An unfortunate side-effect of the growth of high-quality open access journals is the proliferation of ‘predatory’ open access publishers. These publishers essentially accept as many articles as possible in order to make as much money as possible. The journals provide little or no peer-review or editorial service and, as a result, the quality of the articles they publish is poor. It is not always easy to spot a predatory journal but there are some tell-tale signs to look out for.
When assessing a journal, the following list will help you to determine its status. The more of these questions you can say ‘no’ to about a specific journal, the more sceptical about it you should be:
- Do you or your colleagues know the journal or have you read any articles in the journal before?
- Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the journal website along with their contact details?
- Is the journal clear about its peer review process?
- Are articles from the journal indexed in well-known databases such as Web of Science or Scopus?
- Is the journal website clear about what the publishing fees are, what they are for and when they will be charged?
- Are the journal’s editorial board members renowned and well-known researchers from the field?
- Is the journal/publisher a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers’ Association (OASPA)?
- If the journal is open access, is it listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)?