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Predatory Journals

Predatory journals are journals whose publishers abuse the Open Access model for the sole purpose of making money. These publishers charge hefty publication charges (Article Processing Charges or APCs) without providing proper editorial services or peer review.

Predatory journals and publishers are typically characterized by providing misleading information and aggressive marketing techniques. They often use prestigious, familiar-sounding names, which can lead a researcher astray. Have you received an e-mail invitation to submit an article from a journal you are not familiar with? If so, be extra vigilant.

Use the checklist from the Think. Check. Submit.campaign to determine if a journal is appropriate and trustworthy, or use the tips below.

Tips for recognizing predatory journals

  • Always check if the journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This is a white-list for reliable open access journals. All journals are extensively vetted before being listed.
  • Google the name of the journal to check whether others may have had (bad) experiences with the journal.
  • Look at some articles the journal has published and evaluate their quality. Are they of the level you would expect within your field in terms of content and language? Do the articles fall within the scope of the journal? 
  • Look closely at the journal's editorial board members. Are they reliable scholars? Check their contact information elsewhere, such as on the website of the university they claim to be affiliated with. Find and review some of their publications.
  • Check the journal's contact information. Can you reach the publisher by phone, e-mail and mail? Can you verify the address? Check Google Maps!
  • See if the publisher is clear and transparent about the peer review process used. 
  • Check the turnaround time between submission and acceptance of articles. Is this sufficient for peer review and revision?
  • Are you sure you have been approached by a predatory journal? If so, include the journal and publisher in your spam filter and block the sender.

Have you done these checks and are you still in doubt? Then contact us: We can help you assess the integrity of a publisher or magazine.

Questions about Open Access publishing?

Please contact the Open Access team at the University Library!


Profile photo of Open Access librarian Anne van den Maagdenberg