Predatory Journals

Predatory open-access publishing is an exploitative publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not). Their primary goal is to make money (i.e. there will be fees). They do not care about the quality of the work published (i.e. no or little editing or peer-review). They make false claims or promises (i.e. claims of impact factors and indexing) meaning your article may be very hard to find. It is a red flag if a publisher or journal editor approaches you to publish in their journal. Typically, the opposite occurs and the researcher pursues the journal.

Features of potential predatory journals:

  • The scope of interest includes non-biomedical subjects alongside biomedical topics
  • The website contains spelling and grammar errors, not of a professional quality.
  • Images are distorted/fuzzy, intended to look like something they are not, or which are unauthorized
  • The homepage language targets authors
  • The Index Copernicus Value is promoted on the website
  • Description of the manuscript handling process is lacking
  • Manuscripts are requested to be submitted via email
  • Rapid publication is promised
  • There is no retraction policy
  • Information on whether and how journal content will be digitally preserved is absent
  • The Article processing/publication charge is very low (e.g., < $150 USD) compared to other open access journals or subscription-based hybrid journals($1000-3000USD). May ask for a submission fee rather than publication fee.
  • Journals claiming to be open access either retain copyright of published research or fail to mention copyright
  • The contact email address is non-professional and non-journal affiliated (e.g., or


Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Maduekwe, O., Turner, L., Barbour, V., Burch, R., Clark, J., Galipeau, J., Roberts, J. and Shea, B. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison . BMC Medicine. 15:25. Retrieved:

Criteria for determining predatory publishers. Retrieved, July 2018 from:

List of known predatory journals can be found here:   

or here on Beall’s list you can search for predatory journals and publishers:

Evaluation Tool


Are all open access journals considered predatory?

No. There are many respectable open access journals that are not considered predatory. Regardless of whether the journal is subscription-based or open access, authors should research the journal in which they hope to publish.


Examples of predatory journals:

Australasian Medical Journal

British Journal of Medical and Health Research

Cancer Research Frontiers

Another example illegitimate publishing:

Australasian Journal of Bone & Joint Medicine (2002-2005) sounds like it could be a legitimate journal title and it was also published by a known publisher, Elsevier. However this journal was a sponsored publication which had at its aim to cast Merck, the pharmaceutical company, in a positive light. “Merck paid an undisclosed sum to Elsevier to produce several volumes of [Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine], a publication that had the look of a peer-reviewed medical journal, but contained only reprinted or summarized articles—most of which presented data favourable to Merck products—that appeared to act solely as marketing tools with no disclosure of company sponsorship.”

Grant, B. (2009). Merck published fake journal. The Scientist. Retrieved: 27/07/2018


Other References:

Beall, J. (2016). Essential information about predatory publisher and journals. International Higher Education. 86 (Summer 2016):2-3.

McLoughlin, C. (2018). Rise in ‘predatory publishers’ has sparked a warning for scientists and researchers. ABC News. Retrieved July 2018 from:

Pater, C. [n.d.]. 8 ways to identify a questionable open access journal.  American Journal Experts. Retrieved July 2018 from:

University of Pittsburgh. Illegitimate & predatory publishing. Retrieved July 2018, from:


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