Assess the quality of a scholarly journal

Researchers can choose from tens of thousands of scholarly journals to disseminate their research results.  It is not always easy to find out which ones are reliable.

General rules

  • Think. Check. Submit is a checklist to help you identify the right journal for your research.
  • Does Web of Science list the journal? Does it have an impact factor?
  • Does VABB list the journal?
  • Is the journal a member of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)? Members adhere to the Core practices
  • Does a learned society sponsor the journal?
  • Is the publisher or journal one of the signatories of the Transparency & Openness Promotion Initiatief (TOP)?
  • Have (many of) your trusted peers published in this journal?

Open access journals

Peer reviewed Open Access Journals are as reliable as typical toll access journals. However, charging APC's is an attractive business model that draws some online publishers to fraud. There have been several accounts of journals whose sole aim is to gain money from authors without offering the service promised, namely peer review, safeguarding research integrity or disseminating the publication via suited channels. These journals are called predatory journals. Ghent University advises her researchers not to respond to requests to publish, review or advertise from such questionable organisations, and to do an extra quality check on publications in these journals when they are listed in a CV.
Some sources to help you choose qualitative open access journals:

Specific disciplines

  • Specifically for the social sciences and humanities: is the journal accepted in VABB-SHW?
  • Life sciences: JANE (Journal/Author Name Estimator) suggests possible journals to publish in on the basis of your article title or abstract.

Extra information

Comparing VABB-SHW (version VII) with Beall’s lists and DOAJ, Linda Sīle, Raf Guns and Tim C.E. Engels.

During the Open Access Week 2018 we dedicated a session to the quality of journals. Take a look at the presentation used or watch the recording of the session (1hr)

More tips

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Last modified Feb. 4, 2020, 5:42 p.m.