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Scholarly Publishing vs. Predatory Publishing: Home

This guide is to help authors determine if a journal is scholarly or predatory, an important distinction for rank and tenure applications.

Factors determining inclusion to the Scholarly Publishing Guide

Predatory Publishing

Cabells Publishing Directory Blacklist

Cabell's Blacklist Violations


This policy establishes the criteria for identifying deceptive, fraudulent, and/or predatory journals for inclusion in Cabell's Blacklist. Cabell's Blacklist Review Board uses the following criteria to evaluate all journals suspected of deceptive, fraudulent, and/or predatory practices.

The following criteria are considered when evaluating a suspected journal:


  • The same article appears in more than one journal.
  • Hijacked journal (defined as a fraudulent website created to look like a legitimate academic journal for the purpose of offering academics the opportunity to rapidly publish their research for a fee).
  • Information received from the journal does not match the journal's website.
  • The journal or publisher claims to be a non-profit when it is actually a for-profit company.
  • The publisher hides or obscures relationships with for-profit partner companies.
  • The owner/Editor of the journal or publisher falsely claims academic positions or qualifications.
  • The journal is associated with a conference that has been identified as predatory.
  • The journal gives a fake ISSN.
  • Insufficient resources are spent on preventing and eliminating author misconduct (that may result in repeated cases of plagiarism, self-plagiarism, image manipulation, etc.).
  • The name of the journal references a country or demographic that does not relate to the content or origin of the journal.
  • The journal uses language that suggests that it is industry leading, but is in fact a new journal.
  • The title of the journal is copied or so similar to that of a legitimate journal that it could cause confusion between the two.

Peer Review

  • No editor or editorial board listed on the journal's website at all.
  • Editors do not actually exist or are deceased.
  • The journal includes scholars on an editorial board without their knowledge or permission.
  • The founder of the publishing company is the editor of all of the journals published by said company.
  • Evident data showing that the editor/review board members do not possess academic expertise to reasonably qualify them to be publication gatekeepers in the journal's field.
  • Have board members who are prominent researchers but exempt them from any contribution to the journal except the use of their names and/or photographs.
  • Gender bias in the editorial board.
  • Little geographical diversity of board members and claim to be international.
  • Inadequate peer review (i.e., a single reader reviews submissions; peer reviewers read papers outside their field of study; etc.).
  • The journal's website does not have a clearly stated peer review policy.


  • The website does not identify a physical address for the publisher or gives a fake address.
  • The journal or publisher uses a virtual office or other proxy business as its physical address.
  • The website does not identify a physical editorial address for the journal.
  • Dead links.
  • Poor grammar and/or spelling.
  • No way to contact the journal/only has web-form.​

Publication Practices

  • The journal publishes papers that are not academic at all, e.g. essays by laypeople or obvious pseudo-science.
  • No articles are published or the archives are missing issues and/or articles.
  • Falsely claims indexing in well-known databases (especially SCOPUS, DOAJ, JCR, and Cabell's).
  • Falsely claims universities or other organizations as partners or sponsors.
  • Machine-generated or other "sting" abstracts or papers are accepted.
  • No copyediting.
  • The publisher displays prominent statements that promise rapid publication and/or unusually quick peer review (less than 4 weeks).
  • Little geographical diversity of authors and the journal claims to be International.
  • Similarly titled articles published by same author in more than one journal.
  • The Editor publishes research in his own journal.
  • Authors are published several times in the same journal and/or issue.
  • The journal purposefully publishes controversial articles in the interest of boosting citation count.
  • The journal publishes papers presented at conferences without additional peer review.
  • The name of the publisher suggests that it is a society, academy, etc. when it is only a publisher and offers no real benefits to members.
  • The name of the publisher suggests that it is a society, academy, etc. when it is only a solitary proprietary operation and does not meet the definition of the term used or implied non-profit mission.​

Indexing & Metrics

  • The journal uses misleading metrics (i.e., metrics with the words “impact factor” that are not the Thomson Reuters Impact Factor).
  • The publisher or its journals are not listed in standard periodical directories or are not widely catalogued in library databases.​


  • The publisher or journal's website seems too focused on the payment of fees.
  • The journal offers options for researchers to prepay APCs for future articles.
  • The journal states there is an APC or other fee but does not give information on the amount.
  • The journal or publisher offers membership to receive discounts on APCs but does not give information on how to become a member and/or on the membership fees.
  • The author must pay APC or publication fee before submitting the article (specifically calls the fee a publication fee, not a submission fee).
  • The journal does not indicate that there are any fees associated with publication, review, submission, etc. but the author is charged a fee after submitting a manuscript.​

Access & Copyright

  • States the journal is completely open access but not all articles are openly available.
  • No way to access articles (no information on open access or how to subscribe).
  • No policies for digital preservation.
  • The journal has a poorly written copyright policy and/or transfer form that does not actually transfer copyright.
  • The journal publishes not in accordance with their copyright or does not operate under a copyright license.​

Business Practices

  • Emails from journals received by researchers who are clearly not in the field the journal covers.
  • Multiple emails received from a journal in a short amount of time.
  • Emails received from a journal do not include the option to unsubscribe to future emails.
  • The journal has been asked to quit sending emails and has not stopped.
  • No subscribers / nobody uses the journal.
  • The journal or publisher operates in a Western country chiefly for the purpose of functioning as a vanity press for scholars in a developing country.
  • The journal's website does not allow web crawlers.
  • The journal copyproofs and locks PDFs.