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Research Guides

Educational Administration

Questionable OA Publishers, Predatory Publishing, Determining the Good from the Bad OA Journals

  • Nature's Checklist 
  • -  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 ( or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (
    -  Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.
  • Predatory Publishing.pptx  -  Characteristics of Predatory Publishers
    - Emails sent to prospective authors identified in an Internet search inviting them to submit a manuscript, or to join the journal’s board of editors
    - Authors not clearly informed about a publication fee when submitting a manuscript and being notified about a fee only after the manuscript is accepted
    - Articles published before payment terms were understood or completed
    - Article published with out complete author approval
    - An editorial process that created more problems than it solved, with errors introduced during proof-reading
    Well known experts listed on the journal’s website as members of the editorial board even though they did not agree to serve on the board, and/or fake academics included on the editorial board
    - Mimicking the name or website style of a more established journal
    - Misleading claims about the publishing operations, such as false publisher’s location
  • Open Access Journal Quality Indicators
     - Increased visibility, usage, and impact of your research
     - More efficient dissemination compared with traditional publishing models
     - Retention of some or all of your copyrights
     - Contribution to societal good by providing scholarly content to a global audience
     - Rigor of traditional peer-review before publication
     - Ongoing feedback through social media
  • Stratford, Michael.  'Predatory' Online Journals Lure Scholars Who Are Eager to Publish." The Chronicle of Higher Education. March 4, 2012
  • Tools to Verify Journal Status / Article Citations
    Ulrich’s Periodical Directory - whether a journal is scholarly, peer-reviewed, indexed by which databases, ISSN or other information.
    Web of Science - Citation and other information
    Scopus - Citation and other information
    Google Scholar- Article citations
  • Tools to Verify OA Publishers' Membership   
    - Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association OASPA -
    - Directory of Open Access Journals (
  • Indexing Institutions / Browse by Indexing
    The websites of OA journals with higher standards may list which institutions they use to index their articles.
    Common ones include:
    Web of Science
    Compendex (EI)
    WILSON Database (Now transferred to EBSCO)
    XYZ University Libraries Catalog
    An established XYZ international index
  • Fees and Licensing Information
    DOAJ - Find the "Publication Charges" section under each individual journal. If you are browsing by Subject, use the "Article Processing Charge" filter to show which journals will charge fees and which will not.
    DOAJ - On the main page of a journal, under its Publication Charges section, click on the "More" link which will reveal "Open Access Licensing" section with questions like "Does the author retain unrestricted copyright?"
  • Publisher Copyright Policies / Self-Archiving
    Sherpa/Romeo - Use this tool to find out publisher copyright policies and self-archiving. RoMEO colors: Green (can archive pre-print or publisher's version). Blue: (can archive post-print or publisher's version. Yellow: (can archive pre-print. White: (archiving not formally supported).
  • Open Access Publishing Books
    Directory of Open Access Books (DOAB)