Where not to publish open access - predatory publishers and conferences

Avoid predatory journals

Ths choice of where to publish is not an easy one. How can you make sure that the publisher or the conference you are considering, is serious? We have collected some useful tips to help you how to choose a safe publisher when you start to publish your research.

Steps you may be aware of

  • Chech of the publisher is registered as "scholarly" (or scientific)
  • Would you personally read articles from this journal?
    • Consider wether or not the journal has relevant articles for your research interests. Do many of the articles you read cite from this journal?
    • Is the journal indexed in any of the databases you use?
  • Lack of transparency
    • Look out for journals where you can find no contact details, or where you can’t find the journal’s home country, misspelling and poor grammar.
    • Be aware that some of the editorial boards contains made-up names or well-known researchers whose names have been misused. Look up the websites of the researchers and see if they mention they are members of this editorial board.
    • Do you find information on editorial procedures or how peer review is organised?
  • Aggressive solicitaions are a warning sign. Predatory publishers often use aggressive solicitation, like repeated emails, that might be overly flattering, and even might mention your earlier publications.
  • Peer reviewing takes time: If the editor promises fast publishing after submitting the article, it may be because they are not doing any peer reviewing, and the publisher will not be accredited by the Nordic list. Normally the time from submitting a journal article until it is published can be a year or more.

Predatory and fake conferences

Most researchers receive invitations to participate at new conferences. It is temptating to accept a flattering invitation to attend a large academic conference. When arriving at the conference, the major head speakers don’t show up, the timetable is full of withdrawn submissions, and the program has a low quality. In addition to the cost of registration fees, travel and accommodation, you must take into account the wasted work. Beware if you receive a flattering invitation to attend a conference. Examine the conference and find out who is responsible.

Here are some of the signs you can look out for:

  • Conference subject and scope. Look out for conference titles that are overly ambitious, or conferences that have a broad program and include topics from a range of disciplines
  • The website: Is the language on the conference website full of misspelling and grammar mistakes? Can you easily find organiser´s contact details, or are they missing or wrong?
  • Be sceptical if another conference with almost the same name already exist
  • Frequency: If the conference is held multiple times in different cities, this can be a predatory sign

More reading

Borges do Nascimento, I. J., Pizarro, A. B., Almeida, J. M., Azzopardi-Muscat, N., Gonçalves, M. A., Björklund, M., & Novillo-Ortiz, D. (2022). Infodemics and health misinformation: a systematic review of reviews. Bulletin of the World Health Organization100(9), 544-561. http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.21.287654 

COPE (2019). Predatory publishing: Discussion document. Publication ethics. https://doi.org/10.24318/cope.2019.3.6

Grudniewicz, A., Moher, D., Cobey, K. D., Bryson, G. L., Cukier, S., Allen, K., ... & Lalu, M. M. (2019). Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature576(7786), 210-212. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03759-y  



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