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Predatory Publishing: Evaluating Predatory Publishers and Journals

Evaluate the reputation and legitimacy of a journal

  1. Visit the journal's web site.  Examine closely the publisher web site.  Does it look like it was created by a shoddy web design team?  Does it contain grammar mistakes?  Does it provide responsive contact information?
  2. Affiliation - Is the journal affiliated with a professional association, scholarly society, or sponsored by an academic instituion?
  3. Reach out to journal's editorial board members.  Send emails to members of the editorial board asking about their experience with the journal.  Predatory journals may list editorial board members who don't know their names are associated with the journal or who have been tricked into joining the board and then can't get their names removed.
  4. Aim and goals of journal. Read the scope of the journal.  If it is too broad or if it sounds too good to be true, look again and question.
  5. Read their peer review policy.  What promises are made in the peer review policy?  Is the peer review process unbelievably quick (such as three weeks)? Is the peer review process blinded?
  6. Check to see what "author fees" are being requested.  When are they due?  Predatory publishers may be unclear on author fees.  A red flag is when the journal doesn't list a fee schedule on its website or states it will notify authors of the fee after their manuscript is accepted for publication.
  7. Consult with a Seneca librarian.  The librarians at Seneca Libraries can help you determine the legitimacy of a journal/publisher.



Check the lists below to see if a journal or publisher is listed. If they are part of one of the indexes below it indicates quality

  1. Directory of Open Access Journals lists journal titles that have met DOAJ professional criteria. Criteria include DOIs for every article and archiving standards.
  2. Check the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association to see if the publishers are members. 
  3. Check Seneca Libraries' Serials Directory to see if the publication is listed.

Case Studies



Are you unsure if an email invitation is from a predatory publisher or a legitimate one? Check the list below for possible bad guys.

  1. Beall's List of Predatory Journals and Publishers

Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado Denver, compiled a list of "potential, possible, or probable predatory" journals and publishers. The list above is an archived version of the list as the origianl Beall's list is no longer being updated. More details on the end of the list can be read at Retraction Watch. 

  1. Cabell's List

This list was created following the demise of Beall's list. Cabell's is a subscription service and Seneca College does not subscribe. For access, check a large academic or university library.

Note: These lists are by no means comprehensive and authoritative.  They are designed to help authors, but are not the final authority on this topic.  Authors should conduct their own due diligence to reach their own conclusions.