Predatory journals and publishers

Predatory journals (scam journals) are bogus OA journals, i.e., fraudulent journals established solely to generate profit through the unauthorized collection of royalties. Another type is the so-called hijacked journals, i.e., fraudulent journals that wrongfully take on the identity of a scholarly journal and appear at first glance to be identical to a real journal.

Publishing with predatory journals and publishers reduces not only the credibility of the author, but also the credibility of the institution and the scientific community in general. Some articles published by predators are of low quality and make minimal contribution to the dissemination of scientific knowledge and the advancement of scientific understanding. By publishing with predators, authors artificially increase their publishing activity in order to gain a higher profile.

How to recognize a predatory journal?

Most predatory journals exhibit the following common features:

  • (almost) no barriers to publishing submitted work (they will accept anything the author pays for)
  • absence of peer review, fictitious peer review, an inadequately described peer review process
  • the condition of paid membership in a non-existent organization
  • non-compliance with publication standards
  • indiscriminate, intrusive and even aggressive approaching of potential authors – contributors and reviewers via email
  • inclusion of names of well-known world scientists in editorial boards without their consent and knowledge
  • members of the editorial board do not have precise affiliation data
  • the editorial board has few or no international members
  • insufficient contact details
  • false indexing in established databases
  • own journal evaluation metrics, fake impact factor, fake ISSN, DOI or other non-existent identifiers
  • plagiarism in published texts
  • misusing the names of well-known journals (they choose a well-known journal or conference and change the name slightly)
  • too general names of journals such as EuropeanScientific Journal or International Journal of World Research etc., too broad a range of topics

Familiarize yourselves with the publishing ethicspublishing transparency, the Derivace platform on responsible publishing, with publishing fees and types of peer-review procedure:

  • open/transparent = the reviewer as well as the author is informed who is the author and reviewer of the submitted manuscript
  • unilaterally anonymous = the reviewer knows the author's name, the author does not know the reviewer's name
  • mutually anonymous = author and reviewer do not know each other's names
  • two-level procedure = if the manuscript is returned to the author for editing, the reviewer gets to read the edited manuscript again; in the case of minor edits, the editor's review is sufficient
  • single-level procedure = the reviewer receives the manuscript only once, further reading and editing is done by the editor on the basis of the reviewer's recommendation
  • open commenting = comments from colleagues/readers on a published article; authors are invited to respond to the comments.


Before publishing in an OA journal, check the journal's website and verify the information provided by the journal. The list of fraudulent journals in which Czech scientists have published and been awarded RIV points was compiled by Daniel Munich. You can also check the database of open journal ratings by publishing authors in QOAM or CABELL´S Black list and White list.

How to verify predatory journals and publishers can be found at Think-Check-Submit and on the Czech website Vím, kde publikuji. A detailed material on predatory journals was compiled by Masaryk University and you can also check out the presentation Vědec versus predátor (.ppt, Czech only).

Check the metrics the journal uses. According to the Methodology for evaluating the results of research organizations, only the impact factor and the indexation of the journal in the Web of Science and Scopus databases are relevant. Watch the seminar on predatory penetration of the Scopus database.

How to spot a predatory publisher?

  • publishing a large number of titles in a low print run
  • a limited number of authors whose publications are published in thousands of copies
  • frequently approached by PhD students to publish dissertations
  • absence of a peer review process
  • low production costs, overpriced titles
  • low level of editorial activity (errors in publications, etc.)
  • view the website of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association OASPA

Beware of predatory conferences too!

How to spot a predatory conference?

  • collection of conference fees
  • it is not a professional conference
  • the need to check organizers and institutions publishing conference papers
  • checking the venue, contact details, program
  • information from colleagues
  • Is the conference on the CPCI Index?
  • the ConferenceAlerts service

Tips against predators

  • checking the journal/publisher/conference prior to publication!
  • verified channels – Web of Science, SCOPUS, ERIHplus, Directory of Open Access Journals, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, ROAD
  • not to respond to unsolicited emails inviting you to publish
  • when in doubt, seek more information or help from the library
  • university ethical guidelines for publishing with predators
  • a list of recommended and suspicious periodicals
  • electronic bulletin board for manuscripts within the department (uploading before submission to the journal)
  • approver of the text in OBD