This guide has been updated and incorporated into the "Publishing Your Research" guide (link below). Update your bookmarks! This guide will be removed August 31, 2020.
Received an email lately encouraging you to publish with a new exciting sounding journal?
Before you send your manuscript, take a few minutes to check up on that journal.
Predatory publishers exploit the open access author-pays business model for their own profit and conduct little or no peer review or editing work.
Be very cautious of publishers that appear out of nowhere and express interest in publishing your recently completed thesis or dissertation or conference presentation.
This guide aims to identify a number of factors to consider when choosing or evaluating a journal for publication.
"No single person or source is equipped to bear the responsibility of being the ultimate authority on what constitutes as a best (or poor) practice scholarly publishing outlet." - Dr Andy Pleffer & Susan Shrubb
Open Access: the users’ rights consist of “a free, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual right of access to, and a license to copy, use, distribute, transmit and display the work publicly and to make and distribute derivative works, in any digital medium for any responsible purpose,” as well as “the right to make small numbers of printed copies for their personal use.”
Simply put, open access means that information is available free of charge; barrier free.
There are two broad categories of Open Access publishing.
Why does open access matter?
Public funding agencies such as Tri-Council in Canada and National Institutes of Health have implemented policies that require funded researcher to make their articles open access and fully usable by the public.
It isn't cut and dry to recognize a predatory publisher. It requires that the author or researcher investigates the journal and publishers. Some criteria to consider are:
Ultimately, it is your reputation at stake. Do you want your name associated a sketchy publisher?
If you are ever in doubt about a publisher, ask your liaison librarian for help.
Community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals – “Whitelist”. Prefers to use the term “questionable”, rather than predatory.
DOAJ changed policies a 2 ½ years ago to apply more rigorous criteria in their review of open access journals to be included in the directory. Asked publishers to “re-apply” and get reviewed for inclusion in the directory. Being included in DOAJ means that a journal has passed up to four stages of independent and objective manual review
Two categories that indicate higher levels of compliance to best practices
Green tick = accepted after March 2014 / higher level of compliance to best practices and publishing standards
Orange Seal = A mark of certification for open access journals, awarded by DOAJ to journals that achieve the high level of compliance
No tick = in the process of re-applying under new criteria
CAUTION – predatory publishers will advertise that they are in DOAJ, and that they are indexed in reputable databases, this must be verified
Conduct a search in library database for articles that are similar or related to your research. Which journals do those articles appear in?
What publications do you turn to for finding quality research?
A comprehensive rubric and scoring sheet developed by librarians at Loyola Marymount University based on the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing by the DOAJ. https://digitalcommons.lmu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1041&context=librarian_pubs
A checklist or questions that researchers should be asking themselves when approached by a publishers. http://thinkchecksubmit.org/
Librarians can help guide you in evaluating the authenticity of a publisher. Contact your liaison librarian for more help.