Answered By: Monique Ritchie
Last Updated: 05 Oct, 2017     Views: 1620

It is sometimes hard to distinguish between a genuine journal or publisher and a 'predatory' one. Some predatory journals and publishers are known to send out bulk emails to potential authors soliciting material for publication, often targeting early career researchers and research students by offering to publish dissertations or theses for free. Others seek to generate income by charging authors and institutions for open access publication and appear to be genuine by choosing very similar titles to established journals and populating them with freely available open access articles in their titles.

You should follow the Think! Check! Submit! guidance - see in particular the Checklist - which will help you assess whether a journal operates according to proper scholarly practice. There are steps you should take to verify the credentials of a prospective journal and publisher before submitting your manuscript.

If you have concerns about whether a journal or publisher is genuine or is right for you, please contact the Scholarly Communications Office for advice.

Resources for checking whether a journal title is genuine

Genuine journals should have a named editor and editorial board, with full and traceable contact details, be peer-reviewed, and publish information on charges, procedures, copyright and licences openly on their website. For other resources which can help you check whether a publisher is genuine, see the list and links below.

  • Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) - list of verified open access journals which meet the DOAJ's criteria.

  • Thomson Reuters InCites™ Journal Citation Reports (JCR) - a good source for checking whether a journal is reputable, and reviewing its impact factor to help you assess its academic quality. For access, go to the Library databases web page.

Resources for checking whether a publisher is genuine

A genuine publisher is generally expected to follow basic publishing good practice standards and may belong to one or more of the following:

  • Are they a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)? Members are expected to follow a code of conduct for journal editors and are provided with access to publications ethics training. Search by member (editor-in-chief) or by publisher to view a list of journals.

  • Are they a member of the International Association of STM (Scientific, Technical and Medical) Publishers? Members publish over 60% of all journal articles and are expected to follow high professional and ethical standards.

  • If they are an open access publisher, are they a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)? Members are bound by a code of conduct and membership criteria based on standard publishing practices and transparency.

Beall's list is an unofficial list of potential predatory publishers and journals compiled by Jeffrey Beall, a librarian based at University of Colorado, Denver. However, inclusion may not necessarily mean that a publisher or journal isn't genuine, as some have been erroneously linked or may be newly established and so should be used with caution.

For further information on choosing a journal or publisher, download our guide 'Choosing a genuine journal publisher', linked below.