The number of articles published in scholarly journals is still increasing every year. The main cause is the economic growth in emerging market countries like China.Researchers need to publish their results. Established publishers, as well as new ones, are reacting to this development by launching new journals. While most of these journals comply with the quality standards expected by the scientific community, others just try to earn money without having the expertise in scientific publishing or even the aim to invest sufficient effort in to editorial work.
Most predatory journals follow the gold open access model, which implies the payment of an article processing charge by the author. This has nothing to do with the general quality of open access. It is simply easier to trick an individual exposed to various pressures than to sell a subscription to a library.
Even renowned researches were not aware that they have published in predatory journals. The issue got some attention in the media during the recent years and the SNF provided information (e.g. OA FAQ section).
However, there is still a certain risk of choosing a journal that does not meet the appropriate quality standards. The demarcation between a reliable and a predatory journal is not as clear as might be expected.
How do you know that a journal is predatory? The first thing is to ask your colleagues or your supervisor about the scope and quality of a specific journal. A few warning signs also hint at reliability: E.g.: Is it really feasible to get a manuscript through the peer review process in less than one week?
There are several, widely acknowledged resources you may consult as well: