Jamal El Ouahi

Helping researchers. Posts about scientific research & its process. Academia/Government Consulting.

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Jamal El Ouahi

Helping researchers. Posts about scientific research & its process. Academia/Government Consulting.

#14 How to avoid Predatory Journals

Read time: 4 min.

“How do you spot a predatory journal?”

That’s a question I often get when speaking with young Researchers.

Indeed, it can be quite tricky to identify a predatory journal.

Young (and even experienced) researchers may feel some pressure to publish quickly.
And predatory journals know that.

In this article, I list what could help you to identify predatory journals or what you could do to avoid them.

If any other aspect I may have missed, feel free to comment!

The first question a researcher should ask about a journal is:

What are the motivations of this journal?

If a publisher has a mission to diffuse scientific works with a rigorous and unbiased peer-review process, then this publisher might be credible enough.

But how do you check this?

I have seen multiple cases of predatory publishers spamming researchers with calls for papers. Those emails often look unprofessional.

They lack credibility, you cannot unsubscribe from the mailing lists, spelling/grammar is poor, credibility is absent… and no one cares about the quality of the papers.

The journal will lie about anything just to get some money from the author

The journal might :

  • Not have any relationship with any Scientific Society or Scientific Institution, although it might pretend to have.
  • Not have an ISSN
  • Pretend to be indexed in major scientific databases like the Web of Science.
  • Offer a quick publication of your manuscript.
  • Promise a fast evaluation by peers.
  • Pretend to be based in a big city.
  • Claim to have famous scientists working at its editorial board.

I often recommend to check first the publisher’s website, which might be an interesting source of information.

Next, you could do a quick check on major citation databases to see if this journal is indeed indexed in major databases as the journal claims (Those databases have a selection process in place to avoid such predatory journals).

And again, I recommend you ask yourself:
What are the motivations of this journal?

That’s it. This is my way to identify predatory journals/publishers.

If anything is unclear, please contact me and I will reply.

See you in the next newsletter!


Question of the Week

What else would you do to spot predatory journals?

Let us know in the comments if you have any other tip to share!

My favorite things recently

  1. I recently had interesting conversations with an Editor from Enago. More on this soon.
  2. The month of Ramadan comes to an end. Time flies. There is so much to say. I’m grateful for everything. Thoughts go to all people enduring difficult times.

Quote of the Week

“They muddy the water, to make it seem deep.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche. This quote can reflect the practices of predatory journals.

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