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Open Access Publishing

Avoiding deceptive journals

Deceptive journals (also commonly referred to as "predatory journals") are fake journals that prey on authors for the sole purpose of extracting money. Their websites advertise misleading information (e.g., prestigious authors publishing in their journals and rigorous peer review, which are a sham) to trick authors into thinking they are legitimate journals. Their Article Processing Charge (APC) is typically inexpensive in comparison to legitimate OA journals. These journals advertise a high acceptance rate and fast turnaround time. They also send unsolicited emails to researchers and students to praise their work and invite them to publish. Deceptive journals are of growing concern as they become more difficult to identify and continue to discredit research. 

How to spot a deceptive journal?

Here are some helpful resources on identifying deceptive journals:

Deceptive journals are becoming more sophisticated in misleading authors. In addition to the Think Check Submit guidelines for evaluating a journal, here are some suggestions for identifying a deceptive journal: 

  • The journal lacks a clearly defined scope with a fixed set of topics. The topics of the articles published in the journal are wide-ranging and/or do not match the scope of the journal. 
  • Acceptance guaranteed with a short peer-review turnaround time is a red flag. 
  • The peer review process is unclear or lacks details. 
  • Search for the journal in the database(s) that the publisher claims it is indexed in so you can verify the claim. Lying about indexing is common among deceptive journals. 
  • It is misleading for a journal to claim that it is indexed in sources such as Google Scholar, Ulrich's Web and Menderley. While these sources are legitimate tools, they are not academic research databases that curate journals from reputable publishers. 

Deceptive Conferences

Deceptive conferences exploit and take advantage of researchers keen to present their research at scholarly conferences with the purpose of profiting from registration fees. Deceptive conferences lack peer review and often mislead participants by misrepresenting presenters and those involved. By registering and participating in a deceptive conference, authors may lose a significant amount of money and put their reputation at risk. 

For more information on deceptive conferences, visit the website of Think. Check. Attend