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Scholarly Communication: How can I make sure this is not a predatory journal or conference?

The Scholarly Communications committee provides Bucknell’s faculty scholars with customized information, education, and guidance as well as the technical resources and support services needed throughout all steps of the scholarly communications process.


Sometimes it is challenging to tell when a journal is predatory or legitimate, especially if we want to use our influence and research to help support up-and-coming or newly established journals. At the same time, we don’t want to delegitimize our own work or empower publication outlets that engage in predatory publishing. Here are some tips to help you avoid accidentally supporting outlets that engage in potentially illegitimate practices: 


Check third parties 

Cabell’s Directory of Publishing Opportunities includes a section called “Predatory Reports” - searching the title of a publication here is a good place to start. It is not comprehensive, so a journal not being found in predatory reports doesn’t mean that it is NOT a predatory journal. 

Similarly, searching Cabell’s Journalytics and the Directory of Open Access Journals can be helpful - any journal included in either of these lists is unlikely to be predatory.

Still not sure?  Googling “[journal name] predatory” can tap into other public conversations about the journal, if they exist. While we wouldn’t recommend basing your decision on a single reddit thread, seeking out conversations about the title online can support your thinking or be a helpful piece of the evaluation puzzle. 


Review the journal’s website

First, consider what you’re unsure about or the yellow flags being raised. The website should have consistent information about the peer review process, the editorial board and process, and clear instructions for authors. If fees are charged, they should be in line with what other journals charge, and they should be clearly mentioned but not the focus of the process. Cabell’s Predatory Criteria can support your own analysis. 



Still not sure? That’s okay- predatory publishers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in tapping into trends and legitimate critiques of the publishing status quo. If information is missing from the journal’s webpage you can ask them a question like “Where can I find information about your editorial board and their affiliations?” directly. 

And of course, we encourage you to reach out to your friends in L&IT for an external review or second opinion. We look at a lot of journals.

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