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CHM 4900/6900: Home

Scope of the Problem

Predatory Publishers

A predatory publisher is a publisher who produces low quality academic journals.  These journals are rarely peer-reviewed, and often charge the author a publication fee.  The publisher works hard to dupe authors into publishing by emulating well-known publishers, lying about their credentials, and soliciting submissions with spam emails.  Learn how to evaluate and identify predatory publishers using the criteria below:

  • Little or no peer review
  • Fake ISSN
  • Editors with no or fake credentials
  • No editors listed at all
  • False indexing claims in Web of Science, Directory of Open Access Journals, etc.
  • Rapid acceptance (within 2 weeks)
  • Call for papers email, a pre-acceptance email, and other "scammy" email
  • Empty or dead links
  • Spelling and grammar errors
  • Fake Impact Factor
    • Impact Factor can only be assigned by one company, Clarivate Analytics (formerly Thomson Reuters and Institute for Scientific Information).  An easy way to check is by searching the Impact Factor in InCites Journal Citations Report.

Evaluating Journals and Authors

Do you think these publishers or journals are reputable?

Is this journal reputable? - Think, check, submit.

The intended audience of this video is researchers selecting a journal in which to publish, but  you should also use this same process when deciding whether a journal is reputable before you cite it.  Obviously, you still need to evaluate any individual article you use to ensure that the methods and conclusions in it are sound and logical, but use caution in order to avoid citing articles published in questionable or predatory journals.

Tools to Help with Evaluation

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive list or database you can check to make sure you are using a reputable journal, but these tools can be a helpful starting point.


This article has been retracted:

Khaled, M.B.; El Mokadem, R.K., and Weaver, J.D. Hydrogen Bond Directed Photocatalytic Hydrodefluorination: Overcoming Electronic Control

J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017 139 (37), 13092-13101. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b06847

  1. How would you know it was retracted?
  2. Do you know why it was retracted?
  3. Are there any circumstances under which it would be acceptable to cite an article you know has been retracted?

Sample Articles to Look Up in Science Citation Index

Can you find these article titles in Science Citation Index?  If so, what can we learn about the journal and the author Science Citation Index?

  • Will stringent total nitrogen wastewater treatment plant discharge regulations achieve stream water quality goals

  • Development of an environmental friendly method for the analysis of organochlorine pesticides in sediments

About the Publisher MDPI

MDPI is an increasingly popular open access publisher.  Take a look at a few articles from  two of MDPI's Chemistry journals, International Journal of Molecular Sciences and Chemosensors and answer the following questions

  • How long does it seem to take for the peer review process to occur? 
  • How do you know? 
  • Does this concern you?  Why or why not?

Citation Contamination or Citation Pollution

Know What You are Searching-Example: PubMed Versus MEDLINE

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