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Predatory publishing: Recognizing predatory publishers

Scientific literacy

"Scientific literacy must include the ability to recognize publishing fraud." ~ Jeffrey Beall

Common tactics of predatory publishers

  • Using aggressive email solicitations of authors with the promise of expedited peer review
    and/or speedy publication
  • Publishing journals with titles that are similar to the titles of established journals
  • Imitating the look of well-known publishers' websites
  • Linking to logos of established scholarly organizations and publishers 
  • Claiming to have journal impact factors they don’t have or advertising fake journal impact factors
  • Falsely claiming inclusion in the Directory of Open Access Journals  (DOAJ)
  • Making false claims about being indexed in prestigious databases such as Scopus and Web of Science
  • Not disclosing their article processing fees
  • Refusing to retract an article without payment
  • Using fake names or using real names without permission to populate the editorial board
  • Giving false information about their headquarters locations

Top red flags of publishing fraud

  • Unsolicited and poorly written email invitations to publish or edit, often using boastful language or being filled with flattery
  • Promise of expedited peer review and/or rapid publication (e.g., within a week)
  • Extremely broad scope of a journal (e.g., British Journal of Science) or the scope that does not match the journal’s content
  • Fake or missing credentials
  • High acceptance rates as evidenced by an unusually  high quantity of articles per issue  
  • Lack of transparency about article processing fees
  • Low article processing fees (e.g., less than $150)
  • No retraction policy
  • Fake impact factor and indexing claims
  • Manuscripts are requested to be submitted via email
  • Suspicious journal website (e.g., no “About Us” page; questionable quality of the published content; insufficient contact information; missing or fake ISSN; spelling and grammar errors)
  • Inappropriate or missing copyright information
  • The lack of credible location (e.g., a PO Box)

A real-life example of a predatory publisher's email

Dear Researcher,

Call for paper 

Fast Review Process 

Indexed in Reputed Databases 

Low Article Processing Charges (30 US $ only)

Indexed in Reputed Database ( Open J Gate, Worldcat, , ZB Med,, SCIENTFIC JOURNALS, EZB etc.


With this regard we request you to send original research papers relevant to your work for publication in the journal. The manuscript may be submitted along with filled scanned copy right by e-mail at or through our SUBMIT MANUSCRIPT link at our website.

Please refer:

Author’s guidelines:



Journal of Scientific and Engineering Research 

A word of caution

Do not respond to predatory publishers’ emails. Your response, even to decline their offer, could be construed as permission for them to use your name in association with their journal.