Received an email lately encouraging you to publish with a new exciting sounding journal? Before you submit your manuscript, take a few minutes to check up on that journal. It might be an invitation from a 'predatory journal'.
Predatory journals act as legitimate Open Access journals and charge Article Processing Costs for publication without providing proper editorial services and peer review. Publishing in these kind of journals can cause reputational damage for academics.
Sharing research results with the world is key to the progress of your discipline and career but with so many publications, how can you be sure you can trust a particular journal? The University Library offers some tips on recognizing these 'predatory journals':
- Is the journal included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)? This is a white list for reliable Open Access journals. All journals have been screened before being included in the list.
- Simply google the journal. There may be other researchers who have had (bad) experiences with the journal.
- Do you recognize the editorial board? Are they reputable researchers? Check out some of their publications. Check if the same contact details stated on other websites, such as the website of their university. Do the editors mention the journal on their own websites?
- Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses? Is this sufficient for peer review and revision? Also pay attention to the lead time between submitting and accepting articles.
- Is it clear what fees will be charged? Does the journal site explain what these fees are for and when they will be charged?
- Check if the publisher is a member of COPE or OASPA.
- Check whether the impact factor stated on the publisher's site is also stated in the Journal Citation Reports.
- Check the journal’s contact information. Can you reach the publisher by phone, email, and post? Can you verify the postal address?
- Review some of the articles published by the journal and evaluate their quality. Is this of the level you would expect in your field?