Predatory Journals

young female wearing headphones reading a book and studying on a laptop

At least weekly, I receive an e-mail from a journal that starts out with “Esteemed Professor” or some such appellation that makes one feel important. The journal is inviting me to submit an article or to update a previous publication in what appears to be a legitimate journal. One journal, the International Journal of Oncology Science seemed familiar and promised to publish my paper within a month.  The journal claimed to be an official journal of International Association Trust with a prime focus of publishing articles related to the current trends of oncology research (International Journal of Oncology Science, n.d.) If I were a new author eager to publish in the environment of “publish or perish in research intensive universities” and unfamiliar with standard publishing industry practices, I would most likely have submitted an article. Moreover, this journal is only one of over 10,000 predatory journals that have started in operation since 2010.

What is a Predatory Journal?

Students are expected to access only scholarly articles when writing formal papers. The following information will help ensure that you use information from respected academic publications. Predatory open access publishing is an exploitative form of academic publishing, in which publication fees are charged to the authors. Predatory publishers do a token peer review or none at all; the primary aim is profit. The article processing fees typically are not disclosed until after an article has been accepted and the author has signed a copyright agreement granting the publisher all rights. The article is published only upon payment of the processing fee: frequently $1,000 but can be as high as $3,000.

 How to Recognize Predatory Journals

No one sure way exists that a student can know how to recognize a predatory journal. However, some red flags exist. A journal you have never heard of with a generic name soliciting papers is a dead giveaway. Broken or poor English is also a red flag. Peer reviewed journals undergo a strict editing process before an article is published. To assure that you are not referencing articles from predatory journals, go to Stop Predatory Journals: List of Predatory Journals (n.d.). This site is regularly undated. When in doubt, check with the excellent librarians at Excelsior College.


Stop Predatory Journals. List of Predatory Journals.  (n.d.) Retrieved from

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