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Publisher ethics

You might hear horror stories about "predatory publishers". There are a considerable number of unethical journals and publishers capitalising on Open Access market. Your librarian can suggest some ways of spotting and avoiding these types of publishers.

First of all, if you get an email from a journal or publisher promising incredibly quick turn around on peer review, this is likely to not be a genuine scholarly journal.

Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help you identify trusted journals for your research. They suggest that you use this simple checklist to assess a journal:

  • Do you or your colleagues know the journal?
     – Have you read any articles in the journal before?
     – Is it easy to discover the latest papers in 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?
  • Are articles indexed in services that you use? (Is it indexed in Scopus or Web of Science, PubMed, Informit or others subscribed to by USQ Library?)
  • 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 mention the journal on their own websites? 

(Think. Check. Submit. 2015)

Other questions that USQ Library recommends you ask yourself are:

  • Does it have a genuine ISSN? Check that the journal has an ISSN by looking it up in the National Library of Australia catalogue
  • Check there are more than four members of the editorial board listed on the website of the journal. There should be at least this many.
  • Check the website and journal for spelling errors and other indicators of poor quality.

If in doubt, ask your librarian.