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Article Publishing Charges

How Do You Identify Predatory or Vanity Journals?

When trying to identify a predatory journal, there are a number of questions that you can ask about the journal to help you determine its quality. 

Is the Journal listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)? 

Gold Open Access Journals should be listed in the DOAJ, a directory to help libraries identify quality Open Access content. The DOAJ is also provided robust criteria to determine quality that you can use when evaluating journals, including: 

The following information must be available online and easily accessible from the journal homepage:

  • Open access policy
  • Aims and scope
  • Editorial board (including institutional affiliations of all members)
  • Instructions for authors
  • Editorial process (peer review)
  • Licensing terms
  • Copyright terms
  • Author charges
    • If a journal doesn’t have any charges, then this must be stated
    • Must include all fees that may be charged to the author, from submission to publication, including:
      • submission fees
      • editorial processing charges
      • article processing charges (APCs)
      • page charges
      • colour charges
    • Any fee waiver must be clearly specified with the conditions of waiver, e.g. amount, time period.
    • If there are charges for withdrawing the article after submission, they cannot exceed the author charges.
  • Contact details
    • Include the name of a contact person and the journal's dedicated email address.
    • The country in the application and on the journal website must be where the publisher is registered and carries out its business activities.


Is the Journal in Web of Science?

Clarivate periodically removes impact factors from questionable journals in Web of Science, and has delist 50 journals in the last year. 

Less than 15% of journals meet Clarivate's Quality criteria. 

You can search in Web of Science's Journal Citation Reports to find the impact factor, as well as the Open Access status of all of the article that contribute to that journal's impact factor. 


When is the journal asking me to pay a fee? 

While there are questions as to the sustainability of APCs, there are almost no reputable journals that are asking for a fee to submit an article for consideration. APCs are fees only paid after an article has been selected for publication. If a journal asks you to pay a fee before your article is selected for publication, then you should be wary of the journal. 


How many articles are published by this journal? 

One of the Journals delisted from Web of Science last year was the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, which published about 17,000 articles in 2023. As there are roughly 2 million articles published each year, this single journal represented just under 1% of all journal articles. Another red flag is if a journal is almost exclusively special issues.


Do other countries recognize this journal? 

While the US does not have a national list of scientific publications, some other countries do, including this example : 

the Nordic List: 

Since 2015 the Nordic countries have been collaborating to develop a common registry of authorized research publication channels with bibliographic data on journals, series and publishers. Denmark, Finland and Norway have joined their national lists of authorized research publication channels, used for indicators in the national performance-based research funding systems.

Sweden, Iceland, Greenland and Faroe Islands do not have a similar funding system but are planning to use such lists as a tool for a national or Nordic overview of authorized research publication channels.