A predatory publisher is one that "exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for using their services." - From Iowa State University*
Predatory publishing has become an issue in recent years due to the proliferation of open access publishing. While it can take a variety of forms, most predatory publishers are looking to make money and may charge excessive fees to authors. They generally publish lower quality work with little to no peer-review, or very low quality peer-review that does not follow industry standards. They may lie about their product or make promises they cannot keep, and sometimes engage in unethical business practices.
Not all open access journals are predatory, but some are. This guide will help you figure out how to spot predatory publishers and separate them from the legitimate higher-quality open access journals.
Predatory publishers may charge money to publish your work, and they may not give you the positive professional exposure you are looking for. Predatory Publishers have a negative reputation, and therefore may not help your scholarly credentials in the way publishing in a legitimate journal does. Additionally, your work may not be subjected to rigorous peer-review. Your work is also unlikely to be searchable through academic databases if published by a predatory publisher, and the publisher may not keep archives of your work long-term.
This was prepared in part by consulting Iowa State University's guide at http://instr.iastate.libguides.com/predatory/id.
If you're still unsure if the journal you are looking at is a predatory publisher, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more help.