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Researchers: Where to publish: scholarly publishing and avoiding predatory journals

Open Access fund

Remember to visit the Research blog for information about Research and Development (RDS)'S Open Access fund, which can help if an Article Processing Charge (APC) applies.

Targeting quality journals


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There are several checks that can be done to ensure the quality of a journal:

  • review the bibliometrics of a journal
  • go to the journal's webpage to find out about their editiorial team and peer-review process
  • check whether a journal is peer-reviewed (also known as refereed), they might also give an indication of how long they might take to get back to you
  • ensure that the editorial stance of a journal matches your methodology or research interests
  • read articles from that journal to ascertain their style and quality
  • check their acceptance rates (sometimes mentioned in their webpages) to find out how many articles get accepted (too many might mean that the peer-review process is not rigorous enough; too few might mean that your article might take too long to get accepted and published)
  • be wary of predatory publishers

How to identify reputable publishers

  • Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including address, on the journal site. Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.
  • Check that a journal's editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. Contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
  • Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.
  • Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members.
  • Read some of the journal's published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experience.
  • Check that a journal's peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct.
  • Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals ( or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (
  • Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.

Butler, D.,2013.  Investigating journals: the dark side of publishing. Nature [online] 495, 432-435

Buyer beware: A checklist to identify reputable publishers

How to avoid Predatory journals

Beware Predatory Open Access publishers!

REF 2021 stipulates that all journal articles and conference proceedings with an ISSN, accepted for publication after 1st April 2016, should be made Open Access within 3 months from acceptance in order to be eligible.

  • How do you know which open access journals NOT to publish in?
  • Is the journal you have chosen a reputable academic one with a robust peer-reviewing system?
  • Does it have an impact factor?
  • Have you checked DOAJ for yourself?

  • Look for trusted journals using the "think, check, submit" checklists
  • Look at the American Journal Experts checklist
  • Use Stop Predatory Journals an information professionals' community successor to Beall's list . Be aware that this listing may include new journals so use with care.


How to spot a predatory journal

Predatory Conferences

Think.Check.Attend.  is an initiative that aims to guide and assist researchers and scholars to judge the legitimacy and academic credentials of conferences in order to help them decide whether to or not attend…

Caltech have produced a very useful guide to questionable conferences based on Beall's list.

See also the article in Times Higher Education 12 January 2017 : Warning: conmen and shameless scholars operate in this area.  James McCrostie was shocked to discover the extent of ‘predatory conferences’, but even more shocked by those abetting them.

Useful guide by Eaton, S. E. (2018). Avoiding Predatory Journals and Questionable Conferences: A Resource Guide, CC BY NC SA


Binoculars Looking Man Discovery People Vi

In order to ensure higher impact, your publications must be easy to find.

It is important that you supply a list of keywords related to your publication; these keywords should also be used in the title and the abstract as most searches done electronically look for words within titles and abstracts.

We suggest that you test your keywords to find out what kinds of publications they yield: if the publications that appear under those keywords are very different from yours, you might need to consider adjusting your keywords. Explore our advanced searching guide for more information about searching databases.

Also make sure that your manage your identity, so that you can correctly claim publications and citations.

The peer-review process


In high-quality journals, articles submitted by authors usually go through a process of peer review: this means that articles get reviewed by experts in the field before they get published. It is rare for articles to get accepted the first time, there will usually be amendments to be made.

There are two kinds of peer review:

  • single blind: where the reviewer remains anonymous
  • double blind: where both the reviewer and the author remain anonymous

Each publisher might have slightly different peer-review processes; however, it will normally consist of the following steps:‚Äč

  • submission of article
  • journal editor assesses the article
  • article gets sent to reviewers
  • reviews get assessed by editor of journal
  • article gets accepted (with or without amendments) or rejected

Remember that books might also be subjected to a peer-review process.

Here is a selection of peer-review guidelines from some of the most important publishers:

Remember to deposit your publication to BURO as soon as it gets accepted,