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Predatory Publishing

The phenomenon of Predatory Publishing is widely known among academics. Researchers are approached via spam mails advertising commercial publishing and conferences run on dubious business practices. These publications and conferences do not meet the accepted standards of academic quality and are often associated with Open Access. These should not be seen as a problem specific to Open Access - such issues have existed for a while now and continue to be an issue. Whether you are publishing online or in print, the same recommendation applies: Quality assurance is a key component of the scientific research process.


Predatory publishing refers to a for-profit business model used by disreputable conference organisers and journal publishers. This phenomenon is particularly prevalent in MINT-subjects, however, it is also increasingly common in the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Disreputable conference organisers and publishers frequently:

  • advertise their services aggressively via email

  • use similar names to renowned journals and conferences

  • do not offer adequate quality assurance, such as peer review

  • list non-existent members of editorial boards

  • list editorial board members without individuals' consent

  • use pseudo logos imitating well-known logos

  • require payment of an (often unusually high) conference fee, after which the academic is notified that the conference will only be held online or on a smaller scale

  • display non-verifiable information on their web site

    • advertise a fake journal Impact Factor without the journal being indexed in the Web of Science database

    • list information about journal editors or conference organisors, who do not refer to their involvement on their own websites

Identifying deceptive publishers: Think, Check, Submit

Quality assurance is a fundamental part of the scientific research process. Predatory publishing, fake conferences, and fake journals do not meet the Statute on the Safeguarding of Good Academic Practice. In order to identify deceptive publishers and avoid damaging your own academic career, it is essential that you check whether a conference or journal is in fact reputable. This is often not obvious based on one thing alone. Most often, it is a combination of various criteria which should cause you to take a closer look.

The website Think Check Submit provides a list of questions authors should ask themselves before submitting an article. Go through the checklist and only submit your paper if you can answer "yes" to most or all of the questions. Similarly, Think Check Attend lists questions for checking the legitimacy of a conference. The evaluation of this checklist can only be accessed after registration.

Further Informationen

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Michaela VoigtTel.: +49 30 314-76130
Jana SchildhauerTel.: +49 30 314-76067
Katharina DrescherTel.: +49 30 314-76457
Elena Di RosaTel.: +49 30 314-76132

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