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Scholarly Communications

A practical guide to scholarly publishing and engagement

Evaluating a Journal

Once you've identified potential journals, the next step is to make sure that you are publishing your research in a  legitimate journal.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when considering a journal's legitimacy:

  • Do you or your colleagues know the journal?
    • Have you read any articles in the journal before?
    • Do the articles fall within the scope of the journal?

  • Can you easily identify and contact the publisher?
    • Is the publisher name clearly displayed on the journal website?
    • Can you contact the publisher by telephone, email, and post?

  • Is the journal clear about the type of peer review it uses?

  • Is the journal indexed in an established and reputable database?
    • Is the journal indexed in MEDLINE, the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) journal citation database?
    • If the journal is open access, is it listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals, an online directory that indexes high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals?

  • Is it clear what fees will be charged?
    • Does the journal site explain what these fees are for and when they will be charged?

  • Do you recognise the editorial board?
    • Have you heard of the editorial board members?
    • Do the editorial board members mention the journal on their own websites and have they published in the journal?

  • Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative?

Source: ThinkCheckSubmit checklist by Think.Check.Submit., available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

If in doubt, ask your mentor or a librarian.




Principles of Transparency

Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing

  1. Peer Review Process
  2. Governing Body
  3. Editorial Team/Contact Information
  4. Author Fees
  5. Copyright
  6. Identification & Statement of Handling Research Misconduct
  7. Ownership & Management
  8. Website
  9. Name of Journal
  10. Conflicts of Interest
  11. Access
  12. Revenue Sources
  13. Advertising Policy
  14. Publication Schedule
  15. Archiving
  16. Direct Marketing Policy

For an explanation of each criteria, read the original document.

Evaluating at the Article Level

  • Does the article fit with the journal's scope?
  • Are the references recent?
  • Are the limitations of the study addressed?
  • Does the article mention relevant ethics statement (conflict of interest, ethics committee approval, etc.)?
  • Does the author have many publications in PMC or MEDLINE in this topic?
  • Is the funding source/grant acknowledged?


This LibGuide is based on Sandy De Groote's Where to Publish? LibGuide and Gumberg Library's Where to Publish Your Research LibGuide.