Table 1

Avoiding Predatory OA Journals22,23,25

  • ■ Google the journal's title to see if the first hit is the journal's web site or a blog warning of fraud.

  • ■ Check to see if the journal or publisher appears in Beall's List of Predatory Publishers.25

  • ■ Carefully review the journal web site for its editor and editorial board members. If in doubt, consider contacting editors to ask if they are aware of the journal.

  • ■ Consider how transparent the journal web site is about author fees and peer review.

  • ■ Find out if the journal has actually published any papers. If so, read several to assess their quality.

  • ■ Contact past authors to ask about their experiences.

  • ■ Consult Journal Citation Reports18 to see whether the journal has an IF or similar citation index and how high it is.

  • ■ Check to see if the journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals.28

  • ■ Check to see if the journal is listed in mainstream library journal databases. (If it is new, it may not yet be listed.)

  • ■ Check to see if the publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association,29 which is in the early stages of standardization.

  • ■ Be suspicious of overly broad interdisciplinary journals. It is unlikely that an editor will have the expertise to find competent reviewers across a range of scholarship that is too broad.

  • ■ Check that a journal's peer review process is clearly described.

  • ■ Be suspicious of journals claiming extremely rapid peer review (e.g., one week). Few high-quality journals can provide such expedited peer reviews.

  • ■ Check that the publisher provides verifiable contact information, including address, on the journal's web site. (Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.)

  • ■ Confirm that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.

  • ■ Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit articles or become an editorial board member.

  • ■ Seek guidance from a reputable librarian with knowledge of OA publishing.