In this exercise you will look at two different journals and check each for warning signs that help you to identify a predatory journal. The Library has a guide to predatory journals. You will find things you need to look out for there, but here is a step by step procedure you can go through.

What is a predatory publisher

Predatory publishing, is a deceitful publishing model that involves charging authors publication fees for open access, often not providing proper peer review. The publisher often fails to disclose fees until after the manuscript has been accepted, locking your research output into their publisher’s policies and binding intellectual property rights.

Where you can find information about predatory journals

Tools that might help

Primo – the Library Catalogue

A good place to start checking the catalogue to see if Charles Sturt is holding the journal. For an article to be read by others is should be easy to find. 


SciMago is a free service that rank journals using citation metrics from Scopus.

Not all journals are listed in SciMago, but many are. 


Ulrichsweb is a comprehensive international directory of serials (journals) with all sorts of information about each one. It is important because you can use it to check if a journal is “refereed” (peer-reviewed)

You can use Urichsweb to:

  • To determine if a journal peer-reviewed.
  • To discover in which library research databases a journal is indexed and for what years.
  • To discover the library research databases to access a journal in full text.
  • To check if a journal has any name changes.

Your Challenge

Compare these two journals against the checklist below. Which would you publish with?

Your Challenge Checklist

  • Do you or your colleagues know or read the journal? Even if you do it could be good to check the journals credentials. If you don’t know it, you should definitely check the journal out.
  • Have you heard of the publisher?
  • What do you think of the journal’s homepage? Can you find the information you need on it? Are there errors or false claims on the page (Impact Factors for example)
  • Can you find the journal in the library catalogue? You need people to read what you write and you should publish where other people are able to find it.
  • Is it indexed in SciMago? SciMago Help Page
  • If it is listed in SciMago can you find how it is ranked? The easiest to understand ranking in SciMago is the quartile ranking.
  • Is it listed in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory? You should be able to find it either with searching for the ISSN or the name of the journal. Help Pages: how to search ; search result help
  • Check the publishers, and their editorial details. Where is the publisher based? Are their contact details consistent with their location? Sometimes you can pick up a suspicious journal by its claimed publisher location. International Journal of Environment and Climate Change was previously called the British Journal, but it is published in another country.
  • Which databases are proving abstracts or full text of the articles in the journal? Ulrich’s will indicate if the full text or abstract is not available in any of the major databases, how to you expect people to find it and read it?

Example for "Identifying a predatory publisher":

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