Avoiding predatory journals and publishers
An unfortunate side-effect of the rise of Open Access has been the proliferation of predatory journals and publishers. These publishers accept as many articles as possible in order to make as much money as possible. The journals provide little or no peer-review or editorial service. As a result the quality of the articles they publish is poor. Avoid citing or publishing in these journals.
How to spot a predatory journal
When assessing a journal, there are many things to consider. The following is not an exhaustive list of questions to ask but will help you begin to determine its status. The more of these questions you can say ‘no’ to about a specific journal, the more sceptical about it you should be:
- Do you or your colleagues know the journal or have you read any articles in the journal before?
- Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the journal website along with their contact details?
- Is the journal clear about its peer review process?
- Are articles from the journal indexed in well-known databases such as Web of Science or Scopus?
- Is the journal website clear about what the publishing fees are, what they are for and when they will be charged?
- Are the journal’s editorial board members well-known researchers from the field?
- Is the journal/publisher a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishing Association (OASPA)?
- If the journal is open access, is it listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?
Where should I publish?
Working out which journals to avoid is just the start. Reputable journals themselves vary considerably in terms of reputation, prestige and ranking, so you should also take a look at the guide on which journal to publish in.