As of now, searching for questions containing the following words mainly used in the context of disreputable publishers yields the following number of results:

Now, not all of these questions are actually about disreputable publishers and the search results are not disjunct, but I consider it safe to assume that there are more than 20 questions about this subject without counting them.

There is not one keyword shared amongst all questions about this subject – some examples lacking the respective keywords: predatory, scam, fake, shady. Therefore it is difficult to access all our information about this subject and one might easily miss something.

I therefore suggest that we create a tag for such questions.

Should we agree on this: What should this tag be called?

  • 3
    Please post your suggested tag as an answer, so that people can vote on the question (indicating agreement or disagreement with the need for the tag) and the answer (approval or disapproval for your proposed tag name) separately.
    – ff524
    Jul 31, 2014 at 20:28
  • As there seems to be no big opposition, I added the tag to the first two questions (as soon as the edits are approved). To avoid massive bumping to the front page, I will apply this tag slowly. See also here.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Aug 5, 2014 at 17:12

3 Answers 3


I suggest as name, which has the advantage of comprising all predatory, scam, fake, shady. (Not every shady or predatory publisher is a total fake or scam and fake and scam publishers are more than just shady.)

On the other hand, it has the disadvantage of not being frequently used in this context.

  • I assume this is also meant to include fake conferences? Aug 9, 2014 at 19:43
  • @DavidKetcheson: As long as they come together with publications (as it is the default in, e.g., computer science, AFAIK) or hosted by a disreputable publisher: Definetely. I would not have a problem with including other cases (if there are any) under this tag, but somebody else might have. After all, there are a lot of parallels to expect.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Aug 9, 2014 at 20:59
  • @DavidKetcheson: To add to this: In my research for questions for this tag, I have not found any question about a fake conference (or similar) that was neither hosted by a dubious publisher nor connected with a publication.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Aug 11, 2014 at 11:31

The current accepted answer strikes a nice middle ground with , but it has the disadvantage that few people posting questions to which the tag will apply will search for such a tag. I propose setting up synonyms for this tag, along the lines of ,,.

These will be activated when users start typing "fake..." or "predatory..." in the tag selection box, and will guide them to the appropriate tag. For example, typing "pay" currently guides users to the accepted synonym, :

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These synonyms can be set up by popular vote, but the easiest and cleanest way to get them going (and in particular to avoid questions getting tagged with the subsidiary tags, which changes the behaviour (example) is via moderator action - if this is OK by the community, of course.


I might recommend or , as I would think that questions about degree mills and other shady actions could fit into the same category.

  • Seems like that would overlap a little too much with "ethics"...
    – ff524
    Jul 31, 2014 at 20:28
  • 1
    Also, I would expect questions under disreputable actions or practices about such actions being commited by the asker or fellow academics. Relatedly, this would include such topics as cheating and plagiarism and make the new tag too broad.
    – Wrzlprmft Mod
    Jul 31, 2014 at 20:36
  • 1
    I should have written that a little more clearly. I still think diploma mills are not that different from predatory publishers—maybe disreputable-companies fits the bill?
    – aeismail
    Jul 31, 2014 at 20:40
  • We appear to have two questions about diploma mills. I'm not sure need to include them in this tag, if doing so will make it less obvious what the tag is about.
    – ff524
    Jul 31, 2014 at 20:49
  • If you want to bundle disreputable publishers and diploma mills together, how about not-worth-the-paper ?
    – Ben Voigt
    Aug 8, 2014 at 6:26

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