Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Predatory Journals
What is a predatory journal?
The following consensus definition of predatory publishing was published in Nature:
"Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices."
Why should I be concerned?
If you publish your research in a predatory journal, you face these potential consequences:
- Damage to your reputation and career
- Wasted time, effort, and money
- Loss of your research and scholarship
How can I identify a predatory journal?
Quality journals meet the following criteria. Investigate carefully. If a journal does not meet one or more of these criteria, you may want to avoid it.
- Journal’s website provides clear, true, verifiable information about the publisher and the publishing process.
- The journal follows international standards for peer review and research integrity. For example, see the best practices recommended by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE).
- The editors and board members listed on the journal’s website are experts in the relevant research area and, on their own websites or CVs, they mentioned service to the journal.
- The journal is indexed in major databases, such as EBSCO, Web of Science, Scopus, and PubMed.
Why can’t I simply check for a particular journal on a “watchlist”?
Watchlists are incomplete. They go out of date very quickly, and they may accidentally include quality journals. You want to investigate a journal for yourself.
What other tools are available for evaluating journals?
One tool is Think. Check. Submit.,
which provides information about predatory journals as well as predatory book publishers and conferences.
What can I do if I accidentally publish in a predatory journal?
- Contact the journal and request that they withdraw or take down the article.
- If the journal does not respond and you retained copyright, consider submitting DMCA take down notice.
- As a last resort, depending on the support you have from your institution and the specifics of your publication agreement, you might consider threatening legal action.
- If you are not able to withdraw your article but you have retained the copyright to your work, it may be worth contacting an editor with an explanation of your circumstances to inquire whether they will consider it for publication.
FAQs adapted from Cornell and University of Arkansas research guides.