Subject Guides

Scholarly Communications and Open Access Policy

links to determine quality in open access journals, data and web sites

Assessing Journal Quality and Predatory Publishers

Predatory publishing is defined as when a publisher will solicit researchers for manuscripts, request editorial or reviewing support for a journal, or ask for conference submissions when the sole purpose is to deceive researchers to submit content. Usually predatory publishers will request author charges as open access journals and fail to provide sufficient peer review or editorial services. 

Predatory publishing activity is increasing and tactics are becoming more sophisticated. Because of this it is important for researchers and authors to critically evaluate journal, editor, and conference paper solicitations from organizations as well as announcements of new journals, conferences and books. 

Some advice on reviewing possible predatory publishers:

  • Review articles or conference sessions to get a sense of the quality of content available.
  • Investigate the reputation of the journal and/or conference.
    • Have your colleagues heard of it or do you recognize colleagues as editors? 
    • Consult RetractionWatch to see if the journal or conference is mentioned. This site is maintained by the nonprofit Center for Scientific Integrity
    • Consider the marketing and review process. Does the journal send unsolicited emails and/or promise an unrealistic review timeline?
  • Review the journal or conference website. 
    • Does the site have a clear information about the peer review process, article processing charges (APCs), contact information for the publisher, editorial board information including affiliations, author rights information including copyright
    • Where is the journal indexed? 
    • What is the scope of the journal? Is it overly broad?
    • Is the website professional in appearance and design? Are there grammatical or spelling errors?
    • Does the site mention Impact Factors or other journal metrics? 
    • Is the publisher a member of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics) or listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?
    • Do the journal editors reference their connection to this journal on their website or CV?
    • Can you verify the impact factor by searching Clarivate Analytics Journal Citation Reports?
    • Can you verify where the journal is indexed by searching Web of Science or Ulrich's Web?


What is Predatory Publishing? University of Ontario Institute of Technology. URL:

Assessing a Publisher, University of Minnesota Libraries. URL:

How to Assess a Journal, Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). URL:

Many Academics Are Eager to Publish in Worthless Journals, New York Times, Oct 30, 2017. 

Quality Criteria for the Assessment of Education Research in Different Contexts, Bloomsbury Teaching and Learning Programme. 

Where to evaluate journal quality and identify predatory publishers