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Office of Research Integrity

Predatory Journals and Conferences

The purpose of this page is to provide insight into predatory journals and conferences. 

The ORI is aware there may be a lack of understanding by students and faculty regarding what predatory journals, predatory publishers, and predatory conferences are and the negative impact they have on academia. As a result, we hope the explanations, insight, and links below provide clarification and express the concern towards predatory journals, publishers, and conferences.

"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 the best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices" (source).

The above definition was recently published in Nature titled "Predatory Journals: no definition, no defence." To read the article follow this link.

Predatory Journals disguise themselves as legitimate journals, but are not. Predatory journals use the open access publication model to deceive researchers into paying for publication without the academic rigor of peer-review or proper editorial requirements expected from legitimate publishing companies.

Predatory Conferences similarly disguise themselves as legitimate conferences, but are not. Predatory conferences exploit academics desire to present research. Predatory conferences do not provide the quality of research or the audience of reputable academics expected. Like predatory journals, these conferences may have similar titles as reputable conferences.

Academically

- Predatory journals and conferences exploit the pressure of publications and conferences presentations on academic researchers. By offering quick publications, key components of scholarly publication are neglected, specifically peer-review and editing. The peer-review process is the evaluation of research by established researchers in a field of study to review the work's validity. Editing staff in scholarly journals review a submission's suitability for publication and seek to find inconsistencies in the research. Within predatory journals, peer-review and editing services are of poor-qualify or non-existent. As a result, research of poor academic quality receive publication negatively impacting fields of study.

Professionally

- Publication in predatory journals or presenting at predatory conferences are not well received by academic committees and accrediting bodies. Predatory journals and conferences lack the academic rigor expected by committees and boards responsible for professional advancement.

Intellectually

- Predatory journals often require authors to relinquish intellectual copyright of research. This can prevent researchers/authors from pursuing future publication elsewhere. 

Click on the PDFs to see examples of invitations

HSS Solicitation

Follow the link below to see other examples provided by DH Kaye

Predatory Journal Invitations

Predatory Conference Invitations

Lack of Legitimate Peer-Review 

- The peer-review process is the evaluation of scholarly articles and research by established researchers in a specific field of study to review the work's validity. The peer-review process investigates the validity of research. This process checks for false or misleading research. Peer-review ensures the integrity of scientific discourse. The process can NOT be completed in a short time. The average peer review period can take between 12 and 25 weeks (source).

Lack of Financial Transparency

- The open-access model of publication enables journals to publish articles by charging publication fees to the authors/researchers. Standard operating procedure with the open-access model is for publishers to provide authors/researchers with clearly defined costs/fees to be incurred prior to publication. These fees cover costs to maintain reviewing and editing standards. Predatory journals often do not provide clear descriptions of fees up front or clearly defined on their website.

Lack of Proper Editorial Services

- Editorial services are responsible for the quality of a journal's publications. Editorial services track the review process responsible for the content and style of an articles. Editorial services include an editorial board, senior editors, and assistant editors. Editorial boards are considered experts in their fields. Editorial staff are held in high esteem and publishing companies clearly identify who these individuals are. Predatory journals may not list any individuals specifically or editing staff at all. Predatory journals have been found to falsely claim to have researchers as editors or make up names for the editing staff (source). 

Lack of Proper Web Presence 

- Open Access publications are professional. They operate and maintain high quality, professional websites. Professional publishing companies identify connections to associations, companies, and institutions that pertain to areas of research. Predatory journal websites often operate low-quality websites that do not provide expected standard information. Low-quality can include grammatical errors, poor wording, typos, or images that do not appear to be authorized, i.e. fuzzy or distorted images. Expected information includes a sufficient "About" section and a "Contact Us" section with an address, relevant phone numbers, and professional email addresses of staff, not gmail, yahoo, or other general email account addresses.

Lack of Journal Indexing or Falsification of Impact Factors

- Journal indexing pertains to a journal's establishment and recognition in a field of study. Journal indexing requires a publication to have these basic components: article-level metadata, Digital Object Identifier (DOI), International Standard Serial Number (ISSN), and a set schedule for publication. Impact factors of journals are used to identify the frequency articles are cited from that journal. Impact factors identify the reach an article has through a publication. The higher the impact factor of a journal, the farther reach an article has in that journal.

Lack of Association Membership

- Associations are created to ensure professionalism and high standards. Open Access journals should belong to the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and Open Access Scholarly Publishers' Association (OASPA). Authors/researchers should be skeptical of any journals not clearly identifying as members of either association. 

Links for evaluating journals

Think. Check. Submit.

Beall's Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access Publishers

University of Cambridge's Checklist

George Washing University Library's Predatory Publisher Red Flags

Rutgers University Library Warning Signs

10 Steps To Spot A Predatory Publisher

13 Warning Signs

Links for evaluating conferences

AuthorAid Questions to Ask Before Registering

George Washington University Library's Predatory Conferences Red Flags

Conference Evaluation Tool by Lopez, E & Gaspard, C. (2018)

Please note: Just because a journal or conference is not on any of the lists below does not mean the journal or conference is not predatory.  

Predatory Journals / Publishers

Beall's List

Dolos' List

Stop Predatory Journals' List

Predatory Conferences

CalTech Library's Predatory Conference List

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