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Where to Publish Your Research

Predatory journals

  • Exist only to make money, not to advance scholarship and knowledge. 
  • Take advantage of the author pays model of open access, often not clearly stating the fee structure.
  • Fail to follow the accepted standards of publishing peer reviewed research.
  • Usually list an ISSN, but an ISSN is not a guarantee of quality or validity of contents. And, unscrupulous publishers have been known to make up an ISSN.
  • Often send out mass emails soliciting for articles or people to serve as editors or peer reviewers.

Official definition of predatory journals

“Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.”
Predatory Journals No Definition No Defense, Nature, December 11, 2019

Lists of publishers that may be predatory

Common characteristics of predatory publishers

  1. The scope of interest includes non-biomedical subjects alongside biomedical topics
  2. The website contains spelling and grammar errors
  3. Images are distorted/fuzzy, intended to look like something they are not, or which are unauthorized
  4. The homepage language targets authors
  5. The Index Copernicus Value is promoted on the website
  6. Description of the manuscript handling process is lacking
  7. Manuscripts are requested to be submitted via email
  8. Rapid publication is promised
  9. There is no retraction policy
  10. Information on whether and how journal content will be digitally preserved is absent
  11. The Article processing/publication charge is very low (e.g., <$150)
  12. Journals claiming to be open access either retain copyright of published research or fail to mention copyright
  13. The contact email address is non-professional and non-journal affiliate (e.g., or

"Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-section comparison"
by Larissa Shamseer, David Moher, Onyi Maduekwe, Lucy Turner, Virginia Barbour, Rebecca Burch, et. al.
BMC Medicine volume 15: 28 March 16, 2017 DOI: 10.1186/s12916-017-0785-9

Checklist for identifying predatory publishers

Steps to take if you unknowingly submit an article to a predatory publisher

What to do if your work is published online without your permission

If someone posts your work online without your permission, you have recourse under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
This law protects internet service providers from legal action, provided they respond quickly to requests to remove infringing material from their sites.

Identify the DMCA agent for the website.

Notification must be in writing and contain the following elements:

  • A physical or electronic signature of a person authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.
  • Identification of the copyrighted work claimed to have been infringed, or, if multiple copyrighted works at a single online site are covered by a single notification, a representative list of such works at that site.
  • Identification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to locate the material.
  • Information reasonably sufficient to permit the service provider to contact the complaining party, such as an address, telephone number, and, if available, an electronic mail address at which the complaining party may be contacted.
  • A statement that the complaining party has a good faith belief that use of the material in the manner complained of is not authorized by the copyright owner, its agent, or the law.
  • A statement that the information in the notification is accurate, and under penalty of perjury, that the complaining party is authorized to act on behalf of the owner of an exclusive right that is allegedly infringed.

Here is a sample DMCA takedown letter.