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Publishing: Predatory publishing

This guide is designed to assist you with publishing academic research, including finding the right journal, journal impact factors, ERA, open access, publisher and data requirements, questions around copyright and tips from the experts.


When building a publishing track record it is important to avoid publishing in journals or through book publishers who engage in unethical practices, such as falsely claiming that your work will be peer reviewed, or displaying fictitious impact factors.

This type of publication will not be regarded as reputable by your colleagues and is unlikely to be easily accessible or cited.

The primary motivation of predatory publishers is profit from the fee you pay for publication. However it should be noted that being asked to pay for Open Access (via an APC) to an accepted article is different to being asked to pay to publish. Many high quality non-predatory journals charge for Open Access publishing.

Read more about 'predatory' publishing:

Major new report: 'Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences'

'Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences' Report

Produced by the InterAcademy Partnership, a 'global network of over 140 science, engineering and medical academies', this report is the result of:

  • a two-year study (2020-2021) encompassing a global survey of researchers with 1,872 respondents from 112 countries
  • stakeholder focus groups, and 
  • a literature review. 

The report includes a revised definition of predatory journals and conferences emphasising a nuanced approach based on a spectrum of 'predatory behaviours'. Researchers can use the lists of indicators/behaviours to help make decisions about where a particular journal or conference sits on the spectrum which ranges from Fradulent (High Risk) through Deceptive, Unacceptable low-quality, Low quality, Promising low-quality and Questionable quality to Quality (Low Risk). 

Tools to help you avoid 'predatory' publishers

Phony vs legit

Select this image to explore some of the key characteristics of 'predatory' and legitimate publication websites

Evaluating Scholarly Journals infographic from FrontMatter by Allen Press, CC BY ND NC 3.0