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Predatory Publishers

What is a predatory journal?

  • A journal that uses the open-access model to gain credibility, but the journal is not reputable or is a scam. 
  • Their main goal is profit, and they provide no editorial services or peer-review but require authors to pay to be published.  
  • They often require authors to sign away copyright, aggressively target authors, and lack transparency about the publishing process.
  • Generally the articles published in these journals receive no citations over the first five years of publication (see "Research Metrics" tools below).

How do I check to see if a journal is reputable or is predatory?

There is no perfect way to know! It takes research. Try these tips but do not rely on just one:

  • Visit the journal website. Are there spelling or grammatical mistakes? Is the peer-review process listed on the website? Is there contact information for the publisher? Are the contact details for one country while the country of origin is another? Do emails come from the correct time zone working hours for the country of origin? 
  • Visit the Think. Check. Submit. website for tools to learn how to identify reputable publishers. 
  • Check the Beall's List of Potential Predatory Journals and Publishers. It is an archived list (last updated December 8, 2021).
  • Check the Harzing Journal Quality list. Scroll down to the "download section" to see the list by title, subject area, and ISSN.
  • Is the journal open access? Is it listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals? 
  • Google a journal-title with the word predatory. You may be able to easily find news stories about the journal and its predatory practices. 
  • Is the journal listed on the Committee on Publication and Ethics (COPE) website? If not, it is not a member and is likely not following their best practices. 
  • Search for the journal in the Scimago Journal & Country Rank (SJR) to check if it is indexed in a major citation database. It can also help you identify journals in your subject area.
  • Does the journal have an Impact Factor or list one on their website? Beware! Many predatory journals will make up an impact factor to appear reputable. 
    • Confirm that a journal has an Impact Factor through the official Journal Citation Reports database (not available through Lynn Library). Only journals vetted through the JCR can officially state that they have an Impact Factor.
    • The Journal Guide (see below under Research Metrics) was able to include the Impact Factor in the past and might be able to include it again, so check there.
  • This article may help:

Research Metrics

Citation-based metrics are important reflections of the publishing community’s scholarly use of a journal. These tools can be helpful for determining a publisher for your work.

  • Journal Guide: A tool to help researchers evaluate scholarly journals and choose the right journal for their publications. They use the impact metric Source-Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP); a new metric based on Scopus. SNIP is temporarily used in place of Journal Impact Factors, pending permission to use JIFs again. 
  • EigenFactor Search: Ranking measuring a journal's total importance to the scientific community with more weight given to citations from significant and larger journals. The score is a measure of the average influence of each of its articles over the first five years after publication.
  • Scimago Journal Rank (SJR): A measure of scientific influence of scholarly journals that accounts for both the number of citations received by a journal and the importance or prestige of the journals where such citations come from.


  • PlumMetrics: is the word coined for EBSCO's altmetrics for social media mentions and uses of scholarly output.
  • Other altmetrics tools