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Predatory Journals

PDF from Loyola Marymount University

This journal evaluation tool was created under a Creative Commons license by Marie Kennedy, Shipla Rele, and Nataly Blas- "mix it up, improve it, and share what you learn as you go so that we may all benefit".

Rele, S., Kennedy, M.. & Blas, N. (2017). Journal evaluation tool. LMU Librarian Publications & Presentations. 40.

Shamseer 2017

Adapted from Shamseer et al. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine. 15:28. DOI:

  1. The journal's scope of interest includes unrelated subjects alongside legitimate topics.
  2. Website contains spelling and grammar errors
  3. Images or logos are distorted/fuzzy or misrepresented/unauthorized.
  4. Website targets authors, not readers (i.e. publisher prioritizes making money over product).
  5. The Index Copernicus Value (a bogus impact metric) is promoted.
  6. There is no clear description of how the manuscript is handled. 
  7. Manuscripts are submitted by email.
  8. Rapid publication is promoted, and promised.
  9. There is no article retraction policy.
  10. There is no digital preservation plan for content.
  11. The APC (article processing charge) is very low (e.g., <$150)
  12. A journal that claims to be open access either retains copyright of published research or fails to mention copyright.
  13. Contact email address is non-professional and non-journal/publisher affiliated (e.g.,, or

Grand Valley State University Libraries

Positive Indicators

  • Scope of the journal is well-defined and clearly stated
  • Journal’s primary audience is researchers/practitioners
  • Editor, editorial board are recognized experts in the field
  • Journal is affiliated with or sponsored by an established scholarly society or academic institution
  • Articles are within the scope of the journal and meet the standards of the discipline
  • Any fees or charges for publishing in the journal are easily found on the journal web site and clearly explained
  • Articles have DOIs (Digital Object Identifier, e.g., doi:10.1111/j.1742-9544.2011.00054.x)
  • Journal clearly indicates rights for use and re-use of content at article level (e.g., Creative Commons CC BY license)
  • Journal has an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number, e.g., 1234-5678)
  • Publisher is a member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association
  • Journal is registered in UlrichsWeb, Global Serials Directory
  • Journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Journal is included in subject databases and/or indexes

Negative Indicators

  • Journal web site is difficult to locate or identify
  • Publisher “About” information is absent on the journal’s web site
  • Publisher direct marketing (i.e., spamming) or other advertising is obtrusive
  • Instructions to authors information is not available
  • Information on peer review and copyright is absent or unclear on the journal web site
  • Journal scope statement is absent or extremely vague
  • No information is provided about the publisher, or the information provided does not clearly indicate a relationship to a mission to disseminate research content
  • Repeat lead authors in same issue
  • Publisher has a negative reputation (e.g., documented examples in Chronicle of Higher Education, list-servs, etc.)