Outlaw Publishers

The list includes those open access (rarely print / subscription) publishers judged potentially, possibly or probably predatory by violation of three or more of eight ‘fatal’ criteria:

  1. Concealing or misrepresenting the publisher’s identity and/or location
  2. Making demonstrably false or misleading non-trivial claims
  3. Pretending (or not even pretending) to carry out a proper peer review
  4. Listing fake, dead, non-human or a minimum of three stock editors
  5. Listing real human editors without telling them
  6. Concealing in whole or part the cost of article processing
  7. Publishing pseudoscience or work that is ‘not even pseudoscience’
  8. Fabricating the history dates of articles

The list is arranged directly in reference to these criteria, ranging from those with the most violations to those with the least. This shows at a glance where the highest priorities lie, for those (especially those responsible for research integrity in our universities) inclined to do something remedial.

A word of explanation regarding ‘stock’ editors in Criterion 4: The best way to explain them is to give a few examples, starting with the extreme case, Alireza Heidari. Heidari is fake, so you won’t find him on the editorial board of any journal belonging to a respectable publisher. He does appear, however, on the boards of 639 journals as well as the organising committees of countless conferences. Needless to say, few if any publishers have ever asked his permission before listing him. Then there are willing stock editors who delight in their collection of disgraceful alliances, Alfio Ferlito an egregious case in point. The more back-street, illicit racketeers Ferlito is associated with, the happier he is. And there are editors whose names, reputations and affiliations have gone viral over the dark web of duplicitous predatory publishers without any agreement from the person in question, John Patrick Bebawy for example. Identity theft of that sort is the hallmark of your typical predatory publisher, and you won’t find Bebawy in the list of academics on this site because Bebawy isn’t an outlaw academic.

Given that appropriate legal and/or institutional action against the entire cohort of illicit publishers isn’t going to happen, it makes sense to start with the worst offenders, those with seven fatal violations (none that I know of have all eight – yet). As for those with fewer than three fatal violations, they can be ignored for the foreseeable future. This avoids all the squabbles over borderline cases that have bedevilled the debate in the past.

Notwithstanding the practicalities stressed above, the publishers with just one or two fatal violations remain dubious at best and any academic mindful of her reputation would be well advised to look elsewhere to publish or be listed as an editor.

Here’s the list. It will be in a constant state of addition, removal, renewal and updating as new scam publishers appear and old ones die or mend their fraudulent or deceptive ways. Any publisher listed here can appeal by leaving a comment with the post ‘Three lists’ on the home page.

The second list is the alpha-by-name version of the first.