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Predatory Publishing: Analyzing Journals

Evaluation Tools


​Cabell's Predatory Journals registry highlights publishers who have been confirmed to use deceptive practices.

COPE provides advice to editors and publishers on publication ethics and advises them on how to handle research and publication misconduct.

Search for a journals impact factor. (Thomson Reuters)

Rele, Shilpa; Kennedy, Marie; and Blas, Nataly, "Journal Evaluation Tool" (2017). LMU Librarian Publications & Presentations. 40.

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association's principles of transparency and best practices for journals and publishers.

Retraction Watch tracks article retractions. In the process, it sometimes highlights unethical publishing practices.

RoMEO is a searchable database of publisher's policies regarding the self- archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories.

Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted journals for their research. It is a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

Qualities of Reputable Journals

There is no single checklist that determines if a journal or publisher is legitimate or predatory. However, qualities of reputable publishers include the following:


Journal scope is well defined and clearly stated on the journal's website

Editors and editorial board consists of recognized experts in the field

Journal is affiliated with or was established by scholarly or academic institution or organization

Peer-review process is rigorous and clearly explained on website

Articles fall within the scope of the publication

Fee structure is clearly explained and easy to find on website

ISBN exists

Articles have Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)

Journal has an impact factor

Copyright and usage rights are clearly stated (e.g. Creative Commons License CC By license)

If Open Access, journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Some questionable journals appear in directories such as DOAJ, so this should not be your only criteria when evaluating journals.

Publisher is a member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)

Journal is indexed in subject databases or indexes

Contact information is clearly provided and available

Publishing schedule and publication frequency is clearly stated

Solicitation of manuscripts and other direct marketing are appropriate, well-targeted, and unobtrusive