Predatory Publishing

Due to the rapid increase in enquiries about so-called predatory journals as well as the recent media coverage, we have compiled the most important information on predatory publishing.


Predatory Journals

are journals that charge money for services that they do not provide at all or in rather poor quality. Often, the term fake journals is used synonymously for predatory journals.

In contrast to high-quality (open access) journals, which provide services such as editing, marketing, long-term archiving, and quality assurance and control, predatory journals offer no guarantee for long-term archiving, only inadequate quality control and often incorrect information on metrics (e.g. impact factor).

Poor Quality Journals

are journals that charge money for their services, but provide them in poor quality.


Predatory Publishing

The term refers not to a single journal but to an entire publishing house that charges money for services it does not provide or that it provides in rather poor quality.


Predatory Conferences

are conferences that have been designed to appear as legitimate scientific conferences, but are in fact exploitative as they charge high conference fees but do not provide adequate peer review of the submitted proposals. Subsequently, the presentations are often published as unedited proceedings. Promotional activities, such as mass mailings, can include claims of participation of prominent scientists who are actually uninvolved.


As advertising activities of predatory publishing include personal address and invitations of scientists via mass mailings, such requests should be handled with care, if the journal or publisher is not known as trustworthy.

It is advisable to consider the following factors when choosing a suitable and trusted (open access) journal:

  • Is the journal listed in Web of Science (access via DBIS). The database Web of Science only lists journals that follow certain quality standards (such as peer review).
  • Is the journal listed in DOAJ? The Directory of Open Access Journals only includes journals that meet the quality criteria of scientific publishing.
  • Does the journal conduct a peer review process?
  • Who does the editorial board consist of (are there recognized scientists amongst the editors)?
  • Is the publisher member of the OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association) or another acknowledged industry association?
  • Are the journal editors members of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)?
  • Services like think.check.submit and think.check.attend help with the selection of suitable (open access) journals or conferences.

Publication of Theses

Some publishers, such as AV Akademikerverlag (formerly VDM Verlag), SVH Verlag, GRIN or Shaker Verlag, systematically contact graduates of master's, diploma and doctoral programmes and offer to publish their theses free of charge. Such requests should be treated with caution, as the theses are printed unedited and without peer review process, while being distributed at high prices via print-on-demand.

Students, who are pursuing an academic career, are not advised to publish with such publishers, as they do not have an academic reputation due to their lack of quality criteria and are rarely purchased by university libraries or other academic institutions. Depending on the clauses of the publishing contract, the authors transfer their rights to use their work to the publisher and are excluded from using their work subsequently.

Further information on the publication of theses via the repository of the University of Innsbruck can be found here.

If you have any questions, please contact the University and Regional Library of Tyrol

Electronic Resources Department
Lisa Hofer, tel: +43 (0) 512-507-31038
Erika Pörnbacher, tel: +43 (0) 512-507-2405

Questions on theses | Digital Services Department
Barbara Laner, Tel.: +43 (0)512 507 - 25401


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