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Publishing Strategy

Tags: English, General

Questionable publishers and journals: Control strategies

Questionable publishers and journals: Control strategies

A first step you can take to verify the quality of the publisher or journal is to see if the publisher is a member of quality controlling organization or if the journal is indexed in a quality-controlled database. If the publisher or journal is not included in the sources below, it doesn't automatically mean that the publisher or journal is predatory or questionable. What you can do then is to look closer at them from the viewpoint of the control questions presented below.  

Quality controlling databases and organizations

Journal databases

These two databases have a quality procedure for the journals they index. They are also looking at other aspects which don't deal with the quality aspect but rather with their impact on the research community in the form of citations. This means that there are many journals of quality that are not indexed in the databases. However, if you find the journal in any of these databases you don't necessarily need to go further with the quality control.







  • Beall's List of Predatory Journals and Publishers
    Jeffrey Beall is a librarian from the USA who had a list of predatory publishers and journals under the name Scholarly Open Access but which was taken down at the beginning of 2017. The list is still available under new management and includes continuous additions as well.
  • Stop Predatory Journals
    This list of predatory journals, publishers, and metrics (like fake impact factors etc.) is also built upon Jeffrey Beall's list with continuous additions.


Questions you should ask yourself when you check the quality of a journal

If you haven't found the journal or publisher through the sources above it doesn't mean that they are not legitimate. It might be a new journal and the editor hasn't yet applied for membership or indexing in DOAJ. Presented below is a number of questions you may pose when checking the journal, primarily through its website.

  • Has the publisher or journal any of the characteristics mentioned in the earlier section (Questionable publishers and journals: Characteristics)?
  • Do any of your colleagues know about the journal?
  • Have you read any articles from the journal before?
  • Do you recognize anyone in the editorial board?
  • Do the members of the board mention their board membership on their profile pages?
  • Do you recognize any of the article authors?
  • Is it easy to identify and contact the publisher or editor?
  • Is it stated which type of peer review they use?
  • Are the articles indexed in any of the databases you use yourself and which your potential readers might use as well?
  • Is it clear if there are any author fees included (APC - Article Processing Charges) and when they should be paid?


Think. Check. Submit.

A picture of Think. Check. Submit.

Think. Check. Submit presents a checklist as the one above with questions you should ask yourself before submitting your manuscript. The resource has been developed by, among others, COPE, DOAJ, OASPA, INASP etc.