Skip to Main Content

How to Avoid Predatory Publishers

Corresponding libguide for the webinar

Why should you avoid predatory publishers

There are several potential problems with predatory journals:

  • They might not publish your article at all
  • If they do, they might not archive it
  • People might not read it
    • There is so much scholarly literature out there, people aren't going to waste their time with journals where the only requirement is money
  • If people don't read it, people do not cite it
  • It does not look good in your tenure/promotion packet

How to Spot Predatory Publishers

Ask your colleagues what they think of the journal

  • Disdvantage:
    • Sometimes colleagues like bad journals
Look at journal evaluating sources like Cabell's Journalytics and Scimago Journal Ranking
Gives you a good Statistics-at-a-Glance of the journal
  • Disadvantage:
    • Not all journals are included
  • Is it good research all on the main theme of the journal?
  • Does it look like it was edited?
  • Are the ads appropriate?


  • Disadvantage:
    • Only weeds out the journals that don’t put in effort
Do they publish regularly?  Once a year?  Every week?
  • Disadvantage:
    • This is not a disqualifier on its own.  Lots of societies don’t publish regularly.  But combined with other problems, it is not a journal you want to use.
Google the journal name.  Make sure the website they’re using is the right one. 
  • Predatory journals have hijacked established journals.
    • If you want to double check, look at
Instead of entirely copying a successful journal, some use VERY similar titles
  • One fake journal copied the real Multiple Sclerosis Journal with the Journal of Multiple Sclerosis.

Are these people of interest in the field?

Double check that the listed editors mention their editorship

Where can you find it?  What databases at least show the abstract?

If any databases carry it, they will say.  Then doublecheck those databases that they do carry it.

There are lists of journals and publishers that have agreed to follow certain ethical codes.  Do any relevant lists have the journal?

How to Find Journals to Publish In

Look back at the disqualifying steps and work from there
  • See what Scimago Journal Rankings recommends for your discipline
  • Look at databases and well-known publishers, see what they list in your field
  • Look at ethical code lists, see what journals there are in your field
  • Talk to colleagues

500 W. University Avenue : El Paso, TX, 79968-0582 : (915) 747-5672
Copyright | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer
State Reports | UT System | Customer Service Statement | Site Feedback | Required Links |