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Guide: Assessing credibility of journals and publishers

Trustworthy or predatory? How to assess an open access journal.

Remember to:

  • make use of quality control already carried out by reliable services (DOAJ, OASPA etc.)
  • not only rely on the journal’s own information or links
  • ake sure the information is up-to-date (sometimes legitimate journals are bought by predatory publishers)

Make sure at least one of the following four criteria is fulfilled:

  • The journal is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)
  • The publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)
  • The journal is listed in an index that performs quality checks before inclusion, e.g. Web of Science, Scopus, PubMed. (N.B. check this in the service itself, do not only trust the 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)


  • Have you heard of the journal, or have any of your colleagues? Is it read by your peers?
  • Do you recognize anyone on the Editorial Board, and do they confirm that they are actually on that board (on their website or when you ask them)?
  • After reading a few articles, how do you judge their quality and the quality of e.g. proof reading, layout, etcetera?

More guidance

The library recommend the resources for critical assessment found at "Think. Check. Submit." (for journals) and "Think. Check. Attend." (for conferences).

Still uncertain about whether to trust a journal with your research?

Contact the library and our specialist on open access will help you. Either book professional training and researcher consultations on send us your question throught the library contact form. If you use the contact form, select the option "Publishing, theses and research data".

Book professional training and researcher consultations

Contact the library

Book professional training and researcher consultations
Book professional training and researcher consultations

Training and consultation sessions for researchers and staff at Umeå university and Västerbotten County

Contact the library
Contact the library

Welcome with all kinds of questions related to the library.