What is a predatory publisher and how can I spot one?

A predatory publisher exploits academics by taking money to publish their research online, without regard for quality, peer-review or scholarly standards. Please note that this is different from legitimate Open Access publishing.

To spot a predatory publisher or journal consider the following:

Do your colleagues know the journal?

Is the publisher easily contactable?

  • The publisher should have clear, professional contact details including a business and email address

Is the peer review and editorial process clear?

  • Peer review is crucial for maintaining the quality of journal publications. If the process is unclear or absent, this is a warning sign
  • Do you recognise the editorial board? Do they belong to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)?

See if you can find the journal within the Library's subscriptions

  • Are articles indexed in databases that you use?
  • Or is the journal listed in our Ejournals A-Z list?

Fees and Payments

  • You should not have to pay upfront fees when you submit your manuscript to a publisher
  • Is there an Article Processing Charge (APC) to pay if the article is accepted for publication? Many legitimate publishers/ journals do charge an APC, but please see our Open Access page first for agreements we have with publishers

Open Access (OA) journals

For more information see the Think. Check. Submit. website or contact your Academic Librarian or Research Services.