There are predatory publishers aiming to tap into the scholarly publishing and communications money flow. This is a guide for assessing the credibility and reliability of publishers and journals when publishing open access.
Trustworthy or predatory? How to assess an open access journal.
There are predatory publishers aiming to tap into the scholarly publishing and communications money flow. They are present within the business of books and journals, as well as among conference organisers and providers of services for research metrics (quantitative methods for evaluating research).
With regards to publishing, the predatory publishers mainly focus on appearing to be good options for open access publishing, since it is easier to make money from publication fees than from subscription fees. A publication fee is a fee that the author or the seat of learning in some cases pay beforehand when publishing open access, for example an Article processing charge (APC).
In all likelihood researchers will regularly face attempts by obvious charlatans, for example e-mail correspondence where a company would like to publish a short article as a book - for a small fee. However, there are other, much more skilled, predatory publishers in the market. Because of this, it is always wise to examine a channel for research output before deciding to publish within it.
As research data are increasingly considered to be research output in its own right, it is also important to be vigilant regarding publishing platforms for data.
There are a few steps to take in order to make sure that the chosen publishing channel is likely to be reliable. The guide below is primarily written with journals or publishers in mind, however the principles of it can be applied on other forms of scholarly and scientific communications as well.
In principle it is important to:
Find and make use of quality control already carried out by reliable services
Keep a critical mind with regard to sources
Use own professional network
Use own judgement
Read more about critical assessment of journals at "Think. Check. Submit".
Make sure at least one of the following four criteria is fulfilled:
The journal is included in the DOAJ index
The publisher is a member of OASPA
The latest issue of the journal is listed in an index that performs quality checks before inclusion, e.g. Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed. Such resources can be found among the library databases. Important: Make sure to check this in the service itself, do not only trust information given on the journal web page!
The journal has a Journal Impact Factor and/or a Scimago Journal Rank (which has not been discontinued)