The effects of growth temperature, InAs deposition thickness and deposition rate on the areal density, size, uniformity and spatial distribution of self-organized InAs nanoscale islands grown on exact and vicinal (100) InP substrates by metalorganic vapor-phase epitaxy are investigated in detail by AFM. At 500°C, the island density is found to increase as the InAs deposition thickness is increased, while the average island size decreases slightly. At growth temperatures above 500°C, larger inhomogenous islands also appear. Decreasing the deposition rate increases the island density and substrate coverage. The unintentional As/P exchange is found to have a significant influence on island formation by producing excess material for the islands. Low-temperature photoluminescence from the recombination of carriers in the buried InAs islands is observed in the 1.4–1.8 μm spectral region.