Fake journals: think, check, submit!

Sometimes library members approach the library for advice about unsolicited e-mail messages asking for manuscripts, inviting the recipient to join a journal’s editorial board, or to submit and abstract or poster to a conference. How can one tell which are legitimate and which are from fake, so-called ‘predatory’ journals and conferences?

Fake journals have sprung up in the wake of the open access movement. Sometimes they can be easy to spot. Few established journals need to tout for manuscripts; further, e-mails and websites will contain spelling and grammatical errors, and over-effusive compliments to the author. Claims about peer review, editorial board membership and indexing may be misleading, or outright lies.

A campaign supported by leading publishers and open access organisations offers a list of checks would-be authors are advised to carry out before submitting, under the three headings, think, check, submit. Follow their checklists, or ask us, if you’re unsure about the bona fides of a journal or conference.