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Most open access (OA) journals abide by some set of rigorous criteria, such as the membership criteria set forth by the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). However, there are other OA journals that do not publish reputable work and are considered "predatory," meaning they only exist to exploit researchers and collect author fees.*
Predatory journals can often be difficult to distinguish from reputable OA journals, and some bogus publishers have been getting increasingly sophisticated. There are some red flags to look out for, however, which are detailed in the handout below.
* Note that an author fee alone is not an indication that a journal is predatory. Because OA journals are not typically funded by the standard publishing model of subscription sales and/or advertisements, they are often reliant upon author fees (after peer review and/or acceptance) to cover publication costs. This has become a widely accepted publishing model in the past decade or so.