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Library Subject Guides

5. Publish & Share: Predatory Publishers

What is 'predatory' publishing

Predatory, or questionable publishing is when publishers request fees from authors to publish in low-value journals.  These journals are designed to exploit researcher's desire to publish, and take fees, potentially without providing any services, such ar peer-review, typesetting, or promotion and marketing through scholarly indexes.   

Avoid questionable publishers through using the tools at Think.  Check.  Submit. or talk to your Subject Librarian, who can investigate journals for you.

Publishing with MDPI

Publishing with MDPI
If you are considering publishing in one of the MDPI journals, you are advised to first do a critical review of the journal in question.

The publisher MDPI has been criticised recently for inadequacies in the editorial process and peer review. Based on concerns expressed about publishing ethics and varying levels of quality, questions have been raised about whether UC’s APC discount with MDPI is in line with our values and strategies. The University Library believes there is no uniform standard across all MDPI journals, and recommends that anyone considering publishing with MDPI should critically review the journal in question. Read more about the assessment of journals at, for example, Think. Check. Submit.

Many researchers choose to publish in MDPI's journals and we are very interested to hear about your experiences with the publisher. Please contact us at

The current agreement between the library and MDPI, which gives a 10% discount for publishing, is updated annually.

Examples of deliberately fake articles published in these journals

How to identify a predatory publisher

  • Journal website is difficult to locate or identify
  • Publisher "About" information is absent on the journal's website 
  • A single editor is listed and editorial board information is absent
  • Publisher direct marketing (spamming) or other advertising is obtrusive
  • Instructions for authors are not available
  • Information on peer review and copyright is absent or unclear on the journal website
  • Journal scope statement is absent or extremely vague
  • No information is provided about the publisher, or the information provided does not clearly indicate a relationship to a mission to disseminate research content
  • Repeat lead authors in the same issue
  • Publisher has a negative reputation


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