Answered By: Scott Lapinski
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2018     Views: 123

Academic authors need to be more cautious than ever before when choosing a journal to potentially publish their research. Predatory and deceptive publishing practices are threatening not only the legitimacy of the scientific record, but also siphoning billions of dollars from researchers who unknowingly fall prey to their scam.

First tip... You should try to publish with the journals that have informed your own research. Publish where you cite!

If you are thinking of publishing with a journal that you are uncertain of, find the answers to these questions:

 1.   "Where is this journal indexed?"

If the journal is indexed in MEDLINE, then this indicates that the title was carefully reviewed by committee to ensure that it met specific criteria indicating high professional and ethical standards. MEDLINE indexes about 5500 Biomedical & Health Science journals. The details can be found here.

To check on a specific journal, use this MEDLINE JOURNAL Search and 
query the title of the journal in question.

Remember it is only in this specific MEDLINE listing shows the journals that have been reviewed for their authenticity! (It is unfortunately true that a small number of "questionable" journal titles have found their way into PubMed indexing.)

If the journal is not indexed in MEDLINE, check to see if it is indexed in "Journal Citation Reports" within the Web Of Science. Here too, the journals included in WoS indexing have gone through a screening process:


"Journal Citation Reports" will be located at the very top navigation menu from the Web Of Science search screen.

2.    "Is the publisher a member within a trusted professional society or organization?"

Many legitimate Open Access publishers are taking steps to align themselves within trusted organizations like COPE and OASPA to ensure the academic community that they are adhering to the high academic standards that we need to maintain:

Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) 

Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association

3.    "What are other academics saying about this journal/publisher?"

Unfortunately there is no "one simple list" that sorts out the "great journals" from the "sloppy journals" from the "absolutely fake 'journal'". Many have looked at Beale's list as a starting point, but there are indeed problems with relying solely on Beale's (too many to mention here... but provided for your reference).

Sometimes just hearing the comments, concerns and suspicions of your professional colleagues is good enough to make a sound judgment to publish elsewhere. My personal favorite of one such blog, where frequent observations and comments arise around predatory publishers is here:

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