Guidelines for Evaluating Journals and Publishers

About the Journal

  • Discover peer-reviewed journals using library search tools
  • Examine the aims and scope: are they appropriate for your research?
  • Review past issues: does the content look topical and credible? Are the authors known to you?
  • If open access is it registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) The DOAJ vets journals before listing them.
  • Does the website provide complete contact information: email, street address, working phone number?
  • Does it have a valid online ISSN?
  • Journals are disseminated via research databases (academic abstracting and indexing services) such as JSTOR, PubMed, EBSCOhost, ProQuest (even Google Scholar). A journal website should say where it is indexed.
  • Is it indexed in the places it says it is?
  • Has it been assigned ranking(s)? E.g. impact factor
  • SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) Indicator
  • Journal Citation Reports (JCR)
  • Journal Metrics by Scopus
  • Are its policies on peer review, open access, copyright publicly available?
  • If it charges publication fees, are they clearly stated and explained?
  • What are the copyright policies? Will you be able to preserve copyright over your work? If you are required to meet a public access mandate to share your research, are the copyright policies compatible? In many open access journals, authors retain full copyright to their work and give the journal a “non-exclusive” right to publish the work.

About the Publisher

  • Where is it located? Use SHERPA/RoMEO to discover details about publishers, including country of origin.
  • Website, Stable web page
  • Basic contact info: publisher, contact details, editorial team, editorial/advisory board
  • Description: scope and focus, publication frequency, author guidelines
  • Fee policy clearly stated
  • Free of grammatical errors and typos
  • Is there a digital preservation policy in place?
  • If open access, is it registered with the OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association)? Many of the largest open access publishers are members of the OASPA, though there are legitimate open access publishers that do not belong.
  • Publisher’s permissions/ sharing policy available on website? Via SHERPA/RoMEO?
  • Does it meet the Criteria for Evaluating Scholarly Publishers (PDF)?
  • If open access, does it meet the Criteria for Evaluating Scholarly Open Access Publishers (PDF)?

Suggested credible journals

Suggested Credible Journals

Guidelines for Evaluating Journals and Publishers

Predatory Journals

These are identified by Jeffrey Beall (2010) as deceitful open access publishers who publishing articles with little or no real peer review. It is an exploitative academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals.

Characteristics of Predatory Journals

According to Dinaharan, University of Johannesburg, predatory journals have the following characteristics

  1. Emphasizing on open access fee 
  2. Not listed in Scopus or Thomson Reuters web of science database
  3. Promising acceptance in fewer days
  4. Not subjecting the submitted manuscripts to peer review process
  5. Bombarding your email, again and again, begging for submission
  6. Showing unrealistic impact factors (>2 to 10) for a journal which does not have back volumes for at least last five years 
  7. Having the same name as that of some established journals causing confusion for authors
  8. Do not have proper DOI (Digital Object Identifier). If you put the DOI in the website, it will not redirect to journal link where article is published
  9. Appointing fake or name shake editorial board
  10. Advertising too much for "Call for papers"
  11. Overseeing or bypassing plagiarism check before acceptance 
  12. The scope of the journal is ambiguous accepting multidisciplinary topics for publication

To view a list of all possible predatory journals and more information, open here.

Also open here to see updated and original Jeffrey Beall list of Predatory Journals.


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