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Avoid Publishing Scams

Resources to Assess Journal Quality

13 Evidence-Based Characteristics of Predatory Publishers

Shamseer et al. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine. 15:28. DOI:

  1. The journal's scope of interest includes unrelated subjects alongside legitimate topics.

  2. Website contains spelling and grammar errors

  3. Images or logos are distorted/fuzzy or misrepresented/unauthorized.

  4. Website targets authors, not readers (i.e. publisher prioritizes making money over product).

  5. The Index Copernicus Value (a bogus impact metric) is promoted.

  6. There is no clear description of how the manuscript is handled.

  7. Manuscripts are submitted by email.

  8. Rapid publication is promoted, and promised.

  9. There is no article retraction policy.

  10. There is no digital preservation plan for content.

  11. The APC (article processing charge) is very low (e.g., <$150)

  12. A journal that claims to be open access either retains copyright of published research or fails to mention copyright.

  13. Contact email address is non-professional and non-journal/publisher affiliated (e.g.,, or

Assessing Journals

  • Does the journal have a website that clearly identifies the publisher and provides contact information?
  • Does the journal claim to be included or under review for inclusion in indexes such as MEDLINE, Web of Science and Scopus? Check these claims to see if the journal is listed and what the inclusion criteria are.
  • Is the journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?
  • Does the Cabell's journal database have any information about the journal or publisher? 
  • Does the journal claim to have an impact factor? VCU has access to Journal Citation Reports on InCites, where you can verify impact factor claims.
  • Is the publisher listed as a member of the following organizations? These organizations have membership criteria and vet their members in order to weed out predatory publishers. Pay close attention to whether they are a member of one of these organizations, or whether they only say that they follow the organization's guidelines. If the publisher is not an official member, their publishing practices have not been vetted by the organizations.
  • What does the journal site say about peer review? Does the journal claim a very short turnaround for peer review that might indicate it is not occurring or is not of a good quality?
  • If the journal has article publishing fees, are they clearly stated?
  • Does the journal have a preservation policy to show they are committed to keeping your research available over time?
  • What is the quality of the articles based on your own review?
  • If you search for the journal or publisher online, do you find negative comments about it from colleagues on websites like scholarly blogs or networking sites?

Resources to Assess Book Publisher Quality