Predatory Journals - how to recognize them?

The Open Access model is misused by some publishers for the sole purpose of earning money. They request Article Processing Charges without providing adequate editorial services or peer review. They often serve prestigious, well-known names. The tips below help you to recognize these types of publishers and their 'cover magazines'.

Do you receive an invitation via e-mail to submit an article from a journal that you do not know? Be extra alert.

Tips for recognizing predatory journals

  • Always check whether the journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). DOAJ is a white-list for reliable open access journals. All journals have been extensively screened before being included in the list.
  • Google the name of the journal to check if others have (bad) experiences with the magazine.
  • Take a good look at the editorial staff of the magazine. Are they reliable scientists? Check their contact details elsewhere, for example on the website on the website of the university to which they say they are affiliated. Search and read some of their publications.
  • Check whether the Impact factor mentioned on the publisher's site is also shown in the Journal Citation Reports
  • Check the contact details of the journal. Can you reach the publisher by telephone, e-mail and mail? Can you verify the address? Take a look at Google maps!
  • View some articles that the journal has published and evaluate its quality. Is this the level that you would expect in your field in terms of content and language? Do the articles fall within the scope of the journal?
  • Check whether the publisher is clear and transparent about the peer review process that is being used.
  • Check the time between submitting and accepting articles. Is this sufficient for peer review and review?
  • Are you sure you have been approached by a predatory journal? Then include the magazine and publisher in your spam filter and block the sender.
  • Also use the checklist of the Think. Check. Submit. Campaign to determine if a magazine is suitable and reliable. 

Have you done these checks and are you still in doubt? Then contact us: openaccess.ub@vu.nl. We can help you assess the integrity of a publisher or magazine.