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Publishing Research - Research Guide

Where Not to Publish

Vanity Publishing

Vanity publishing usually involves:

  • no peer review process
  • a publication fee paid by the author
  • the sale of published works by the publisher
  • offers to publish theses

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

Unethical publishing usually involves:

  • a professional sounding book, journal or conference title and often a professional looking website
  • direct approaches to potential authors
  • little or no editorial support 
  • no peer review process or copy editing 
  • the payment significant publication fees by the author, while the publishers expend very little
  • the use of unsuspecting researchers names on editorial boards or "editing" committees - making use of their reputations and the prestige of their institutions to attract more article submissions and more authors’ fees

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

Hijacked publications and conferences usually involve:

  • the use of a counterfeit website with a similar web address to mimic the website of an authentic and reputable publication or conference
  • false use of established publication or conference names and often identifiers such as an ISSN
  • the soliciting of manuscript submissions for the hijacked publication or registrations for a hijacked conference, and charging publication or attendance fees

In many cases, it takes time before the legitimate publisher or conference organiser becomes aware of this disreputable activity.


Stop Lists

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.

Go List

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - an independent online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals.

Additional Resources

Retraction Watch - tracking retractions as a signal of scientific integrity.

Writer Beware - general resources about literary scams.