What does the scholarly community do about it?

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

DOAJ indexes more than 15.000 peer-reviewed open access journals which are deemed authentic after a careful examination and application procedure. Some 1.400 journals have a DOAJ seal, a mark of certification that is awarded to "journals that achieve a high level of openness, adhere to Best Practice and high publishing standards".

DOAJ also maitains a list of journals that claim they are indexed in DOAJ but aren't.

The awareness campaign Think Check Submit

This campaign aims to help researchers "identify trusted journals and publishers for their research". It was created and produced by a coalition of stakeholders in scholarly publishing in response to the problems of deceptive publishing and fake science.

The Center for Journalology's One stop shop for resources

The Center for Journalology from The Ottawa Hopsital - Research Institute (Canada) has produced a one stop shop for resources about predatory journals. These educational resources vary in form and content to specifically target:


Lists of alleged predatory journals and publishers (often referred to as blacklists)

These lists aim to index and keep track of alleged predatory journals and/or publishers. They are considered to be controversial because:

  • the criteria used are not always transparent;
  • some criteria used may not be relevant;
  • it is not always clear who is compiling the list;
  • they are not always regularly updated;
  • they are not exhaustive;
  • they may inadvertently contain false positives.
Stakeholders in scholarly publishing may use these lists as a quick way to make up their mind about a journal and/or publisher, but this can result in a lack of critical engagement with a journal or publisher's procedrures and policies. 

Lists of alleged predatory journals and publishers can be useful but do not necessarily educate the research community.

The predatoryjournals.com website

It was aunched in 2017 to continue the controversial and contested work of the American librarian Jeffrey Beall, who is known for coining the term "'predatory open access publishing" while maintaining lists of alleged predatory journals and publishers for over 10 years (Beall, 2010). The website is managed by a committee of anonymous scientists, although it is possible to propose updates. The website includes:

  • an amended version of Beall's lists of alleged stand-alone predatory journals and predatory publishers;
  • a list of hijacked journals, i.e. fake or deceptive journals that mimic authentic journals' titles, websites, etc.;
  • a list of fake metrics, i.e. metrics that are questionable because they are deceptive in some way. These fake metrics are often created and maintained by the same companies behind particular predatory journals or publishers. Fake metrics (just like fake indices or databases) may help boost the credibility of predatory journals and publishers.

Unfortunately, the lists displayed on predatoryjournals.com do not seem to be updated regularly.

Cabells' "Predatory Reports" Database

Cabell is a for-profit company maintaining a "predatory reports" database that can be accessed on subscription. Their list is based on the analysis of over 60 indicators of deceptive behaviors (Toutloff, 2019) but some of their criteria are subjective or very hard to verify.  While Cabell's work on predatory journals is useful and necessary, the process leading to the inclusion of journals in their "predatory reports" database is not transparent and seems to be poorly operationalized (Dony, Raskinet, et al., 2020).