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Predatory Publishing : Home

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

This Library Guide is based on the “Guidelines on Avoiding Predatory Journals and Publishers”  prepared by Research and Development Office (RDO) and Library, and endorsed by the Committee on Research and Development (CRD).

What are Predatory Journals?

Predatory journals, also known as fraudulent, deceptive, or pseudo-journals, are not legitimate academic journals. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado in Denver who first raised researchers’ attention to predatory journals by developing the Beall’s List, suggested that predatory publishers “publish counterfeit journals to exploit the open-access model in which the author pays. These predatory publishers are dishonest and lack transparency. They aim to dupe researchers, especially those inexperienced in scholarly communication.” (Elmore & Weston, 2020).


How Predatory Publishing Works

Predatory publishers deceive authors by pretending to be legitimate open access journals. Some predatory publishers may charge for publication fees at the time of manuscript submission before the manuscript is accepted; and some may mislead the authors that there is no “submission fees” but only to charge the authors with various kinds of mandatory fees afterwards. They may also deceive academics into serving as editorial board members or peer reviewers to enhance their credibility and reputation, but they do not provide the usual features of editorial oversight, transparent policies and other quality assurance measures (Committee on Publication Ethics, 2019).

The Growth and Prevalence of Predatory Journals

Although the actual number of predatory journals is unknown, studies have indicated that their growth was very fast during the last decade:

  • The Economist estimated that there were at least 13,000 predatory journals published worldwide in 2020 (The Economist, 2020). Considering that there were only around 42,000 journals in 2018 according to a STM Report (Johnson et al., 2018), the proportion of predatory journals is alarming.


  • The number of journal titles included in the Cabells Predatory Reports grew from 10,000 in September 2018 to 15,059 in September 2021 – an average growth rate of around 150 journals per month during the three-year period (Linacre, 2021b). 


  • A 2021 Cabells-Inera study found that over 4% of a sample of 7,100 journal article submissions included citations to predatory journals, and 22% of these items in question had multiple predatory references (Linacre, 2021a).

As An Author, What Should I Do?

Webinar: How to Spot a Predatory Publisher (Cambridge University)

Publishing in predatory journals can damage a researcher’s academic reputation and CV. If you receive a submission invitation from an unknown publisher or journal, you should check the journal’s peer-review policy, look at the quality of the articles published in the journal – look for warning signs of the predatory journals or simply use the checklist provided by Think.Check.Submit to evaluate the journal or publisher.

Until you are sure that the journal is trustworthy, do not submit, sign, or pay anything. If you need help, talk to experts and colleagues in your field, contact the Library or Research Development Office.

University Journal Ranking List

EdUHK’s MS-Based Journal Ranking Lists - Managed by Research and Development Office and developed as a tool to identify some influential journal titles in different disciplines. 

Common Journal Evaluation Tools

InCites - Journal Citation Reports - JCR is an authoritative resource for journal impact data. It enables the evaluation and comparison of journals to identify the top-ranked and highest-impact journals in a particular field.

Scimago Journal & Country Rank -  It is a public site to identify scientific rankings of the journals and country.  The ranking system is powered by Scopus.

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