How to Identify a Predatory Journal?

Apr 16, 2021 Ver este post en Español

Worldwide, the number of publications will increase exponentially. Through 2021-2025, the publishing market is expected to see a $65.3 billion infusion of market capital, as it goes even more digital. In some fields, there are so many journals that keeping track of all of them becomes challenging.

The academic publishing industry has been used purely as a business model by certain publishers who use this platform for profit instead of its original intention, sharing knowledge with others in their field.

Predatory journals pose a severe threat to the publishing industry by charging authors publication fees or article processing charges (APCs) without organizing peer reviews or other appropriate quality control forms. Publishers have made an illicit fortune from these scams, and now they're growing even faster with an ever-increasing rate for employees that submit work to them. This makes it very difficult for companies to stay afloat in today's marketplace, which makes it crucial to know how to identify a predatory journal.

What is a Predatory Journal?

Predatory publishing is a significant concern for the open-access movement, and unsurprisingly some publishers have found ways to exploit this. Some of these “publishers” (and I use quotation marks purposefully) offer speedy review times and fast publication, with claims about their editorial board that can't be verified or substantiated.

With the invention of the internet, publishing a paper has been simplified. Now, all you have to do is submit an article to a "publisher". They will approve it for you with no need for peer review, quality checks, or anything else that we would expect from a credible publisher.

Moreover, it is unlikely that the article will get any citations, and the paper won't have any impact. Frankly speaking, it is good if papers published in predatory journals do not attract citations as we don’t want papers that were not robustly peer-reviewed to infect the scientific archive.

What is the difference between Predatory Journals and Serious Journals?

Over the last decade, there has been a spike in unethical scientific journals that will publish anything for a price. These predatory journals don't have editors or quality control measures and can post one or more of the following:

  • Predatory journals are known to have a lack of transparency in their costs. For example, it is usually unclear from the online presence or website of the journal charges primarily what the journal charges would be and what they would relate to. This can make it difficult for scholars looking for an appropriate publication option that suits their needs.
  • Predatory journals are deceiving and dishonest with their lists of indicators, especially the impact factor.
  • Publications prey on researchers who want an instant "publish or perish" feeling without getting a thorough evaluation by peers. This creates significant problems within academia as these publications can cause conflict between individuals and disciplines due to the lack of judgment in reviewing.
  • Predatory journals are a threat to academic integrity, and they lack regulations. They list academics on their publishing/editorial boards without their knowledge and even against their will.
  • Predatory journals go to great lengths to lure authors, such as by sending personalized mass spam emails.

6 Ways How to Identify a Predatory Journal

Always check the website

Journals are a step up from blogs and internet forums, but they also often have more predatory practices. Their websites should be professional with mistakes in both spelling and grammar. Fees should be clearly stated on the website before the article is accepted for publication; if fees are requested before acceptance, it may not be worth submitting.

Check if the journal is a member of DOAJ, COPE, OASPA, or STM

When you're searching for a publisher, check if they are members of the Directory of Open Access Journal (DOAJ), Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), or International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM).

These associations have been around for a long time, and they're all reputable organizations that vet their members. If you need to know if an author is part of any association in particular, send them an email, and they'll be able to tell you.

Check the journal’s contact information

One way to avoid predatory journals is to make sure that the contact information you connect with matches what's advertised. For example, if a journal advertises its office in Japan, but the contact details are from another country, then it may be wise not to submit your article.

For your emails to get priority, you need to make sure the time-stamps are during working hours of the country of origin, ensure the phone number has the correct country code so they can call you back if there is an issue with their email account, and provide an address. It's vital that people have a way to contact you!

Research the Editorial Board

You can check the credibility of a journal by looking at the credentials of its editorial board. You can do this by looking up these individuals on their respective professional online profiles or through their professional institution pages.

However, when reading an article, you should also look for telltale signs that may not be legitimate. These include fake scholars and those with fabricated contributions to articles. One way to avoid being fooled is to read the disclaimer about authors' rights at the beginning of any research paper you are browsing.

Take a look at their peer review process and publication timelines

Peer review is essential to uphold the quality of scientific articles and journals. The peer-review process is an important stamp of approval for the publication of academic research. When an article is published in a scientific journal, readers can assume the information published is reliable, credible, and has been evaluated by an editor and at least two independent experts in the field.

Read through past issues of the journal

When you submit to predatory journals, it's essential to be aware that they don't always have a peer review process in place. If the journal advertises rapid peer review timelines, investigate them further and ensure they state their peer review policy online fully.


You would have to search for a long time before you found somebody who'd make a legitimate argument for the existence of predatory publishers and journals. The publishing companies themselves might try to make one, and some authors could even try to—but we cannot think of any scholarly reasons why anybody should support these types of publications.

Having said that here at Orvium we enjoy helping you with your publishing process in a way that is safe and secure. You deserve better than to work with a journal that takes advantage of your hard work.

If you want to know more about our services please visit our website or you can check our live platform here. In case you want to know more about predatory journals, check out our post "What is a Predatory Journal?"