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Open Access

Provides guidance regarding open access scholarly publishing and information about avoiding predatory publishing

Identifying Predatory Publishers

Identifying predatory journals can be challenging and there's no one indicator that you can rely upon to identify them.  Ultimately, you must make a decision about whether the journal seems legitimate. An MCW Librarian can help give you an additional perspective if you have difficulty deciding.

Warning Signs

Look for these signs when you are assessing whether a journal is suspicious

Journal Title

  • Sounds very similar to a reputable publication
  • Content of the articles in the journal doesn't seem to match the title of the journal or its stated scope
  • Contains words that make the publication seem prestigious (global, international, universal), but don't seem to match with their editorial board members' locations



  • Exact fees are not openly disclosed or easy to locate
  • Journal may require a submission fee, payable whether the article is accepted or not
  • The article processing fees are low; many legitimate open access publishers charge fees, but very low fees are a warning sign

Editorial Board

  • Editors are not familiar to you or do not appear to be people who actually work in that field
  • Contact information for editorial board is not easy to find
  • The editorial board is too small or is not yet established

Web Site

  • Contains a lot of misspellings and errors
  • Looks unprofessional
  • Contains a lot of flashy ads and loud colors

Peer Review

  • Rapid peer review and publication is promised.  It seems too good to be true.
  • No clear peer review policies are stated
  • Journal has no retraction policy


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