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:
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.