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What is a "Predatory Journal?"

What is a Predatory Journal?

Predatory journals exploit the Open Access publishing model to mislead authors to publish with them. Common traits of predatory publishing include a lack of transparency, deception, and dishonesty. Publishers of predatory journals will accept almost any article that they are paid to publish, and these published articles are not subject to adequate peer or editorial review as they would be at a legitimate scholarly journal; some journals have no peer-review practices at all. 

Predatory publishers are sometimes called "deceptive publishers" or "suspicious publishers." "Predatory" implies that the blame is all on the publishers, though some authors publish with journals like these in full knowledge that they do not apply rigorous peer review. This guide will help you evaluate whether or not a journal is predatory. 

Principles and Criteria


Tell-Tale Signs of Predatory Journals:

  • Non-biomedical interests
  • Unprofessional website that contains many errors
  • Images on site are unclear or touched-up
  • Website home page that speaks directly to authors, not readers
  • Uses Index Copernicus Value as index factor (this is a bogus metric)
  • No clear description of publishing process
  • Asks for manuscripts to be submitted by email
  • Promises quick turnaround and publication
  • No retraction policy
  • No information on how content will be preserved
  • Low Article Processing Charge (less than $150)
  • Lack of clarity around copyright
  • Publisher/journal email address is generic (e.g.,

From Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Maduekwe, O., Turner, L., Barbour, V., Burch, R., ... & Shea, B. J. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine,15(1), 28.