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How To Avoid Predatory Publishers and Conferences

What are Deceptive Publishers?

Deceptive publishers (also commonly referred to as "predatory journals") are for-profit entities that purport to publish high quality academic research, but who do not follow accepted scholarly publishing best practices. Their ultimate goal is to make money, not publish high quality research.

For a brief overview of predatory publishing, watch the video Identifying Predatory Publishers from the University of Manitoba (2018)

Possible Consequences of Being Associated with Deceptive Publishers

A deceptive publisher may:

  • Acquire the copyright to your research but never publish
  • Publish your work, but then disappear, resulting in there being no public record of your published article
  • Make it difficult to withdraw your manuscript once submitted

Being associated with a deceptive publisher can lead to financial loss as a result of inappropriate fees, or be harmful to your reputation and that of your institution.

See the following article that reflects the possible effects that publishing in a predatory journal can have on tenure and promotion:

How I became easy prey to a predatory publisher (Alan H. Chambers, May 9, 2019)

For more information, see also the video entitled Impact of predatory journals on research (Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Feb. 22, 2021)

Tactics of Deceptive Publishers 

Stop Icon     If any of the following statements are true, do not submit your work. These are tactics commonly used by deceptive publishers:

  • Publication is guaranteed
  • You receive a spam-like unsolicited email invitation to publish work

       Note: These are different in nature than emails received from organizations or societies you belong to or have published with in the past.

  • The articles published in the journal do not match the journal's title and stated scope 

                   For more information, see the video entitled How predatory academic journals endanger science (Bradley Allf, Aug. 9, 2021)



When deciding whether to publish in a journal, please remember that some of the same criteria used to disqualify deceptive publishers can also disqualify journals from the global south. 1

In low - and middle - income countries, journal publishers may not have access to the resources to create impressive websites, register an ISSN, or maintain their own email server. A lack of resources should not disqualify these journals from your consideration if they are publishing high-quality research. A careful review of the journal's articles and a discussion of the journal with your colleagues or supervisor will always be your best guide.

1‚Äč The global south refers to "all nations classified by the World Bank as low - and middle - income that are in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean. It does not include low - and middle - income nations in Eastern Europe, including the Russian Federation." From Mitlin, D., Satterthwaite, D. (2013). Urban Poverty in the Global South. London: Routledge, 13.

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