A colleague recently asked me how to know if a journal he’d been asked to review for was predatory, and I didn’t have a great answer. I suggested that the fact that they were asking him to review was probably a good sign, since the worst of the predatory journals don’t bother with that formality. Some do, though, so that’s no guarantee. I wish I’d had a better answer.
The fact is, it’s not always easy to distinguish legitimate journals from predatory ones. A step in the right direction, though, is defining what we mean by a predatory journal. A recent article in Nature has tried to do that:
Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices. (Grudniewicz et al. 2019)