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Understanding Predatory Publishers

This guide introduces the concept of predatory publishing and provides advice on how to identify a potential predatory publisher.

Help! I'm a victim!decorative

General advice

  • Be cautious and don't sign anything or send payment if you are unsure.
  • Consider talking with a lawyer or University Legal Counsel.

If you are suddenly appointed an article to review without your consent¹

  • You are under no obligation to review something that you did not volunteer for.
  • You may want to contact the publisher and tell them that you did not agree to a review and/or to not contact you again. 
  • You can add the sender's email to your junk/spam list.

If your name or likeness are misappropriated²

  • Contact the journal/publisher immediately and ask that they take your name off of all of their materials.
  • Make it clear in other venues that you do not associate with the publication.
  • Consider talking with University Legal Counsel.

¹ Yes, this happens.
² Predatory publishers have been known to list peoples' names as editors, board members, or reviewers without their knowledge.

About this guide

This guide is just that, a guide. Ultimately it is up to each author to make the final decision on where to publish and to decide what they expect from their publisher.


Creative Commons LicenseMegan N. O'Donnell authored this guide. Last updated on 2023-01-04. First published in 2016, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The graphic icons from icons8 and can be reused as long as attribution is retained.

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Megan O'Donnell
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