Vanity publishing usually involves:
These publishers often gather contacts from conferences and institutional websites. Their offers may appear tempting to early career researchers who are seeking publishing opportunities, but vanity publishing does not undergo the stringent processes of peer review and copy editing.
Unethical publishing usually involves:
If you publish an article or present at a conference, you may be directly contacted by an unethical publisher asking you to contribute articles to a journal they publish or to a conference they organise - remember to evaluate all organisations that approach you to determine the quality and integrity of their publications.
Unethical publishing may also be called questionable or predatory publishing, and should not be confused with Open Access publishing.
Hijacked publications and conferences usually involve:
In many cases, it takes time before the legitimate publisher or conference organiser becomes aware of this disreputable activity.
Stop Predatory Journals - provides lists of unethical publishers, unethical and hijacked journals, and fake and misleading metrics. The basis for these lists was extracted from the archive of Beall's List.
Beall’s List: Potential, Possible, or Probable Predatory Scholarly Open-access Publishers - Jeffrey Beall. This list ceased to be updated on 15th January 2017, but a cached copy is available.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - an independent online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.
Retraction Watch - tracking retractions as a signal of scientific integrity.
Writer Beware - general resources about literary scams.