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Scholarly Communications

Journal Quality

Below are some resources that can help you analyze the quality of a particular journal

Quality Metrics

Where is the Journal Listed?

Check to see if the journal is listed in one (or more) of the following major databases:

  • Web of Science for journals spanning the humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields (select "Publication Name" from the drop down menu next to the search box)
  • SciFinder for journals in Chemistry and related fields (select "Journal" under the References bar)
  • PubMed for life sciences, biomedical, clinical, and public/community health journals (choose "Journal" from the drop down menu next to the search box)
  • JSTOR for journals spanning the arts, humanities, social sciences, and sciences (scroll down and search using the "Publication Title" search box)

Worldwide Subscribers

WorldCat lets you see how many libraries/institutions across the world catalog OA journal

Identify & Evaluate Journals

How can you identify journals to publish your work in? To start, look at the journals you read, that your colleagues read and publish in, and at who you cite in your work. Is there a pattern to those journals?

When considering a journal as a potential place to publish, ask yourself:

  • Does the subject matter covered in the journal match your scholarship?
  • Do the types of articles published and article length guidelines match with what you want to submit?
  • Are you or your colleagues familiar with the journal? Look at its affiliation and publisher, and the editorial board and authors who publish in it
  • What is the reputation of the journal? Look at the Impact Factor!
  • Are articles peer-reviewed?
  • Does the journal have an ISSN, and do articles have DOIs?
  • Is the journal indexed in a service that you use?
  • Who is the audience and what is the readership of the journal?
  • What are the journal’s copyright policies? Are there fees to publish? Open access options?
  • What is the typical timeframe from submission to publication?

You can also look at the Think Check Submit checklist, use a journal evaluation tool [pdf], or talk to the library! We can help identify potential journals related to your field, and offer a number of tools that may help you locate an appropriate journal.

Predatory Publishing

Is it Predatory? A Check-list:

Signs a journal or publisher might be "predatory":

  • The journal is not listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • It's not listed in Ulrichs (Library login required), which is an authoritative source on publisher information, including Open Access titles
  • The publisher is not a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)
  • It's not widely available within major databases (more information about this in the Analyzing Journal Quality Section above)
  • * Work with your Librarian to investigate this more


Is it Predatory? What to Look for on Publisher's Websites

When you visit the website for the journal, look for these red flags:

  • You don't recognize previously published authors or members of the editorial board
  • The journal isn't affiliated with a University or scholarly organization you are familiar with
  • You can't easily identify if they have author processing fees and/or how much they cost
  • The journal doesn't appear professional - look for an impact factor, an ISSN, DOIs for individual articles, and easy to find contact information

Article Processing Charges

Article processing charges (APCs), were created as one way for a publisher to meet author or funder demand for open access and at the same time generate the income required to cover publishing costs (and maintain or increase profit margins). Mostly these fees are paid by universities or funding agencies via grants. Charges can be $500-$4,000, or more.

Some publishers may waive the fee if asked for those in developing economies - no harm in asking. Also, some scholars may not be associated with a university or may be early career without resources for covering these charges.

OA advocates generally object to hybrid journals where only the articles whose authors have paid their APCs are open, (instead of the whole journal) and the rest of the articles are then toll, that is, by subscription. This practice is called "double-dipping" as institutions may land up paying for the content more than once. APCs are determined after an article is accepted for publication/post-peer-review, and should not be confused with submission fees.

APCs were meant to level the playing field particularly for scholars in disciplines where grant funding is unavailable, or for junior faculty without grants. It is questionable if shifting the burden to authors or their universities to pay for open access publishing is a sustainable model, or in the spirit of equitable access and worldwide dissemination of research results.

Compact for Open-Access Publishing Equity (COPE) was an early promoter for the creation of open access article publishing funds at universities to cover reasonable article processing fees for articles that have been accepted for publication in eligible open-access, peer-reviewed journals when funds from any other source were unavailable.

Beasley, Gerald. Article processing charges: A new route to open access? ELPUB 2016: the 20th International Conference on Electronic Publishing Positioning and Power in Academic Publishing: Players, Agents and Agendas 7–9 June 2016 in Göttingen, Germany. [questions whether APCs are the right model for changing the scholarly publishing to be more open and equitable]

Article Analyzers & Journal Suggesters

Journal Directories