Identifying Reputable Publishers

With the rapidly increasing numbers of outlets for online publishing, concerns are being raised on the credibility, authenticity and reputation of Journals. A 2013 article by Declan Butler, titled Investigating Journals: The dark side of publishing (Nature 495:433-435), highlights the potential reputational damage of publishing in such low reputation journals. Authors that select these journals will not be eligible for USP rewards, as they are not highly ranked in any credible journal ranking system.

To ensure that the USP maintains its reputation for research excellence, we wish to advise authors to use diligence and exercise caution when selecting journals for submission of articles. It is highly recommended that authors choose only high impact journals, such as those listed as A*, A or B in ERA 2010 (Rewards for Publications). If an author wishes to submit to a new or upcoming journal not on such lists, then the onus is on them to use due diligence when selecting the publishing outlet.

The following are Butler’s recommendations to authors when selecting Journals.

  • 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 (www.doaj.org) or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (www.oaspa.org).
  • Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.

Please also view Beall’s listings of questionable open-access publishers on http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/