Skip to Main Content

Who Publishes in a Predatory Journal?

Authors of the Articles in Predatory Journals

A study by Xia et al (2015)¹ found that the majority of the authors who published in the predatory journals used in the study were inexperienced  young researchers who lived in developing countries. Xia et al stated, " A low submission acceptance standard provides an opportunity for nonelite members of the scholarly community to survive in the “publish-or-perish” culture found in both the West and many developing countries. Most of the predatory journals initiated and operated in the developing countries charge a fee affordable to local submissions (see Table 1), allowing researchers to publish quickly. Publishing in such journals is much less costly than conducting expensive studies and attempting to publish without fees in a prestigious foreign non-OA journal. This is by no means only an OA problem but is a prevalent dilemma in the current scholarly communication system."

Kurt (2018)² conducted a survey to determine why authors publish in predatory journals. The survey questionnaire was sent to the authors of 300 articles randomly selected from Beall's list of "predatory journals."  A total of 96 authors responded to the survey. Almost 80%  of these published authors  came from Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Philippines and Turkey.  Kurt identified  that primarily four factors- social identity threat, unawareness, high pressure and lack of research proficiency  played a key role in these authors' publications in predatory journals.

Although studies reported that many authors in developing countries are  publishing in predatory journals, submission of articles to predatory journals for publication by academics, researchers and scholars has become a global problem now. One article in New York Times  reported that  many academics knowingly send their manuscripts to fraudulent publishers to survive  in the " publish or perish" culture in academia that demands continuous and rapid publications from the faculty and the researchers. Retraction Watch published an interview with Professor Derek Pyne who reported that many faculty with research responsibilities at a small Canadian business school had published in predatory journals.

A German journalist Svea Eckert  with her colleagues  "went undercover to investigate a massive underground network of fake science journals and conferences." The article in Motherboard wrote, "So who are the people submitting to these conferences? According to Eckert, these range from academics trying to boost their publishing profile to scientists affiliated with companies who want to boost their scientific cred by having some publications under their belt. A distressing number of these academics come from elite American universities, as well. Eckert and her colleagues discovered 162 papers submitted to WASET and OMICS journals from Stanford, 153 papers from Yale, 96 from Columbia, and 94 from Harvard in the last decade.”


¹ Xia J, Harmon JL, Connolly KG, et al (2015) : Who publishes in “predatory” journals? J Assoc Inf Sci Technol., 66(7):1406–1417.

² Kurt, S. (2018). Why do authors publish in predatory journals?. Learned Publishing, 31(2), 141-147.