8 August 2018

Tips on recognizing predatory journals and publishers

In the Volkskrant of today (Dutch only) a story was published on 'predatory journals' and how hundreds of Dutch scientists have published in these journals in recent years. Several news media followed with stories on this topic. 'Predatory journals' are journals which misuse the open access publishing model to make money. A phenomenon that sadly isn't new. Luckily there are tips on recognizing these 'predatory journals'.

The problem with 'predatory journals' is that the 'publishers' present their journals as legitimate and ask forArticle Processing Charges (APCs) without organising proper editorial services and peer review in return. This phenomenon isn't new but there is an increase in researchers who fall into the trap of these publishers. The University Library offers some tips on recognizing 'predatory journals'.

How to recognize 'predatory journals'

These journals can often be identified by aggressive marketing strategies and spam mails. Yet at first glance their journals may seem legitimate. There are a few things you can do to separate the wheat from the chaff:

  • Can you find the articles from the journals in reliable databases such as Web of Science, Scopus, Directory of Open Access Journals or a database in your own discipline?
  • Do you know editors of the journals and/or authors who have published in the journals? When in doubt, we advise you to contact them.
  • Is the publisher clear about peer review and the costs of open access?
  • Is there a registration number (ISSN) of the journal on the website?
  • Is the publisher or editor a member of COPE, Committee on Publication Ethics or do they follow its guidelines? (Please note: not all legitimate journals are members of COPE (yet)).

On the page Quality and open access you will find more advice on assessing the quality of open access journals.

Any doubts about a journal or other questions about open access publishing? Please send an email to library@uu.nl.