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Evaluating Journals Before You Publish

Learn how to spot potential predatory publishers and hijacked journals before you submit your articles for publication.


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Judy Schmitt
Office: TJ Library 319C

Why Evaluate Journals?

Detective searching for clues with a magnifying glassThe rise of open access journals and other changes in publishing models have reshaped how scholars use and share journal articles. Predatory/vanity publishing did not originate with the author-pays model of some open access publications, and predatory practices are not exclusive to open access publishers. Even traditional subscription journals should be carefully evaluated before an author submits an article for publication.

Evaluation of journals and publishers does require some investigative effort, so put on your detective cap! This guide presents some basic—and some not-so-basic—questions you should ask yourself before risking your reputation on a questionable journal. The next page of this guide provides a downloadable rubric and scoring sheet designed to aid in the evaluation process.

Common Practices of Predatory Journals

Icon representing a predatorCommon practices of predatory and hijacked journals include:

  • Charging exorbitant rates for publication of articles, in conjunction with a lack of peer review or editorial oversight
  • Notifying authors of fees only after acceptance
  • Targeting scholars through mass email spamming in attempts to get them to publish or serve on editorial boards
  • Quick acceptance of low-quality papers, including hoax papers
  • Listing scholars as members of editorial boards without their permission or not allowing them to resign
  • Listing fake scholars as members of editorial boards or authors
  • Copying the visual design and language of the marketing materials and websites of legitimate, established journals
  • Fraudulent or improper use of ISSNs
  • Giving false information about the location of the publishing operation
  • Fake, non-existent, or misrepresented impact factors

Source: Stop Predatory Journals. (n.d.). About: Some basic criteria. Retrieved from
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