Table 3.

Identifying Predatory Journals and Publishers

Journal Title
  • ∙ Do you recognize the journal name as well established and reputable?

  • ∙ Do you read the journal regularly? Do you cite papers from this journal in your references?

  • ∙ Watch for familiar words chosen to sound like mainstream journals.

  • ∙ Did you receive an email invitation from an editor you don't know from a journal you do not recognize?

  • ∙ Do they promise rapid review, high likelihood of acceptance, and quick publication online only?

  • ∙ Does the website appear professional, with carefully edited text and optimized images?

  • ∙ Do web links function properly? Is there a working search function?

  • ∙ Does the journal have a professional publishing office with a clear address and contact information? Check the address with online mapping program to see if it might be just a mail drop to establish a US address. Consider calling the journal office.

  • ∙ Are manuscripts submitted by email (worse yet, to a nonprofessional address), rather than through an editorial manager program?

  • ∙ Does the website reference the Index Copernicus Value (a bogus impact metric)?

  • ∙ Is it clear who owns the journal? Is the owner also an editor? Is it published by a major professional association that you recognize?

  • ∙ For how many years has the journal been published? (Longer is better.)

  • ∙ Confirm the journal name on the organization's official website.

  • ∙ Is the journal listed by the National Library of Medicine in MEDLINE and thus also in PubMed? Medline is more important for legitimacy; PubMed is used as a search engine more often.

  • ∙ Is the journal also indexed in other prominent indexing systems, such as: OVID, EMBASE, Scopus, PSYCHINFO, or CINAHL?

  • ∙ Review the table of contents and published papers of several issues. Is the journal's content related to common themes and appear legitimate? Excessively broad content raises concerns.

  • ∙ Are authors of research articles also named on the editorial team or editorial board, suggesting a closed group?

Editorial Team
  • ∙ Do you recognize names on the editorial team or editorial board? Are they major experts in content areas of the journal and your work? Are their affiliations listed?

  • ∙ Do they represent a broad group from a variety of institutions and nations?

Peer review
  • ∙ Does the journal outline a rigorous peer review process and give realistic timelines?

Production values
  • ∙ Examine the website, article text, images, and references; are they in professional, high-quality format?

  • ∙ Does the journal require authors to declare adherence to ethical research standards, such as protection of human and animal subjects, Helsinki Declaration, informed consent, and patient release of information?

  • ∙ Does the journal commit to follow the guidelines of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICJME) and Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)?

Publishing Agreement
  • ∙ Is the agreement explicit, transparent, and fair?

  • ∙ It is easy to find on the journal website?

  • ∙ Is copyright ownership, transfer, and licensing clear and fair and meet your needs?

Article Processing Fees
  • ∙ Are the fees for submission or publication clear in the Information for Authors?

  • ∙ Is the fee to publish too low? Most major legitimate open access journals charge greater than $1,00014

  • ∙ Is it clear what the author gets in return for paying the fee? What rights does the author retain for other uses of the published material? Read the publisher's copyright agreement to see this information.