When Open Access publishing started to become common, dubious operators saw an opportunity to make money from the publishing of researchers' articles. A number of publishers arose who claimed to offer cheap and fast publishing. These publishers – usually called predatory publishers/journals – are only there to make money on researchers' need to be published, and give nothing back.

The term predatory publishers was coined by Jeffrey Beall, Librarian at the University of Colorado at Denver. He published a list of unserious publishers and journals online, commonly known as Beall's list. It has now been removed from the web, but others have taken on the task of trying to keep the list alive. However, some have the view that the list was too broad in its assessment.

A collection of links to further valuable resources on this topic can be found further down this page.

Characteristics of a questionable journal

Fast peer review process

Predatory journals often claim to offer a fast peer review, but in fact no review is made. Articles published in these journals are usually not taken into account in bibliometric or other assessments of the researcher's CV. It is also rare that they are cited in serious journals.

Website that may look serious

Predatory journals often have websites that look serious. They often claim to have editorial boards, impact factors and that they are indexed in well known databases.

In reality, their editorial boards may consist of individuals who cannot be considered to be qualified or who have not agreed to participate. Impact factors may come from various websites that provide fake impact factors.

Aggressive marketing

Predatory publishers often use aggressive email marketing where researchers receive offers to publish in their journals. In many cases, they also have a conference activity linked to the publisher.

There are also examples of serious journals kidnapped by dubious operators who set up a website similar to that of the true journal.  In some cases serious publications have been sold to questionable publishers.

On our web page Publish strategically, we provide suggestions on how to make a simple check if a journal is in fact dubious. LiU Journal Check Up is a service from LiU E-Press for evaluating journals. You are also welcome to contact us. We are happy to come and talk to departments and research groups on these matters.

More about publishing

Page responsible: Linköping University Library, biblioteket@liu.se