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Predatory Publishing

Predatory publishing is a well-known practice. Spam mails to scientists advertise publications and conferences with dubious business practices for profit. These do not meet applicable scientific quality criteria and are often associated with Open Access. Yet they are not a problem specific to Open Access; such things have existed for a long time and continue to exist. Whether you are publishing online or in print, the same guidelines apply: Quality assurance is a key component of the scientific process.


Predatory publishing refers to a profit-oriented business model used by disreputable conferences and journals. This practice is particularly prevalent in STEM subjects, however it is also growing in the humanities and social sciences.

Disreputable conferences and publications frequently:

  • advertise their services aggressively via email

  • have similar names to renowned journals and conferences

  • do not include sufficient quality assurance, such as peer review

  • name false members on editorial boards

  • name editorial boards without individuals' consent

  • use logos imitating other established, well-known logos

  • require payment of an (often unusually high) conference fee, before then notifying you that that the conference will only be held online or on a smaller scale

  • provide non-verifiable information on their website

    • advertise a supposed journal impact factor even though the journal is not indexed in the Web of Science database

    • provide information about journal editors or program committee members who do not refer to their involvement on their own personal websites

Identifying untrustworthy offers: Think, Check, Submit

Quality assurance is a fundamental part of the scientific process. Predatory publishing, fake conferences, and fake journals do not meet the Statute on the Safeguarding of Good Academic Practice. In order to identify untrustworthy offers and avoid harming your own individual scientific career, confirm whether a conference or journal is reputable. This is often not evident based on a single suspicious trait. Frequently, it is a combination of various criteria which should catch your eye and 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. Similarly, Think Check Attend list questions you can ask to confirm the seriousness and respectability of a conference. Go through the checklist and only submit your contribution if you can answer most or all of the questions with "yes."

Further Informationen

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

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