Predatory Publishing: What Authors and Researchers Need to Know

Post written by Stephanie Kinnan and Deborah Bowman, MFA, ELS.

Predatory publishing is a growing concern in the current “publish or perish” culture of scholarly research. “An increasingly persistent problem, encouraged by the growing popularity of open access publishing, predatory or illegitimate publications result in the waste of resources and funds and the loss of research when articles fail to be indexed in proper repositories.”1

These publications prey on authors who are eager to publish their work, generally through solicitation emails containing excessive flattery. These emails, sent directly to researchers, often offer guaranteed acceptance, reduced publication fees, and/or quick peer-review turnaround times (peer review that often does not exist). It is important for authors to be aware of this fraudulent trend and be vigilant when choosing where to submit their work.

Know the signs:

  • Spelling and grammatical errors in the solicitation email or on the journal’s website.
  • Failure to include information about the journal’s peer-review process or Editors.
  • Suspiciously low publication fees and unusually rapid peer-review turnaround times.
  • Guaranteed acceptance prior to submission.
  • Journal title that is similar to a legitimate, well-established journal.
  • Use of generic email addresses, eg,

If you are concerned that a journal may be predatory, take some time to do a little research before submitting. Go to their website (red flag #1 if they do not have one), look at the previous content published by the journal, ask your colleagues what they know about the journal’s reputation, and check whether it is indexed in a legitimate database, ie, DOAJ or PubMed. Not only your work, but your reputation is at stake when choosing where to submit your research. Make sure you are protecting yourself from the predators of scholarly publishing.

In the January issue of GIE, Senior Managing Editor of Clinical Publications, Deborah Bowman, and GIE Editor-in-Chief, Michael Wallace, delve deeper into the world of predatory publishing and offer advice on how to protect your work and yourself in their article, Predatory journals: a serious complication in the scholarly publishing landscape.


Additional resources for authors:

  • Roberts J. Predatory journals: know thy enemy­–what editorial offices can do to educate their stakeholders. EON 2017;11:4-8.
  • Shamseer L, Moher D, Maduekwe O. Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Med 2017;15(1):28.
  • Think, Check, Submit



  1. McDevitt M, Kinnan S. Eighth International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication. EON 2017;11:11-15.


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