Predatory Publishing


Wikipedia defines Predatory publishing (or deceptive publishing) as an exploitative academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without checking articles for quality and legitimacy, and without providing editorial and publishing services that legitimate academic journals provide, whether open access or not. A predatory publisher is a journal that would publish anything — usually in return for money [1].


It can be very difficult to identify these publishers, but the risks you face by publishing in such a journal or presenting at a predatory conference can be far reaching [2]. The risks include:

  • Damage to your reputation as a researcher
  • Damage to your institution
  • Compromising the quality of research output through lack of a genuine peer review process
  • You will most likely be unable to publish your article in other journals
  • Loss of copyright to your articles as this is retained by the "publisher" 
  • A loss of research or loss of trust in research 

Red Flags

Unsolicited contact following recent publication/presentation

Does not match your field of research

Acknowledges you as a busy and important researcher (doing you a favour)

Gives you a short deadline to decide

Offers you a discount on publishing costs if you submit by the deadline

Charges excessive fees for publication

Publishes your work immediately

Accepts just about anything content-wise [3]

Spam emails 

Common sentences in spam emails from predatory journals

  • Dear Prof. Greetings from Journal of…..!!
  • Based on your research area and previous publications in the relative field, we cordially welcomes you for the Upcoming Issue of...
  • We understand your busy schedule and request you to submit a case report, a short communication or a mini-review with 500 to 900 words…
  • We would like to appreciate your contribution towards the scientific community by publishing your precious work. We have gone through your article and found it very knowledgeable.
  • We’d be truly gratified if you could share your exploration as a Research article, Review article, Case report, Short communication, Conference proceeding or a Thesis with the Journal.
  • Taking your academic background and rich experience in this field into consideration, the Editorial Board believe that you may be the most suitable candidate for this position
  • As we feel that the scope of your research falls under our Journal. With good minds, I am cordially inviting eminent authors like you for article submission [4].

Identifying a predatory publisher

Additional resources

Some indicators of legitimate publishers

Use the site  THINK, CHECK, SUBMIT for guidance

Think Check Submit

View the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)'s guide: Predatory Publishing: A-Z elements


[1] Predatory Publishing, Wikipedia

[2] Grudniewicz, A., Moher, D., Cobey, K. D., Bryson, G. L., Cukier, S., Allen, K., … Lalu, M. M. (2019). Predatory journals: No definition, no defence. Nature (London)576(7786), 210–212.

[3] Mercier, E., Tardif, P.-A., Moore, L., Le Sage, N., & Cameron, P. A. (2018). Invitations received from potential predatory publishers and fraudulent conferences: a 12-month early-career researcher experience. Postgraduate Medical Journal94(1108), 104–108.

[4] Cortegiani, A., Shafer, S.L. “Think. Check. Submit.” to avoid predatory publishing. Critical Care 22, 300 (2018).

[5]  Byard, R.W. The forensic implications of predatory publishing. Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology 12, 391–393 (2016).

[6] Prater, C. 8 Ways to Identify a Questionable Open Access Journal, AJE Scholar (2022)

Last modified: Tuesday, 23 May 2023, 9:12 AM