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Jeffrey Beall removed his list of predatory journals from the internet this past Sunday. While the reasons for his doing this are not yet public, this is a real loss of a valuable service. Does anyone know of similar services available to the general public?

Edit: This other question is definitely relevant, but that approach is more appropriate for finding top journals rather than identifying bottom ones. I.e., following that method would probably exclude lots of valid, lower-tier journals. Are there any approaches to easily identifying a predatory publisher?

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As noted in the question, Beall's list once was a method for identifying predatory publishers. However, the list is no more. A recent Publons blog post addressed how to id predatory journals.

Summarizing their post, here are some methods of identifying predatory journals. Most of their methods are more positive than Beall (i.e., they point out good journals rather than highlight predatory journals):

As noted in the comments, some of these lists may have their credibility issues (e.g., Why do open access consortia affiliate themselves with questionable publishers)

Also, you can do your own "smell" test. Note that none of these a perfect. Possible examples include:

  • Check out a journal's webpage and publishers. Often predatory journals have bad webpages or webpages that seem slightly off or wrong. However, some predatory journals do have well polished webpages.
  • Is the journal associated with a professional society? If so, have you heard of the society? Professional societies tend to host legitimate journals (although there are likely exceptions). However, some predatory journals use the names of societies and academics without their permission (or use fake societies that sound close to real societies).
  • Similarly, is the journal associated with a university?
  • Lookup the editorial board. Who is on the board? What is their affiliation (e.g., are they grad students and postdocs?)? Also, check the webpages of the board. Do they list the journal? Some journals list people without their permission.

In summary, there is no single method for verifying journals. Some predatory journals go to great lengths to seem real.

Edit note: This answer was updated based upon feedback from StrongBad, Coburn, and Joce.

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    I am not sure DoOAJ is a good list. See academia.stackexchange.com/questions/23719/… – StrongBad Jan 25 '17 at 3:02
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    Don't trust something even if it has a good webpage. It's easy to make something look nice with Bootstrap and other frameworks out there. Also, I liked how Beall included when the names of respected academics were used without authorization/when they weren't affiliated with the predatory journal. There's no easy way to tell without contacting the individual in question. – Coburn Jan 25 '17 at 5:22
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    Looking up the editorial board is also an important step. Of course, some predatory journals list people who may not have agreed to be on the board or may have been trapped, so do not take the list completely for granted. More generally, it is a good idea to publish in journals that have published papers you have used for your research, or where your community usually publishes. If these do not want to consider your paper, then the problem is more likely with the paper than with the journal. – Joce Jan 25 '17 at 9:30
  • @StrongBad DOAJ, as stated in one of the answer of that question, is reviewing the reapplications of journals accepted before 2014. As an editor, I can tell we are working hard on these issues! And each journal on the list has the date of inclusion in DOAJ. – Emilie Jan 25 '17 at 15:23
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    @Emilie this is off topic, but DOAJ is still sponsored by Frontiers, Hindawi, and MDPI (among others) and that makes me question their judgment and independence. Would love to see you give an answer to my original question. – StrongBad Jan 25 '17 at 19:19
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I heard about Beall's list several times on this site, but I'm amazed about its significance to some people.

When you start doing research, you need to know which papers are important in your field (your advisor or google scholar will tell you). Then you need to know who is the big shots, and not so big shots in your field. Then you need to know where those guys have published their papers (where your advisor published his/her papers).

Then follow the masters, submit to the conference/journal that they published. If it is a new conference/journal, you need to know some people in the PC members, editors.

If you know none of them, it's not a good idea to submit your paper. In the best case, they are not in your field. Even if you don't know them, you can check if they are from reputable university, if they have well-cited papers to become editors?

Another way is to check 5 papers published by this journal 5 years ago. If none of them has any citations, that journal is spam.

TL;DR: You don't need any list.

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    I was wondering the same a few days ago in chat. Some suggested that the main result of Beall's list has been that of making some people aware of the existence of predatory publishers. – Massimo Ortolano Jan 24 '17 at 20:39
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    These aren't bad suggestions, but they need qualifications. "5 years ago" is useless for new journals or for journals that have only recently expanded into a particular subject. Also, it fails to spot journals that went downhill recently (e.g., when editors leave to found their new journal, but publisher continues with a much worse skeleton crew). "Good people on the editorial board" fails when the editorial board is fake (e.g., some vanity presses spam a lot of known professors, then put everyone on the editorial board who doesn't explicitly decline). In case of doubt, talk to people. – darij grinberg Jan 24 '17 at 21:25
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    Checking the editors isn't foolproof; predatory journals have been known to list people as editors without their consent. – Nate Eldredge Jan 25 '17 at 7:14
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    Another way is to check 5 papers published by this journal 5 years ago. If none of them has any citations, that journal is spam. But if they do have citations you at least have to follow up to look for only self/group citations. That not necessarily quick on badly-designed journal sites (which doesn't exclude good journals), even before you get to buddy citations. – Chris H Jan 25 '17 at 10:42
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    Following the masters and submitting where they submitted is great advice if you're an amazing young researcher, but if you're that amazing you won't be in much danger of predatory journals in the first place. It's the more average researchers who won't always get accepted into a top tier journal that need help to distinguish the lower tier journals from the predatory journals. – curiousdannii Jan 25 '17 at 15:21
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A non-exhaustive list of red flags:

  • They promise an unreasonably fast review cycle, like four weeks or less between initial submission and acceptance notification. While convenient for the authors, it's impossible to guarantee a decent-quality review process in such a tight timeframe.

  • They send you unsolicited e-mails. Obviously, sending spam is a strong indicator for a spam journal.

  • The articles found in previous editions of the journal seem thematically unrelated or even random.

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    Angewandte Chemie, one of the most prestigious chemistry journal, reviews 40% of the manuscripts within 4 weeks (lutz-bornmann.de/icons/TimePeerReview5.pdf ) of course they aren't promising it, but some weeks of review doesn't mean there's no good review process. – DSVA Jan 24 '17 at 19:15
  • @DSVA Indeed, a fast review cycle alone (without promises/guarantees to the authors) does not indicate a quality problem by itself. Thanks for pointing that out. – lighthouse keeper Jan 24 '17 at 19:25
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For what it's worth, an archived version of Beall's list close to its deletion can be found at at archive.org. Note that it will necessarily decrease in accuracy and completeness over time.

His other lists are also archived. You can find a collection of links at Debunking Denialism.

Additionally, note that Beall's "criteria" are still publicly available, and some might argue that they are at least as useful as the list, as they teach a man how to fish. While I have seen the objectivity of the list being doubted, I've rarely seen people criticize the objectivity of the criteria.

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There are also two web sites that claim to build on and expand the Beall's list:

http://beallslist.weebly.com

http://predatoryjournals.com

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Surprisingly Cabell's list hasn't been mentioned yet: see the Wikipedia article and links within. It's subscription-based however, and I have not seen many reviews as to how good the list actually is.

Of course, you can also do-it-yourself with Google and looking through previous issues, verifying vs. the editorial board and whatnot (basically what Beall did, focused on that one journal).

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