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Scholarly Communications & Open Access

Predatory vs. Legitimate Journals

Have you ever received solicitations to submit journal articles for publication even if you are not familiar with the journal or publisher? Some of these offers are legitimate, but others are scams perpetrated by predatory publishers.

According to a recent Nature article, "Predatory journals are a global threat. They accept articles for publication — along with authors’ fees — without performing promised quality checks for issues such as plagiarism or ethical approval. Naive readers are not the only victims. Many researchers have been duped into submitting to predatory journals, in which their work can be overlooked." It is wise to take a few basic steps to learn more about a new or unfamiliar scholarly journal.  


How do you know if a journal is legitimate?

If you know the journal because you read it or you know scholars who have published in it previously, and the journal is indexed by databases in our library and Google Scholar, it is likely a legitimate journal.

If you have not heard of the journal and/or were solicited to publish by email, these are red flags. Take two easy steps to review the journal and its publisher:

  1. Check if the journal or publisher is a member of Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or listed in the reputable Directory of Open Access Journals.
  2. Evaluate the journal's website. Test links and DOIs - are they broken or fake? What topics does the journal cover - are they overly general? Does the journal or publisher site provide clear and detailed publishing and peer review information, or not? Is the contact information legitimate, or do they list a London address but provide a phone number from Bangladesh? Are they offering a "special deal" on the open access publishing fee? These are all examples of predatory practices we have seen used on SUNY Oneonta authors. 

Predatory journals are constantly improving their practices to try to appear legitimate. If you have any suspicions that a journal or publisher is more interested in getting a publishing fee than disseminating credible scholarship, be sure to discuss the journal with your colleagues or a librarian before proceeding. 

Find legitimate journals


Think. Check. Submit. logo

Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international, cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications. 


DOAJ logo

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) verifies legitimate open access journals as well as providing access to all of their articles. Search by journal or article. DOAJ is an international membership organization and is free to use. 


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