Identifying Predatory Publishers

This guide offers a range of definitions, information, and links to additional sources related to avoiding predatory publishers and the proper selection of Open Access (OA) sources for research and publishing.

What is Predatory Publishing (and How do I Avoid It)?

At some point in your career you may be solicited in a flattering email from an open access predatory publisher to send them your work. They claim to be a prestigious journal and will promise quick turnaround time; they might even include false or inflated impact factor numbers. Many of these so-called publishers are shady Open Access (OA) operations that are only interested in obtaining your copyrighted material and then charging you an Author Processing Charge (APC) to publish your work. Publishing with these presses can damage your reputation and weaken your portfolio for tenure and promotion. 

Not all OA journals and publications are bad; most are, in fact, legitimate and/or academic resources (even those that charge APCs). There are a few easy steps you can take before agreeing to publish in an open access journal, or to be on the editorial board, and by using the information and resources on this guide, you will be able to effectively evaluate possible publication targets, including all types of OA titles.

Predatory Journals

  • Publisher aggressively spams researchers
  • “Owner” of publishing doubles as editor for all journals
  • No formal editorial or review board identified
  • No academic information about editors, nor evidence of expertise
  • Listing academics as members of editorial boards without their permission
  • No bona fide peer review or copyediting in evidence
  • Quick acceptance of articles and publication within weeks
  • Author fees hidden or inadequate
  • Notifying authors of articles fees after papers are accepted
  • Journal title misleading and unrelated to true journal origin (or no clear subject focus for a publication)
  • Mimicking the name or web site of established journals
  • False impact factors cited


Information here from Think, Check, Submit and Wikipedia article on Predatory publishing

For Consultation and Additional Information, Please Contact Us at the USF Libraries

The world of Predatory Publishing and the related topic of Open Access (OA) literature can be a difficult road to travel. There are many types of good academic publishers in all three major categories (Green, Gold, and Hybrid) of OA journals and the USF Libraries has librarians and subject experts in all academic areas offered that are available to help authors and researchers select the best sources and the appropriate OA opportunities. For help and referrals, please feel free to contact any of the following faculty librarians:

Jason Boczar: Digital Scholarship and Publishing Librarian and Institutional Repository Expert

Susan Ariew: Education Librarian and Researcher in OA and Predatory Publishing

Matt Torrence: Science Librarian and Library Analytics Liaison