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A pseudojournal is an imitation scientific journal intended to promote and gain respectability for pseudoscience or for marketing by claiming that the claims within have been peer-reviewed.

Skeptics will often ask pseudoscientists where the peer-reviewed papers on their claims are. Some pseudoscientists respond by starting a pseudojournal: something that claims to implement a peer-review process and that tries very hard to capture the trappings of real scientific publication, since they don't understand what substance is.

The initial peer-review process is unlike that of real science. In real science, the peers look to pick holes in a paper's methodology or substance for the purpose of improving the field. In pseudojournals, the peers exist to reinforce the advocacy of the pseudoscience in question.

Distinguishing between a pseudojournal and a merely unbelievably bad journal with an insane editor can be tricky, and there is something of a demarcation problem. Answers Research Journal is a blatant pseudojournal of fraudulent intent; those involved in the Journal of Cosmology appeared to think they were actually doing science; Chaos, Solitons & Fractals was a platform for a lone crank but published by Elsevier and sold in bundles with indisputably real journals.

Elsevier's fake journals created for industry publicity have also been called "pseudojournals",[1] as the intent is to have the appearance of science without the substance. The journals were anthologies of articles published in Elsevier's proper journals, on the subjects the marketers wanted journals on. Thus the papers were real science, but the presentation was not.

Predatory journals[edit]

Predatory open access journalsWikipedia are not generally termed "pseudojournals", though they are comparably awful. Predatory journals characteristically require high fees from researchers but do not perform anything like adequate editorial, peer review or publishing services for these fees. For example the OMICS Group of publications is regarded by librarian Jeffrey Beall as predatory.[2][3][4] In 2016, associate professor in technology Christoph Bartneck submitted a paper to and was accepted by one of OMICS Group's 3000+ conferences,[5] the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics. The paper was created entirely using Apple Siri's autocomplete feature, and was according to Bartneck, "gibberish".[6]

Scientists in developing countries publish more frequently in 'predatory' journals than Western scientists.[7] This may be because the barrier to publishing in these 'pseudojournals' is lower than more respected open access journals; often with lower fees, faster publishing, better support for non-English speakers, and less elitism.[7] This can aid less experienced or new researchers in developing nations to begin their academic career.

It has been suggested that 'predatory' journals rather than being a serious threat to academic legitimacy are better classified as satire.[7] The nonsensical nature of these 'predatory' journals can make all the flaws in more respected journals seem more obvious and even laughable.

See also[edit]


  1. Elsevier’s Pseudo-Journals and the Drug Companies by Cheryl Rofer (Monday, 11 May 2009) Whirled View
  2. Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing: The explosion in open-access publishing has fuelled the rise of questionable operators by Declan Butler (27 March 2013) Nature.
  3. Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers ( page of Beall's List from January 11, 2017)
  4. Beall’s List: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers ( page of Beall's List from January 16, 2017)
  5. OMICS International
  6. Paper written by autocomplete accepted for academic conference by Jason Silverstein (Sunday, October 23, 2016, 9:51 AM) New York Daily News.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Bell, Kirsten. “‘Predatory’ Open Access Journals as Parody: Exposing the Limitations of ‘Legitimate’ Academic Publishing.” TripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society, vol. 15, no. 2, 2017, pp. 651–662., doi:10.31269/triplec.v15i2.870.