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Open Access

In this guide, learn about discovering freely available research and find ways to make your work open access.

Predatory Publishers

If you've investigated publishing in an open access (OA) journal, you've likely heard of predatory journals or publishers. These publishers, while certainly not exclusive to OA journals, tend to target authors seeking to publish in OA journals or may contact authors directly asking for manuscripts. They exist primarily to gain profit.

Frequently, these publishers do not initially mention an author's fee, but may later ask for a publication fee under the guise of operating as a quality journal.

Determining if a Journal is Predatory

  • Closely examine the editor and staff of the journal. Is a single editor responsible for a large number of journals across a publisher? Is there a lack of information or diversity on the editorial or review board?
  • Does the publisher fail to list transparent policies and fees? Did the publisher's operations begin with a large fleet of quickly created journals?
  • Is the contact information for the publisher, editors, or review board difficult to find or not present?
  • Is the journal title misleading, or does it list a false impact factor or other quality-determining metrics?
  • Does the journal send spam requests for manuscripts or peer reviews to scholars not qualified to write on or review the subject in question?
  • Are previously published articles low quality or re-published without proper permissions from other journals?

Industry Memberships

Membership in the Directory of Open Access Journals or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association is a good indicator that a journal is not predatory. You can check these sites to help you determine that the journal you are interested is legitimate.