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International Oncology Subject Guide: Predatory Publishers

Predatory Publishers

What are predatory publishers ?
Predatory publishers are exploitative open-access publishing business model that involve charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not).
What are hijacked journals?

Hijacked journals are websites that mimic the names and International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSNs) of reputable journals (mostly in print, or the one has been merged with other journals), and publish papers without peer-review or questionable peer-review and by receiving charges.

Impact of predatory and hijacked journals:

  • Global impact of these journals is that they are the repositories for unevaluated research, which can be cited and used by other authors. This can falsify the real picture of scientific research and hinder creditable research development. They are impacting the reliability and validity of research. 
  • A study published by Moher et al. examined a sample of 1907 papers in more than 200 supposed predatory journals and reported the followings:
    • Only 40% of studies reported ethics approval
    • Of the 17% of articles reporting funding source, US NIH most frequently named
    • India (27% ) and USA (15% ) produced most articles
    • Low quality methodologies used
  • In another study published in Neuroscience, the authors analyzing the neurology and neuroscience journals included in PubMed found that:
    • 25 predatory neurology journals were indexed in PubMed, accounting for 24.7% of all predatory neurology journals.
    • 14 predatory neuroscience journals were indexed in PubMed, accounting for 16.1% of all predatory neuroscience journals.
    • Only one of the 188 predatory neuroscience or neurology journals appeared in the DOAJ index.
    • Only 54.6% of the journals deemed predatory in neuroscience actually contained articles.
Comparing Potential Predatory and Legitimate Journals
Shamseer et al. (2017) identified following 13 evidence-based characteristics by which predatory journals may potentially be distinguished from presumed legitimate journals:
  • Silent characteristics of potential predatory publisher/journal websites
  • ​The scope of interest includes non-biomedical subjects alongside biomedical topics
  • The website contains spelling and grammar errors
  • Images are distorted/fuzzy, intended to look like something they are not, or which are unauthorized
  • The homepage language targets authors
  • The Index Copernicus is promoted on the website
  • Description of the manuscript handling process is lacking
  • Manuscripts are requested to be submitted via email
  • Rapid publication is promised and there is no retraction policy
  • Information on whether and how journal content will be digitally preserved is absent
  • The Article processing/publication charge is very low (e.g., < $150 USD)
  • Journals claiming to be open access either retain copyright of published research or fail to mention copyright
  • The contact email address is non-professional (e.g., or
How to avoid predatory journals?
Recommended Scholarly OA Communication Tools: