Skip to Main Content

Predatory Publishing: How to avoid?

This guide was created to help researchers to be aware of predatory publishers.

Why avoid?

To make informed decisions about where to publish, the quality of a publisher or journal is an important consideration for researchers. This page provides some suggestions to assess whether  a journal or publisher is predatory.

Evaluating journal quality

When evaluating the quality of journal, the following principles should be considered:

  1. Peer review process:  All of a journal’s content, apart from any editorial material that is clearly marked as such, shall be subjected to peer review. Peer review is defined as obtaining advice on individual manuscripts from reviewers expert in the field who are not part of the journal’s editorial staff. This process, as well as any policies related to the journal’s peer review procedures, shall be clearly described on the journal’s Web site.
  2. Governing body:   Journals shall have editorial boards or other governing bodies whose members are recognized experts in the subject areas included within the journal’s scope. The full names and affiliations of the journal’s editors shall be provided on the journal’s Web site.
  3. Editorial team/contact information:   Journals shall provide the full names and affiliations of the journal’s editors on the journal’s Web site as well as contact information for the editorial office.
  4. Author fees:   Any fees or charges that are required for manuscript processing and/or publishing materials in the journal shall be clearly stated in a place that is easy for potential authors to find prior to submitting their manuscripts for review or explained to authors before they begin preparing their manuscript for submission.
  5. Copyright:   Copyright and licensing information shall be clearly described on the journal’s Web site, and licensing terms shall be indicated on all published articles, both HTML and PDFs.
  6. Identification of and dealing with allegations of research misconduct:   Publishers and editors shall take reasonable steps to identify and prevent the publication of papers where research misconduct has occurred, including plagiarism, citation manipulation, and data falsification/fabrication, among others. In no case shall a journal or its editors encourage such misconduct, or knowingly allow such misconduct to take place. In the event that a journal’s publisher or editors are made aware of any allegation of research misconduct relating to a published article in their journal – the publisher or editor shall follow COPE’s guidelines (or equivalent) in dealing with allegations.
  7. Ownership and management:   Information about the ownership and/or management of a journal shall be clearly indicated on the journal’s Web site. Publishers shall not use organizational names that would mislead potential authors and editors about the nature of the journal’s owner.
  8. Website:   A journal’s Web site, including the text that it contains, shall demonstrate that care has been taken to ensure high ethical and professional standards.
  9. Name of journal:   The Journal name shall be unique and not be one that is easily confused with another journal or that might mislead potential authors and readers about the Journal’s origin or association with other journals.
  10. Conflicts of interest:   A journal shall have clear policies on handling potential conflicts of interest of editors, authors, and reviewers and the policies should be clearly stated.
  11. Access:   The way(s) in which the journal and individual articles are available to readers and whether there are associated subscription or pay per view fees shall be stated.
  12. Revenue sources:   Business models or revenue sources (eg, author fees, subscriptions, advertising, reprints, institutional support, and organizational support) shall be clearly stated or otherwise evident on the journal’s Web site.
  13. Advertising:   shall state their advertising policy if relevant, including what types of ads will be considered, who makes decisions regarding accepting ads and whether they are linked to content or reader behavior (online only) or are displayed at random.
  14. Publishing schedule:   The periodicity at which a journal publishes shall be clearly indicated.
  15. Archiving:   A journal’s plan for electronic backup and preservation of access to the journal content (for example, access to main articles via CLOCKSS or PubMedCentral) in the event a journal is no longer published shall be clearly indicated.
  16. Direct Marketing:   Any direct marketing activities, including solicitation of manuscripts that are conducted on behalf of the journal, shall be appropriate, well targeted, and unobtrusive.


Tools and Checklists

Evaluate journal using one or more of the following tools and checklists. 

Researchers can refer to the following websites to decide where to publish their research.


Scholarly publishers and associations have developed checklist for researchers to refer when they assess the credentials of a journal or publisher. 

The simple and short questions guides researchers to choose the right journal.

The three step approach supports researchers to “think” about the problem or risks raised by predatory, check against a set of criteria, submit only when most of the criteria are met.


  • Question yourself if you can you trust the journal with your research?
  • Check if the journal publish research that you would like to read yourself?


  • Is the contact information available?
  • Can the publisher be identified?
  • Are you able to contact them easily?
  • Are the fees clearly listed on the publisher's website?
  • Have you heard the names or reputations of any of the editorial board members?
  • Are the articles indexed in services you use within your subject discipline?


If you can answer yes to these questions, then submit!

Avoiding predatory publishers