Springe direkt zu Inhalt

Information on "Predatory Publishing"

„Predatory Publishing“ is an exploitative publishing business model where publication fees are being charged without providing editorial services or valid quality control procedures.

How to check if the journal is reputable and trustworthy?

If there is uncertainty whether a journal complies with scientific standards, researchers should check the following points before submitting the article:

The key questions and criteria compiled in the checklist Think.Check.Submit provide good guidance on how to assess if the chosen journal is trusted.

If you have questions concerning quality control in case of open access journals, or if you are not sure if a journal unfamiliar to you complies with scientific standards, please contact the Open Access Team at open-access@fu-berlin.de.

Further information

  • Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OSPA): Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing (Link)
  • Helmholtz Open Science: FAQs zum Thema „predatory publishing“ (Link)
  • Handout Predatory Publishing - Leibniz Association (Link)
  • OA-Project Baden-Württemberg & Checklist to identify Fake Journals (Link)

Characteristics (extract)

Predatory journals try to attract new submissions by aggressive email advertising. They promise a rapid peer review process and offer discounts for APCs (Article processing charges). Very often, large-format and sometimes colorful fonts are used as well as underlined and bold print. Regarding content, sometimes the correspondence attracts attention by an exuberant wording which, however, has no direct link to the addressee.

The journal bears strong resemblance to prestigious well-known journals.
The journal uses a journal impact factor which often turns out to be forged.
The journal is not indexed in the database ‘Web of Science’ or the ISSN has not been assigned.
Some dubious journals abuse the identities of academics and researchers by using their names for their committees or editorial board lists - without these persons’ consent or even knowledge.

The websites design and layout are either kept simple and almost “oldfashioned”, or often imitate the well-established designs and logos of well-known journals.
A lack of clear and transparent information about the peer review process, submission process or requested article processing charges.
The publisher’s name is not stated clearly on the website.
Contact details like telephone number and address turn out to be non-existant.
Predatory journals commonly use non-professional (free) email adresses (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo).
Authors are asked to send their manuscript by email and not through a professional online submission system.

So-called predatory conferences are characterized by inviting authors to submit abstracts and manuscripts which supposedly will be published in high ranked journals or indexed in well-known databases. After the acceptance affected authors are charged for publication of their articles – but the articles are never published in the journal as promised.

These questionable conferences are usually organized by individuals or companies instead of well-known scientific communities or universities. Attenders have to pay high registration fees; the meetings, however, are of low quality. Sometimes they only take place virtually and sometimes not at all.

The initiative Think.Check.Attend.  assists researchers when choosing trusted conferences to attend.

Stellungnahme von neun Partnern der Allianz der Wissenschaft sorganisationen zur Qualitätssicherung von wissenschaftlichen Veröffentlichungen vom 25. Juli 2018 (Link)

Bowman, & Wallace. (2018). Predatory journals: A serious complication in the scholarly publishing landscape. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 87(1), 273-274.

Chen, Y / Björk BC (2015): Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics, BMC Medicine13:230 (Link)

Eriksson, S., & Helgesson, G. (2017). The false academy: Predatory publishing in science and bioethics. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 20(2), 163-170. (Link)

Jawad, F. (2017). Letter to the Editor: Comment on Predatory Journals. Journal of Korean Medical Science, 32(1), 162-163.

Martin, Alexandre, & Martin, Tristan. (2016). A not‐so‐harmless experiment in predatory open access publishing. Learned Publishing, 29(4), 301-305.

McCann, T., & Polacsek, M. (2018). False gold: Safely navigating open access publishing to avoid predatory publishers and journals. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74(4), 809-817.

Rich, T. (2016). Predatory publishing, open access, and the costs to academia. PS: Political Science & Politics, 49(2), 265-267.

Richtig, G, Berger, M, Lange-Asschenfeldt, B, Aberer, W, & Richtig, E. (2018). Problems and challenges of predatory journals. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology : JEADV.

Sorooshian, S. (2017). Conference Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing. Science and Engineering Ethics, 23(6), 1805-1806.

Xia, J. (2015). Predatory journals and their article publishing charges. Learned Publishing, 28(1), 69-74.

Beall, Jeffrey (2012). Predatory publishers are corrupting open access. Nature, 489(7415), 179.

107. Deutscher Bibliothekartag in Berlin 2018 (conference slides): Karin Lackner, Clara Ginther (2018). Predatory Publishing - Herausforderung für WissenschaftlerInnen und Bibliotheken. (Link)


  • fake conferences
  • fake journals
  • fake publishers
  • predatory journals
  • predatory publishing
  • unethical publishers