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Predatory Publishing : Open Access Journals ≠ Predatory Journals

This guide is intended to raise the awareness of EdUHK authors on predatory journals and how to avoid falling into their traps.

Legitimate vs. OA vs. Predatory

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