In 2014, a Harvard researcher submitted an article entitled, "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs? The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals." No, this was not part of his regular scholarly agenda, to be followed by a study of whether Trix were indeed for kids. Instead, Dr. Shrime was testing suspicious journals and their practices. He wrote the article by using a random text generator (i.e., the article is complete gibberish, though the bibliography references real articles), created fake co-authors with phony credentials, and submitted the article to 37 journals. 17 journals offered to publish the article in return for a $500 "processing fee." Read more about Shrime's sting operation, including the entire Cocoa Puffs article, here.
Use these to guide you to more reputable Open Access sources.
Watchlists and Review Sources
1. Adopt a "don't call me, I'll call you" approach. Bad faith publishers get their reputation in part by their aggressive recruiting methods. Find your own publication venues unless you are contacted by an editor of a familiar publication.
2. Use directories and watchlists such as the ones listed on this page.
3. Ask a colleague or your subject librarian. Your colleagues may already be familiar with the pros and cons of a specific journal. Your librarian can help you vet a particular publisher.