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Scholarly Publishing Guide

This guide will help you evaluate and select journals, avoid predatory publishers, negotiate publishing contracts, understand mandates for sharing your publication, and reuse your own work appropriately.


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Erin Owens
NGL 223D
ORCID: 0000-0001-9520-9314

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What are Predatory Publishers & Highjacked Journals?

Predatory publishers as those "who clearly and deliberately trick researchers – essentially, by failing to provide the promised (or even a meaningful) service and/or deceiving them about the nature of that service, simply in order to extract money from them" (20 July 2018 blog post on Open and Shut).

The sole aim of a predatory journal is to make money, not to evaluate and disseminate high-quality research which advances scholarship in a discipline.

Charging an open-access author fee does NOT always make a journal predatory. Many journals may charge an author fee for open-access publication, and this practice is not automatically predatory as long as rigorous review, editing, and other related services are provided.

Hijacked journals are fake websites of authentic ones, utilizing the title and ISSNs of reputable journals (Jalalian & Mahboobi).

Authors may fall prey to a hijacked journal more easily than other simple predatory journals because of the appearance of legitimacy and credentials. By falsely assuming the reputable journal's identity, the fake website is able to solicit manuscripts and pocket the money from article processing charges (APCs). 

Tips to Avoid The Traps

  • Ignore most personally addressed unsolicited invitations to submit or publish.
  • Be wary of promises for very fast publishing. 
  • Rather than following links in an email, check relevant databases for journal's website address.
  • Check the “Whois” profile of a website:
    • InterNIC (
    • Domain Tools (
    • GoDaddy (
    • OnlineNIC (
  • Verify website content beyond just the homepage, such as past issues, author instructions, etc.
  • Evaluate the website's design for questionable characteristics. 
  • Consult an expert--senior colleague in your department, mentor in your field, or the SHSU Scholarly Communications Librarian
  • While being attentive and cautious, do not automatically avoid all journals that may be smaller, niche, or new. Some can be excellent. Be open to new venues, and seek guidance in uncertainty. 

Adapted from: Jalalian M, Mahboobi H. (2014). Hijacked journals and predatory publishers: is there a need to re-think how to assess the quality of academic research? Walailak Journal of Science & Technology 11(5): 389-394.

Tools for Identifying Predatory Venues

Lists of Reputable Journals

If a site is not listed, it still might be legitimate; it may simply not have been evaluated. Remember that mistakes can be made, and a journal's quality may change over time. It is always best to assess a publication yourself.

How to Assess a Journal


Click on infographic to enlarge or download.

This infographic was originally created by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries. You can also download it as a PDF.


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