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Faculty Resources

Predatory Publishers

What are Predatory Publishers?

According to Berger & Cirasella (2015), predatory journals are open access [or print] "journals that exist for the sole purpose of profit, not the dissemination of high-quality research findings and furtherance of knowledge. These predators generate profits by charging author fees, also known as article processing charges (APCs), that far exceed the cost of running their low-quality, fly-by-night operations."

Where do I find a list of legitimate or predatory publishers?  

Cabell's Directories is considered the authority for predatory journals since Jeffrey Beall's blog is no longer available .  Look for journal comparisons, impact metrics, and the "White List" which is coming soon.

Ulrich’sWeb Global Serials Directory lists over 300,000 journals that are daily overseen by a team of editors to maintain the knowledgebase to keep title information accurate and to educate publishers and providers.   Each journal shows whether it is peer-reviewed, refereed, or an academic/scholarly journal.

EBSCO's Serials Directory verifies that all publishers, journals, and additional content types are legitimate. Predatory publishing is an area that  EBSCO always looks into seriously before including new publishers. lists how many libraries own a journal

Can I trust that the journals indexed in the library's databases are legitimate?

  • EBSCO      Yes, verified with library's representative in 2017. 
  • ProQuest   Yes, verified with library's representative in 2017.
  • Emerald     Yes, verified with Library's representative in 2017.
  • JSTOR       Yes, verified with Library's representative in 2017.

What about open access journal?  Are they all bad?

  • Journal titles that are part of the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or the Freely Available Journals may be trusted.


Berger, M., & Cirasella, J. (2015). Beyond Beall's list. College & Research Libraries News, 76(3), 132-135. Available from

Checklist of Things to Consider Before Submission

What do I need to look for?

Kent Anderson outlines common problems among predatory journals (York University Libraries. Open Access Publishing Toolkit):

  1. Articles published without complete author approval.
  2. Articles published before payment terms were either understood or completed.
  3. Articles published with payment terms incomplete but then negotiated, forcing authors into an uncomfortable position.
  4. An editorial process that created more problems than it solved, with errors introduced during proof-reading, and authors “tearing their hair out” because of it.
  5. Papers published without peer-review.

Check List: Ask yourself...

  1. Is the journal profile on Cabell's Directories positive?
  2. Is there evidence of peer-review and clear editorial process?
  3. Is it clear what fees will be charged?
  4. Transparency > look hard at the website (Wicherts, J. M.)

a) Can you contact the publisher by telephone, e-mail and post?

b) Aims, scope, and expected readership of the journal are clearly specified on the journal website

c) Criteria used by reviewers to rate submissions and types of submissions posted

d) The website indicates whether all submissions are sent out for review and who will make final decisions about them

e) The website provides targeted duration of the peer-review process

f)  Authors will be updated concerning the status of submissions (e.g., under review)

g)  Journal discloses the past (yearly) number of submissions, publications, and rejection rates 

h) Journal's website highlights issues of publication ethics, copyright, conflicts of interest, and  publication fees 

  i) Published papers include information on dates of original submission and acceptance  
  j) Website allows ratings of papers and post-publication commentaries by the community
  k) Reviewer’s comments and editorial correspondence are published alongside papers
  l) The names and affiliations of members of the editorial board are listed on the website
  m) The role of members of the editorial board is explicated on the website
  n) The journal has clear guidelines concerning sharing and availability of research data


  • Dobson, H., (2016). Think.Check.Submit: The campaign helping researchers navigate the scholarly communication landscape. Insights. 29(3), pp.228–232. DOI:
  • Reynolds, R. R. (2016, November 1). The predatory publishing phenomenon: Dead end or just an inconvenience ont he road to new scholarly publishing landscape. Insights
  • Wicherts, J. M. (2016). Peer review quality and transparency of the peer review process in open access and subscription journals. PLoS One (11(1): doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0147913
  • York University Libraries. (2015), Open Access Publishing Toolkit.  Available from

Selected Articles & Resources