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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
- Peer Review Process
- Governing Body
- Editorial Team/Contact Information
- Author Fees
- Identification & Statement of Handling Research Misconduct
- Ownership & Management
- Name of Journal
- Conflicts of Interest
- Revenue Sources
- Advertising Policy
- Publication Schedule
- 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?