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 guidelines

  • Think. Check. Submit is a checklist to help you identify trustworthy journals and publishers.
  • Have (many of) your trusted peers published in this journal? Who are the editors of the journal?
  • Does a learned society sponsor the journal?
  • Is the journal a member of COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)? Does it adhere to the Core practices?
  • Is the publisher or journal one of the signatories of the Transparency & Openness Promotion Initiatief (TOP)?
  • Did the publisher or journal sign the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA)?
  • Does Web of Science or VABB list the journal? 
  • For researchers in life sciences: JANE (Journal/Author Name Estimator) suggests possible journals to publish in on the basis of your article title or abstract.

Open access journals

Some additional sources to help you choose qualitative open access journals:

  • Is the journal listed on The Directory of Open Access Journals, DOAJ? DOAJ tests every journal against the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.
  • Is the publisher a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA) and consequently does it fulfill the membership criteria?
  • Is the open access journal popular within your field of research? You can check this by using Web of Science: search for a topic in Web of Science,  click on the "Open Access" limiter (choose gold or bronze) on the left hand side of the screen with search results, analyse the search results to see which open access journals are most popular within your area of research.

Peer reviewed Open Access Journals are usually as reliable as typical toll access journals. However, charging APC's is an attractive business model that draws some online publishers to fraud. So-called predatory journals want 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 journals, and to do an extra quality check on publications in these journals when they are listed in a CV.

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Last modified Sept. 14, 2021, 4:44 p.m.