Published March 20, 2024 | Version v1
Other Open

Predatory and Questionable Publishing Practices: How to Recognise and Avoid Them

  • 1. ROR icon University of Amsterdam
  • 2. Bibliotheek UvA/HvA
  • 3. Radboud University
  • 4. ROR icon Wageningen University & Research
  • 5. ROR icon Leiden University


Publishers play an important role in the production and dissemination of scholarly research. They facilitate peer review, provide editorial support, handle production and distribution, and ensure availability of scientific publications.

Publishing with a reputable publisher increases the visibility of researchers and their work and can help boost the impact of research results. There are thousands of trustworthy (open access) publishers worldwide and in every academic discipline that provide high-quality publishing services guided by best practices and international standards.
It is beneficial for scholars to publish in an authoritative, good-quality journal, book, or
conference series produced by a reputable publisher in their research field. Yet there is growing concern about the increasing number of publishers and journals that conduct allegedly questionable publishing practices – e.g. low-quality peer review and/or aggressive acquisition – and the more fraudulent predatory publishers.

Predatory publishers can harm scholars and their institutions financially and reputationally by charging a fee for no peer review or publishing service at all. Predatory publishers and questionable publishing practices have a negative effect on the credibility of the published scholarly record and the scholarly community as a whole.

How can you recognise and avoid these practices and publishers? What if you have submitted an article to, or are in a publishing process with, a publisher and something goes wrong or seems inaccurate?

This guide, written by open access specialists at universities across the Netherlands, provides insight and practical advice for authors on how to avoid questionable and predatory journals.



(The illustrations on page 3, 6, 7, 18 and 19 in the guide were made by drawup/danibal, during a meeting of WUR Library and Wageningen Young Academy about questionable publishing practices.)



Files (893.3 kB)

Additional details

Related works