Evaluating Journals

With shifting mandates and journal policies, it is certainly possible that some researchers will be looking for new places to publish their work. The landscape is filled with potential journals, both OA and subscription-based, with varying degrees of trustworthiness and impact.

Looking for a journal in which to submit research can be stressful. This guide is intended to help with the process, whether you're a fresh graduate student looking to be published for the first time or a tenured professor looking for greener pastures.

Finding an Appropriate Journal

There are a number of different criteria for evaluating the legitimacy of an academic journal. This isn't just worth knowing for the possibility of encountering a predatory publisher, but also in determining the quality of a journal's content.

One excellent place to start is with the resource, Think Check Submit. It's a collaborative product from coalition of scholarly communications groups to help determine a journal's credentials. It serves as an excellent starting point.

Additionally, you may want to consider the following criteria:

Evaluating a Journal's Communication:

  • Respectable spelling, grammar, punctuation?
  • Is journal description well-crafted? Does it display an advanced understanding of the matter?
  • Is contact information is given? Does it appear complete and credible?
  • Are the editor and editorial board listed? Are these recognized experts in the field?
  • Does the journal have an ISSN listed?
  • Does the journal publish regularly? Are there a decent number of articles in each issue? Issues and articles easy to find and access on the website?
  • Is the journal peer-reviewed? Does it use accepted peer-review processes for this discipline?
  • Does the journal site clearly indicate whether APCs (author processing charges) will be applied for accepted manuscripts.

Potential Tools for Evaluation:

You can use whichever of these tools are at your disposal at your institution.

Check for peer review info, e.g.:

Check for respected metrics (research any others that are listed on the website to assess credibility):

Check for affiliation with respected industry associations, e.g.:

Search the web to find any potentially alarming information about this journal or publisher, including:

  • Discussions about this specific journal (if possible, discussions between researchers in this field — their opinion may carry more weight);
  • Discussions about the same publisher but not necessarily the same journal;

[Web of Science]:webofknowledge.com

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