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There was a dramatic rise in the number of open access journals published beginning around 2012, many of which are focused on the fields of science, technology, engineering, and medicine. Due to the ease and low cost of publishing online, many of the new journals were from unknown publishers, some of which were labeled “fake” or “predatory” as they did not deliver the quality and service expected, while collecting substantial fees from authors. This problem was well documented a special issue of Nature, The Future of Publishing in March 2013. The Publication Rat Race: Who Will Bell the Cat? (2013) explains why there was an explosion of “fake” journals appearing in India. 'Predatory’ Open Access: A Longitudinal Study of Article Volumes and Market Characteristics (October 2015) examines the characteristics of these sham journals and concludes that predatory open access issues are "highly contained to just a few countries, where the academic evaluation practices strongly favor international publication, but without further quality checks." Some of these journals still exist today, and authors and researchers will want to use the Evaluation Criteria below to avoid these publications.
Quality is not just an issue for "predatory" or "fake" journals. Each year, there are hundreds of articles retracted by established scholarly publishers. For reports on retractions, read the Retraction Watch blog or search the Retraction Watch database. The following articles provide additional information: