VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Open Access

Avoid Predatory Publishers

Learn how to identify and avoid predatory journals.

There is a growing number of "predatory publishers" who claim to be legitimate open access publishers. Predatory publishers are opportunistic entities that exploit researchers by charging fees while providing little or none of their promised services and benefits.

Assessing Journal Quality

For help with identifying and evaluating open access publications, contact the library liaison for your subject area or the Scholarly Communications Librarian

If you've found an open access journal relevant to your research and want to ensure its quality, check if the journal is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and see if the publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). Other evaluation criteria you might want to consider include the journal's profit model, peer review process, journal metrics and impact factor, and the credentials of the editorial board and previously published authors. 

How Open Is It?

The HowOpenIsIt?®” Open Access Spectrum (OAS) guide is an easily understandable, comprehensive resource created by PLOS, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA).

The guide moves the conversation from “Is It Open Access?” to “HowOpenIsIt?®” and helps users compare and contrast the openness of different publications and publishing policies on a continuum of more open versus less open. 

Open Access Publishing Options: Journals

Open Access Publishing Options: Monographs