Answered By: Monique Ritchie
Last Updated: 16 Mar, 2022     Views: 8093

Open access publishing fees can amount to up to £4000 for a single article, therefore attracting the attention of those who wish to exploit authors and institutions. Yet, it's sometimes hard to distinguish between a genuine journal or publisher and a 'predatory' one. Some appear to be genuine, while new publishers or journals wcan appear to be predatory.  

There have been a number of guides to help authors assess a publisher or journal's status, such as Beall's list (no longer maintained), but there is no single reliable or comprehensive source of information.

The Think Check Submit campaign was developed by publishers and information professional bodies to help researchers identify trusted publishing sources.



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

Some 'predatory' journals and publishers are known to employ aggressive tactics when soliciting material for publication, often targeting early career researchers and doctoral researchers by offering to 'publish' dissertations or theses for free, but do not offer genuine publishing services or peer review to academic standards.

Others may emulate existing publishing models, by charging authors and institutions for open access publication and appear to be genuine by choosing very similar titles to established journals, populated with freely available open access articles in their titles.

If you have concerns about whether a journal or publisher is genuine or is right for you, please contact Open Access for advice. 

Resources to help you assess whether a journal 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.

  • Clarivate Journal Citation Reports (JCR) - research metrics such as the Impact Factor (IF) are not used to assess research at the University, as these are flawed, but these are generated over time, and can help you judge whether a journal has been established for some time. However, they should only be used alongside other qualitative checks. It is easy for a predatory journal to generate a high IF simply by republishing already published research. For access, go to the Library databases web page.

Resources to help you assess 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.

Download our guide 'Choosing a genuine journal publisher', linked below.