Characteristics of dodgy journals: what to look out for?

How to avoid the risk of submitting your research article to a journal of questionable repute? How to differentiate predatory journals from bona fide ones?

Shamseer et al. (2017) analysed numerous predatory journals, open access journals and subscription-based journals and have identified 13 evidence-based characteristics of questionable journals. Some of them include spelling and grammatical errors on journal websites, promises of rapid publication, manuscripts are submitted via email, boast of a bogus impact factor, contact email address is non-professional, etc.

In addition, we recommend that researchers use the “think, check, submit” checklist to help them select where to publish their works. It is a straightforward three-step process which is supported by organisations such as INASP, STM, OASPA and publishers such as Springer Nature and BioMed Central.

If you have questions regarding the legitimacy or reputation of a journal or publisher, please contact

Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Maduekwe, O., Turner, L., Barbour, V., Burch, R., Clark, J., Galipeau, J., Roberts, J., Shea, B. J. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine. DOI 10.1186/s12916-017-0785-9