A predatory publisher is an opportunistic publishing venue that exploits the academic need to publish but offers little reward for those using their services.
The academic "publish or perish" scenario combined with the relative ease of website creation has inadvertently created a market ripe for the exploitation of academic authors. Some of these publishers are predatory on purpose, whereas others may just be making mistakes because of neglect, mismanagement, or inexperience. Although the motivations and methods vary predatory publishers exhibit common characteristics:
It can be difficult to identify a predatory publisher. They frequently reach out by email correspondences. One way you can avoid these emails is by using a Gmail account that filters out spam for you. This is not always feasible for a variety of reasons. Here an email example from a predatory publisher you can look at to see how to determine the validity of their request.
Now this email may not be an issue. It appears okay. There are some space issues between some words, but really we do this from time to time. Your next step would be to check their website About Us page. This can usually give a better indication of where or not they are a reputable publisher. Another thing to remember is that journals will typically not solicit a publication. Most publishers would advertise broadly via listserv, colleagues, announcements, etc, but unless there is a personal relationship, very rarely to a specific person from a specific person.
Other sources that assist in identifying predatory publishers.
Sherpa/Romeo - RoMEO is a searchable database of publisher's policies regarding the self- archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories.
Google Maps - Look at the street view of a publishers address using Google Maps. Does it look like the type of office you would expect a publisher to operate from?
Here are some steps to follow that can help identify a predatory publisher:
If you need additional help feel free to check out the Think! Check! Submit! guidance - see in particular the Checklist - which will help you assess whether a journal operates according to proper scholarly practice. Do this before you submit your manuscript.
You can also contact a librarian at any point for assistance!