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Lures you in with promises, then charges large fees after your paper has been "accepted." Publication fees are usually not openly disclosed, and after acceptance phishers may demand payment even though no paperwork has been signed.
Poses as a well-established journal or as a publication associated with a well-known brand or society. Often these journals tack on an extra word to an existing journal name such as "Advances," "Review," or " Reports" or create websites that appear to be affiliated with another publication.
Has a legitimate-looking website, often with impressive lists of publications, but upon closer inspection nothing is what it seems. The journals are empty shells or worse, populated by stolen or plagiarized articles.
Too good to be true! These publishers may in fact be legitimate businesses that aren't providing good products or customer support/service. Common problems may include no archiving policy (meaning your publication could disappear at any time); missing or ill-defined peer review criteria; and possible publishing ethics violations.
Adapted from Shamseer et al. (2017). Potential Predatory and Legitimate Biomedical Journals: Can You Tell the Difference? A Cross-Sectional Comparison. BMC Medicine, – 15:28. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12916-017-0785-9.
It's standard practice to let authors know the cost of publication before manuscript submission. This is part of the OASPA Code of Conduct.
Beware of promises of quick peer review as this can be the mark of a publisher that values profit over quality. There is concern that papers submitted to journals that advertise this type of service are not actually providing peer review.
VTRC researchers have access to Journal Citation Reports, a subscription database at the University of Virginia that includes tools for journal evaluation, using citation data taken from over 8,000 journals in the areas of science and technology. It is used to find impact factors. It takes only a moment to check!
For example: Nature Advances might seem to you to be associated with Nature Publishing Group and the well-known journal Nature, but is it? If you're unsure, it's a good idea to check the publisher's website and make sure both journals are published by the same group.