While similar to vanity publishing, predatory Open Access publishers seek to take advantage of the Gold Open Access model, whereby the author pays to have an article available as Open Access on the journal website. These publishers can set up websites that closely resemble legitimate online publishers, and often send out spam emails requesting authors to submit articles, many times with hidden author processing charges that are invoiced to the author on acceptance of their manuscript. Although purporting to be based in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada or Australia, most are actually based in India, Pakistan and Nigeria.
Jeffery Beall from University of Colorado, Denver, has put together a List of Predatory Publishers. The list is added to as required, and has grown considerably since it's first inception in 2011.
Beall has also put together some Criteria for Determining Predatory Open-Access Publishers (3rd Edition). Some examples from the extensive list of criteria that identify a predatory journal include:
The journal doesn’t identify a formal editorial/review board
The peer review process is not clearly defined
No single individual is identified as the journal’s editor
No academic information is provided regarding the editor, editorial staff, and/or review board members (e.g. institutional affiliation)
Two or more journals have duplicate editorial boards (i.e. same editorial board for more than one journal)
The publisher sends spam requests for peer reviews to scholars unqualified to review submitted manuscripts
- The publisher publishes journals that combine two or more fields not normally treated together (e.g. International Journal of Business, Humanities and Technology).
Beall has produced a number of other lists alerting authors to questionable publications:
- Misleading Metrics: This list includes companies that "calculate" and publish counterfeit impact factors (or some similar measure) to publishers, metrics the publishers then use in their websites and spam email to trick scholars into thinking their journals have legitimate impact factors.
- Hijacked Journals: This list includes journals for which someone has created a counterfeit website, stealing the journal's identity and soliciting articles submissions using the author pays model (gold open-access).