Skip to Main Content

Research Support

An overview of the support that is offered for researchers by the University of Essex Library.

Predatory publishers

Predatory publishers take advantage of the open access publishing model and the current pressure on academics to publish. Predatory publishers pretend to be credible Open Access publishers (either imitating well-known publishers or creating their own publishing platform).

They usually target academics looking to submit articles to journals by imitating journal publishers (often known as 'fake journals'), but they can also pretend to be book publishers.

They send emails to academics asking for submissions and promise a rapid peer review process. The peer review process is rapid because it typically does not happen at all. Predatory publishers usually publish everything they receive, which some academics have taken advantage of to expose them, e.g. the famous star wars paper

If you receive an email from a publisher that seems suspicious, there are a few warning signs you can look for:​

  • Poor grammar and incorrect spelling (both on the website and in the email)
  • The speed of peer review is too quick to be true 
  • Editorial board contains fake members, or members who don't know they are on the board
  • Scope of journal/publisher is too broad
  • Journal boasts about being on Google Scholar
  • Journal boasts about its impact factor from IndexCopernicus or other fake metrics 
  • No one in your field has ever heard about the publisher or journal before

How to avoid predatory publishers

If you are contacted by a journal you aren't sure of, you can use the following tools to check the credibility of the journal:

Think. Check. Submit. is another useful resource. This site provides checklists, tools, and practical resources to help researchers identify trusted journals.

If you are ever in doubt about the credibility of a journal, please get in touch.

Creative Commons Licence
Except where otherwise noted, this work by University of Essex Library and Cultural Services is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence.