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Research Support

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

Predatory publishers

Predatory publishers take advantage of the open access publishing model, and the current pressure on academics to publish. Predatory publishers usually target submissions of articles to journals, often known as 'fake journals', but can also work as book publishers. Disguised as credible Open Access publishers, they send emails to academics asking for submissions and promise a rapid peer review process. The peer review process is only rapid because it usually 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 very helpful 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 do get in touch.