Predatory journals and conferences

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What are predatory/pseudo-journals and conferences?

Although there is no universally accepted definition of a predatory journal, a recent article published the results of a Delphi consensus process which identified three key markers of a predatory journal: 

(1) the journal solicits manuscripts through aggressive or persuasive emails;

(2) contact details of the publisher are not easily verifiable; and

(3) not having a retraction policy.

Similarly, there is no agreed-upon definition of a predatory conference, but a recent scoping review described that predatory conferences often:

(1) spam researchers with unsolicited email invitations excessively praising the researcher's latest published paper; and
(2) disregard proper peer review.

The invitation may also invite an academic to present if they pay a fee, without proper peer review.

How prevalent are predatory/pseudo-journals?

There are approximately 15,000 predatory journals, according to Predatory

What might be the consequences of submitting to a predatory or pseudo-journal?

Wilfully submitting to and publishing in predatory journals - a covert form of research misconduct? 

How can you detect probable predatory/pseudo-journals and conferences?

Think. Check. Submit. is an international cross-industry initiative to help researchers identify trusted journals and publishers. Go to their website for more resources and a step-by-step checklist.

Think. Check. Attend. is a sister initiative to Think. Check. Submit. The website has resources on and a checklist to help researchers identify whether conferences are legitimate venues to attend or present research. 

Additional tools for checking journals:

DOAJ. (2019). Directory of Open Access Journals.

Ulrichsweb. (n.d.).

‌The Retraction Watch Hijacked Journal Checker. (2022, May 30). Retraction Watch.

List of preprint servers: policies and practices across platforms. (n.d.). ASAPbio.

References relating to predatory journals 

Abalkina, A. (2021). Detecting a network of hijacked journals by its archive. Scientometrics126(8), 7123–7148. (preprint at

Barker TH, Pollock D, Stone JC, Klugar M, Scott AM, Stern C, Wiechula R, Shamseer L, Aromataris E, Ross-White A, Munn Z. How should we handle predatory journals in evidence synthesis? A descriptive survey-based cross-sectional study of evidence synthesis experts. Res Synth Methods. 2023 May;14(3):370-381. doi: 10.1002/jrsm.1613. Epub 2023 Jan 5. PMID: 36605026.

Björk, B.-C., Kanto-Karvonen, S., & Harviainen, J. T. (2020). How Frequently Are Articles in Predatory Open Access Journals Cited. Publications8(2), 17.

Bohannon J. Who's afraid of peer review? Science. 2013 Oct 4;342(6154):60-5. doi: 10.1126/science.2013.342.6154.342_60. PMID: 24092725. 

Centre for Journalology. (n.d.). Centre for Journalology.

Clark AM, Thompson DR. Five (bad) reasons to publish your research in predatory journals. J Adv Nurs. 2017 Nov;73(11):2499-2501. doi: 10.1111/jan.13090. Epub 2016 Aug 19. PMID: 27486055.

Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences Learn more about IAP Combatting Predatory Academic Journals and Conferences. (n.d.).

Demonstrating the Advantage of Publishing Open Access with Wiley. (n.d.). Retrieved January 18, 2023, from

Elmore SA, Weston EH. Predatory Journals: What They Are and How to Avoid Them. Toxicol Pathol. 2020 Jun;48(4):607-610. doi: 10.1177/0192623320920209. Epub 2020 Apr 22. PMID: 32319351; PMCID: PMC7237319.

‌Else, H. (2022). Hijacked-journal tracker helps researchers to spot scam websites. Nature.

‌Gallent Torres C. Editorial misconduct: the case of online predatory journals. Heliyon. 2022 Feb 24;8(3):e08999. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e08999. PMID: 35284674; PMCID: PMC8904217.

Grudniewicz A, Moher D, Cobey KD, Bryson GL, Cukier S, Allen K, Ardern C, Balcom L, Barros T, Berger M, Ciro JB, Cugusi L, Donaldson MR, Egger M, Graham ID, Hodgkinson M, Khan KM, Mabizela M, Manca A, Milzow K, Mouton J, Muchenje M, Olijhoek T, Ommaya A, Patwardhan B, Poff D, Proulx L, Rodger M, Severin A, Strinzel M, Sylos-Labini M, Tamblyn R, van Niekerk M, Wicherts JM, Lalu MM. Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature. 2019 Dec;576(7786):210-212. doi: 10.1038/d41586-019-03759-y. PMID: 31827288.

Megwalu, A. (n.d.). SJSU Research Guides: Predatory Journals & Questionable Conferences: Withdrawing from Predatory Journals. Retrieved January 18, 2023, from

Memon, A. R. (2018). How to respond to and what to do for papers published in predatory journals? Science Editing5(2), 146–149.

Oreskes, N. (2022). Predatory Journals That Publish Shoddy Research Put People’s Lives at Risk. Scientific American.

Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Maduekwe, O., Turner, L., Barbour, V., Burch, R., Clark, J., Galipeau, J., Roberts, J., & Shea, B. J. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine15(1).

Singh Chawla, D. (2020). Predatory-journal papers have little scientific impact. Nature.

Stieglitz, L. (n.d.) Advanced Library Skills for Physics Research. Published by University of Alberta Library. Retrieved May 11, 2023, from Has chapters on predatory publishing, open access, identifying predatory publishers, and hijacked journals.

Systematic reviews in Trip and some unintended consequences. (2022, December 15). Trip Database Blog.

There is no black and white definition of predatory publishing. (2020, May 13). Impact of Social Sciences.

References on prevalence and characteristics of predatory conferences

Ali MJ. Predatory journals and conferences: Analysis of invitation emails from a single clinician-scientist's inbox. Indian J Ophthalmol. 2021 Dec;69(12):3389-3390. doi: 10.4103/ijo.IJO_2277_21. PMID: 34826964; PMCID: PMC8837327.

Asadi A. Invitation to Speak at a Conference: The Tempting Technique Adopted by Predatory Conferences' Organizers. Sci Eng Ethics. 2019 Jun;25(3):975-979. doi: 10.1007/s11948-018-0038-0. Epub 2018 Mar 8. PMID: 29520691.

Asadi A, Rahbar N, Rezvani MJ, Asadi F. Fake/Bogus Conferences: Their Features and Some Subtle Ways to Differentiate Them from Real Ones. Sci Eng Ethics. 2018 Apr;24(2):779-784. doi: 10.1007/s11948-017-9906-2. Epub 2017 Apr 10. PMID: 28397173.Bourgault AM. Predatory Conferences: Not the Meeting You Expected. Crit Care Nurse. 2019 Oct;39(5):10-12. doi: 10.4037/ccn2019805. PMID: 31575588.

Asadi A. Invitation to Speak at a Conference: The Tempting Technique Adopted by Predatory Conferences' Organizers. Sci Eng Ethics. 2019 Jun;25(3):975-979. doi: 10.1007/s11948-018-0038-0. Epub 2018 Mar 8. PMID: 29520691.

Bourgault AM. Predatory Conferences: Not the Meeting You Expected. Crit Care Nurse. 2019 Oct;39(5):10-12. doi: 10.4037/ccn2019805. PMID: 31575588.

Brezgov, S. (2019, June 7). Proposed Criteria for Identifying Predatory Conferences. Scholarly Open Access 2022.

Mackenzie,  R. (2019, July 11). Inside a “Fake” Conference: A Journey Into Predatory Science. Technology Networks.

Stoye E. (2018 August 6). Predatory conference scammers are getting smarter. Chemistry World.

Warden AM, Soteropulos CE, Eftekari SC, Nicksic PJ, Dingle AM, Poore SO. To Decline or Accept: A Guide for Determining the Legitimacy of Academic Conference Invitations. Ann Plast Surg. 2022 Jul 1;89(1):8-16. doi: 10.1097/SAP.0000000000003180. Epub 2022 Apr 20. PMID: 35502938.

McMillin, D. (2019, October 1). What to Do About Fake and Predatory Conferences. PCMA.‌