Numerous studies have indicated that publishing with open-access journals will increase the visibility and impact of a research work. It can lead to increased citations and collaboration, as well as faster dissemination of research findings. However, some researchers may confuse open-access journals with predatory journals because predatory journals generally publish in open-access format.
To help researchers better understand their difference, below please find a table summarizing the key differences between legitimate journals, open-access journals and predatory journals in terms of their reputation, fees, indexing and impact factors, peer review processes, etc. based on various studies (Masten & Ashcraft, 2016; Committee on Publication Ethics, 2019; Grand Valley State University, 2020).
|Legitimate Journals||Open-Access Journals||Predatory Journals|
|Reputation||Often associated with reputable publishers or academic institutions||Often associated with reputable publishers or academic institutions||Often not associated with reputable publishers or academic institutions|
|Peer Review||Rigorous peer review process||Process varies but generally involves rigorous peer-review process||Low standards for quality of the article; sometimes may not provide proper peer review process at all|
|Journal Scope||Clear and well-defined scope||Clear and well-defined scope||Vague, broad, or poorly defined scope|
|Editorial Board||High quality editorial board with expertise in the field||Varies, some have renowned experts||Often unknown or fake names|
|Publication Fees||Often charged||Most will charge authors for Article Processing Charges(APC) but the fee is transparent and reasonable||High and unjustified without providing transparent information|
|Indexing and Impact Factor||Indexed in recognized databases; may have impact factor||Varies, some indexed in reputable databases and directories, may have impact factor||Falsely claim to be indexed or included in reputable databases, or may falsely claim to have impact factor|
|Acceptance to Publication||Peer review usually takes from a few weeks to a few months; once accepted, publication time often takes months to years||Peer review usually takes weeks; once accepted, takes a few weeks for publication||Once accepted, immediate publication|
|Access to Articles||Subscription based, limited access||Free, unrestricted access||Free, unrestricted access|
|Copyright||Author may retain or assign to publisher||Author may retain or assign to publisher||Publisher bypasses process|