6 Predatory Publishing

Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter you will be able to:

  • Identify and avoid predatory publications
  • Understand the issues with predatory publishers
  • Understand Open Access publishing models


What are predatory publishers?

Predatory publishers are exploitative publishers that take advantage of the Open Access publishing model. They charge publication fees (article processing charges or APCs) to authors, but they forgo the peer review and editorial services of legitimate Open Access publishers.

Predatory publishers try to trick researchers into thinking they are legitimate, some techniques include:

  • Having names that are very similar to the names of legitimate journals
  • Sending enticing spam emails to researchers
  • Copying the name and information of legitimate journals (see Ch 9. Hijacked Journals)


Shark chasing someone with a briefcase


An increasing problem

The number of predatory publishers has exploded in the last decade, so it is increasingly important to be able to identify and avoid predatory publishers.

Increast in predatory publishers, from >50 in 2011 to 900 in 2016
Increase in predatory publications from 2011 to 2016
Why should you avoid predatory publishers?

Publishing in predatory publications:

  • Researchers will not be able to find your work, as predatory publishers are not included in academic databases
  • People will not cite your work, as researchers avoid citing predatory publications
  • Your work will not be peer-reviewed, as predatory publications to not go through a peer-review process
  • You cannot republish your paper in a legitimate journal without significant changes, as journals will not publish work that has already been published
  • Your reputation as a researcher will suffer

Citing predatory publications:

  • This work is not peer-reviewed, so it is not up to the same standard of quality as peer-reviewed publications
  • Many predatory publishers contain pseudo-science or incorrect information
  • It reflects poorly on your work when you cite predatory publishers
  • Citing predatory publishers lends them legitimacy


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Advanced Library Skills for Physics Research Copyright © 2020 by Lauren Stieglitz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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