

Information on peer review and copyright is absent or unclear on the journal web site

Any fees or charges for publishing in the journal are easily found on the journal web site and clearly explained

Journal scope statement is absent or extremely vague

Articles have DOIs (Digital Object Identifier, e.g., doi:10.1111/j.1742-9544.2011.00054.x)

No information is provided about the publisher, or the information provided does not clearly indicate a relationship to a mission to disseminate research content

Journal clearly indicates rights for use and re-use of content at article level (e.g., Creative Commons CC BY license)

Repeat lead authors in same issue

Journal has an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number, e.g., 1234-5678)

Publisher has a negative reputation 

Publisher is a member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association

Journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals

Journal is included in subject databases and/or indexes



Green OA publishing refers to the self-archiving of published or pre-publication works for free public use. Authors provide access to preprints or post-prints (with publisher permission) in an institutional or disciplinary archive such as eCommons@Cornell and

Gold OA publishing refers to works published in an open access journal and accessed via the journal or publisher's website. Examples of Gold OA include PLOS (Public Library of Science) and BioMed CentralHybrid journals offer authors the option of making their articles open access, for a fee. Hybrid journals are still fundamentally subscription journals with an open access option for individual articles. They are not true open access journals, despite publishers' use of the term "gold open access" to describe this arrangement. Some grants do not support open access fees to hybrid journals.

  • Embargoed open access : Also called delayed open access. This is a subscription model that provides open access to content after an embargo period expires. For example, the most current content may only be available to subscribers, while the archived issues are open access.
  • Gratis OA is information that is available free of charge, while some copyright and licensing restrictions may still apply.
  • Libre OA is information that is free of charge and free of most copyright and licensing restriction.

Diamond/ Platinum OA  These are journals which publish open access without charging authors article processing charges are sometimes referred to as diamond or platinum OA. Since they do not charge either readers or authors directly, such publishers often require funding from external sources such as the sale of advertisements, academic institutions, learned societies, philanthropists or government grants. Diamond OA journals are available for most disciplines, and are usually small (<25 articles per year) and more likely to be multilingual (38%).

Black OA  These are free access to paywalled literature. This has been done via existing social media sites (e.g. the ICanHazPDF hashtag) as well as dedicated sites (e.g. Sci-Hub).[ In some ways this is a large-scale technical implementation of pre-existing practice, whereby those with access to paywalled literature would share copies with their contacts. However, the increased ease and scale from 2010 onwards have changed how many people treat subscription publications.

Source : Finding a Quality Open Access Journal

Jeffrey Beall on Open Access Publishing: How publishers dupe authors

In this video, Jeffrey Beall, a well-known open access activist and critic of predatory publishing, explains how some fraudulent or predatory publishers use the open access model to dupe authors. He provides helpful advice and useful tips on how authors can recognize predatory journals and what precautionary steps they should take to avoid falling victim to such journals.

Source: YouTube (Editage Insights)