What is predatory publishing?
So-called predatory publishers exploit the financing model of open access publishers and work in a profit-oriented, unethical and dubious manner. This is sometimes referred to as “fake science” in the media.

What happens in Predatory Publishing?
Predatory publishers act as open access publishers and charge publication fees without providing adequate service in the form of peer review, marketing, and quality control in return. They often make false claims about the quality of the journal, for example, by promising a peer review process but not actually doing it, or by inventing impact factors.
These predatory publishers often advertise aggressively, promising quick and easy publication.

Why is predatory publishing problematic?
Predatory publishing not only harms the reputation of open access, but also science in general: uncontrolled dissemination of false statements under the guise of a scientific journal can be dangerous.

How can you recognize Predatory Publishers?

  • impersonal cover letter full of empty phrases
  • Invitation to publish in journals that do not match the field of expertise
    conspicuous or untraceable contact details (postal address, mail address of free provider)
  • Journal title that is very general or strongly resembles that of a renowned journal
  • no ISSN
  • fake impact factor
  • poor layout and surprisingly poor English in cover letter, website and articles
  • promise of a fast publication
  • intransparency: information on peer review and publication fees is missing

Basically, the overall picture is decisive. Even reputable journals can have outdated and incomplete websites if they are published by small publishers, for example.

Checklists for verification
The following checklists can help identify dubious journals: