Learn about the problem of predatory publishing and how to protect yourself.
Bowman explains "Open-access is a model for publishing scholarly, peer-reviewed journals on the Internet that relies on sources of funding other than subscription fees."
Both well-established and emerging publishers have developed various models for open-access publishing. All such models require ongoing support to be sustainable. Legitimate publishers may choose to have authors, their institutions or grant funding pay a fee to have an article freely available worldwide. The amount of the fee varies greatly. Some journals contain a mix of open-access and subscribed content, and others are entirely open-access.
Critics have noted that some authors are too easily tempted by the promise quick turnaround. Others fault repositories such as PubMed Central for failure to apply stringent acceptance criteria. On the other hand, small publishers may have totally ethical intentions but inadequate financial means to provide services at the level expected of established scholarly journals.
Open-access publishing models developed in response to several concurrent trends:
Bowman JD. Predatory publishing, questionable peer review, and fraudulent conferences. Am J Pharm Educ. 2014 Dec 15;78(10):176. doi: 10.5688/ajpe7810176. PubMed PMID: 25657363; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4315198.
The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) explains the process well in its Recommendations for Conduct, Reporting, Editing and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals.
Laine C, Winker MA. Identifying predatory or pseudo-journals. World Association of Medical Editors. February 15, 2017. http://www.wame.org .
Laine C, Winker MA. Identifying predatory or pseudo-journals. Biochem Med (Zagreb). 2017 Jun 15;27(2):285-291. doi: 10.11613/BM.2017.031. Review. PubMed PMID: 28694720; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5493175.
This excellent article provides both background reading and tools for discerning which journals are from predatory publishers. This article appeared in a legitimate Open Access journal available via the PubMed Central (PMC) repository. It has been indexed in Medline since 2011.
Laine and Winkler provide tables summarizing well-known efforts to answer this question. Reviewing the tables in reverse order is one way to progressively apply criteria until reaching a conclusion.
Clarifying questions to ask when looking at the 10 points.
In summary, the 10 points to consider are:
Infographic CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Editage Insights
Accessed December 30, 2018. Available from: