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Clinical and Research Support

What are predatory journals?

A scam. Predatory journals are low quality or fraudulent journals which take authors submission fees but offer little, no, or even negative value in return. They typically do not peer review, proof read or provide feedback on articles. They are generally not indexed in databases, have no significant readership and very low impact factors.


What damage does submitting an article to a predatory journal do?

  1. You have wasted money
  2. Your good research is now in a dodgy journal, reducing your audience and impact
  3. Once published it can be harder to re-publish in a reputable journal


How do I avoid predatory journals?

  1.   Use the checklists at
  2.   Check if the journal is indexed in Medline, Embase or DOAJ
  3.   Be wary of journals offering fast turnaround times. Peer review can only be done so quick.
  4.   Don't respond to emails soliciting articles for publication. Reputable journals generally do not do this.
  5.   Use the  Journal/Author Name Estimator (JANE) tool to identify suitable journals.
  6.   Look the journal up on Wikipedia


Are all Open Access journals predatory?

Not at all. Open Access (OA) is a reputable, mainstream response to the issue in scholarly publishing whereby the community has to pay significant amounts to access research it has itself funded. OA increases access to research and improves research impact and citations.

Predatory publishers exploit the author-pays mechanism of OA for fraudulent ends.


Only fools get caught out by predatory publishing, right?

While some predatory journals are immediately obvious, many go to great lengths to look legitimate, including:

  1.  Sound alike journal titles. Eg Archives of Medicine (predatory)  vs  Archives of Internal Medicine (legitimate)
  2.  Sophisticated websites that mimic reputable publishers or journals
  3.  Co-opting the profiles of reputable researchers onto editorial boards (usually without their knowledge)
  4.  Being available by PubMed (but not Medline)

Plenty of experienced researchers have been caught  out.


What to look for

   1. The journal's scope of interest includes unrelated subjects alongside legitimate topics.
   2. Website contains spelling and grammar errors
   3. Images or logos are distorted/fuzzy or misrepresented/unauthorized.
   4. Website targets authors, not readers (i.e. publisher prioritizes making money over product).
   5. The Index Copernicus Value (a bogus impact metric) is promoted.
   6. There is no clear description of how the manuscript is handled.
   7. Manuscripts are submitted by email.
   8. Rapid publication is promoted, and promised.
   9. There is no article retraction policy.
  10. There is no digital preservation plan for content.
  11. The APC (article processing charge) is very low (e.g., <$150)
  12. A journal that claims to be open access either retains copyright of published research or fails to mention copyright.
  13. Contact email address is non-professional and non-journal/publisher affiliated (e.g.,, or

Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison.

BMC Medicine. 15:28.2017 :

More on this..

Predatory open-access publishing. Wikipedia.

List of Predatory Journals

Journals following the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommendations.

Flattering emails will get you everywhere, except when they’re from junk journals. The Conversation, 2017.

Predatory publishers: the journals that churn out fake science. The Guardian, August 2018.