Guidelines for Evaluating a Journal/Publisher

Guidelines for Evaluating a Journal/Publisher


Choosing where to publish one's research is a faculty member's individual academic decision.  However, the Library can provide resources to help guide your selection.

Please consider using the following criteria as you evaluate a publication.

 About the Journal

  • Examine the aims and scope: are they appropriate for your research?
  • Review past issues: does the content look topical and credible? Are the authors known to you?
  • Is it registered in:
  • Does it appear on a 'watch list'? E.g. Beall's List of Predatory, Open Access Journals. Note that this list is constantly changing.
  • Does it have a valid online ISSN / eISSN?
  • Is it a member of CrossRef - the official Digital Object Identifier (DOI) registration agency? Are DOIs assigned to individual articles?
  • Journals are disseminated via academic abstracting and indexing services such as EBSCO, PubMed, ProQuest, Google Scholar. A journal website should say where it is indexed.
    • Is it indexed in the places it says it is?
  • Has it been assigned ranking(s)? E.g.
  • Is it listed on Wikipedia as an academic journal?
  • Are its policies on peer review, open access, copyright publicly available?
    • If it charges publication fees, are they clearly stated and explained?
    • What are the copyright policies? Will you be able to preserve copyright over your work? In many open access journals, authors retain full copyright to their work and give the journal a "non-exclusive" right to publish the work.


About the Publisher

  • Where is it located?
  • Website
    • Stable web page
    • Basic contact info: publisher, contact details, editorial team, editorial/advisory board
    • Description: scope and focus, publication frequency, author guidelines
    • Fee policy clearly stated
    • Free of grammatical errors and typos
  • Is there a digital preservation policy in place?
  • Is it registered with the OASPA (Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association)?
  • Publishers Open Access Policy available on website? Via SHERPA/RoMEO?


More Information

Contact your liaison librarian or Elizabeth Yates, Liaison/Scholarly Communication Librarian.




Library Loon. “Assessing the scamminess of a purported open-access publisher” Blog Posting. GaviaLib 11 April 2012
Declan Butler. “Buyer beware: A checklist to identify reputable publishers” March 29, 2013. Excerpt from: Butler, Declan. “Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing.” Nature 495, 433–435 (28 March 2013) DOI: 10.1038/495433a



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