Predatory Publishers, Copyright, Plagiarism, Good Scientific Practice

This guide may assists you in recognizing and avoiding questionable publishers and journals (commonly called "predatory publishers). Ultimately it is up to each author to make the final decision on where to publish and to decide what they expect from their publishers.

What is Predatory Publishing?

What is Predatory Publishing?

The open access movement has brought about great opportunities to share scientific research more broadly, but also gave rise to unethical publishing companies who wish to profit from scientific research and exploit researchers' desire to publish their materials. By carefully and critically evaluating the journals you wish to publish in you can avoid falling victim to predatory publishing.
Predatory publishing is not only limited to journals; more and more questionable conferences are cropping up as well.

What's The Harm?

Predatory publishers deceive authors by claiming to be a full-service publisher. Remember, as an author you are providing a valuable product and legitimate publishers provide valuable services to protect your work. Some of the dangers of publishing with a predatory publisher are outlined below:

  • Poor quality assurance
    Peer review procedures are a central instrument of content quality assurance. High-quality peer review is a time-consuming process for both the reviewer and the author. Problematic are those journals that promise a high-quality peer review, but then do not implement it.

  • Low visibility and findability of the articles
    Publishers of fake journals often claim that the journals are indexed in databases such as Scopus or Web of Science. However, this is not the case, which makes the content less visible and discoverable.

  • Non-guaranteed long-term availability of the publication
    Reputable publishers make sure that the articles they publish can be permanently found and accessed. A predatory publisher does not attach much importance to this.

  • Risk to the scientific career and reputation
    No longer verifiable publications can be a hindrance to a desired scientific career. And if the own list of publications contains papers published in a predatory journal, this may affect the scientific reputation of the author. Although the article is of high quality, it is believed that it has qualitative deficiencies and has not been accepted in reputable journals.

Tools And Resources

The following sites can be used to further investigate the legitimacy of journals.

  • LinkThink, Check, Submit!
    This great tool includes questions to think about, criteria to look at, checking with colleagues and other criteria, to finally submit your work.

  • Link Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing
    Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association's Committee on Publication Ethics has developed this document compiling the best practices in publication ethics.

    The Directory of Open Access Journals is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. DOAJ is independent. All data is freely available.

  • LinkUlrich's Web
    An easy-to-search source of detailed information on more than 300,000 periodicals (also called serials) of all types: academic and scholarly journals, e-journals, peer-reviewed titles, popular magazines, newspapers, newsletters, and more. Ulrichsweb covers more than 900 subject areas.

  • LinkBeall's List of Predatory Journals and Publishers
    Jeffrey Beall, a librarian coined the term "predatory publishers". The site contains the archived list of publishers and journals, as well as other tips and advice on how to investigate journals and publishers and what to think about before publishing your work.

  • LinkWhat are ‘predatory’ conferences and how can I avoid them?
    Article by AuthorAID Team | Feb. 6, 2017
Good Scientific Practice

Successful scientific work is based on integrity and on confidence in the researchers and researching institutes. For detailed information, please see the Rules of Good Scientific Practice and the Link DFG Code of Conduct.
The TUM website also offers a detailed set of LinkFAQs for doctoral candidates, which answer important questions on handling data, citations and supervision of student work.
You can also contact our ombudsperson


Within academia, plagiarism by students, professors, or researchers is considered academic dishonesty or academic fraud, and offenders are subject to academic censure, up to and including expulsion. Many institutions use plagiarism detection software to uncover potential plagiarism and to deter students from plagiarizing.


Link iThenticate

is plagiarism detection tool which applies text-matching algorithms to compare the full text of a given manuscript with a growing number of published scholarly works and web content.

Link Plagiarism Portal

This site was set up in order to collect information about the topic of plagiarism, primarily in German for a German-speaking audience.

Link Crossref Similarity Check

The world's leading publishers have implemented plagiarism checker software into their editorial processes. Over 365 publishers, including the top 15 most influential publishers like Nature Publishing and Elsevier, have signed up for the CrossCheck powered by iThenticate service.

More Information on plagiarisms can be found under

German Copyright Act (UrhG)

On 1st January 2008 the New Copyright Law comes into force in Germany. There are two articles which affect you as the author of scientific works.

§ 53a - Document delivery on demand

The newly worded Article 53a which has been amended to cover private copies (§53 UrhG) is mainly responsible for the new restrictions in electronic delivery. Hence subito changed its document delivery service. From this time onwards, it will only be legally possible for all user groups to receive documents by post or fax. The delivery of graphic files (PDF files) will then only be permissible if the publisher does not offer access to the same article online.

§ 137l – Transitional rules for new types of use

Article 137l of the new Act introduces an automatism according to which the right to the type of use referred to as online publication (which has become known in the meantime) is to be subsequently transferred to German (including former East German) users/publishers. This applies to all publications in respect of which all essential rights of use were granted exclusively and without restriction in territory or time by the author to a publishing house during the period from 1966 up and including 1994.

Some helpful Copyright information you can also find at


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