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Research, Scholarship & Publishing at KPU

How do you assess a publisher, journal, or conference?

Assessing a publisher or journal before you submit your work is an important step to avoid predatory publishers and insure that the publication is committed to sharing high-quality scholarship to advance the field of research. 

If you're writing a research paper or thesis, you may also need to check the quality of a publisher or journal before deciding which sources to cite in your paper.

Predatory publishers produce journals and books that are not edited or peer reviewed, and frequently pose as legitimate open access publications. They often charge exorbitant fees to unsuspecting researchers who agree to publish their work with them. 

Follow the steps below to assess a publisher or journal. 

Research the journal and publisher


What is the quality of articles?

Are they of a low standard or poorly copy-edited? How is the journal ranked against others in the field?

You can read and evaluate a few articles, or check the journal metrics to see how the journal is ranked against others in the field of research.

  Who is on the editorial board?

Are they well-established in their field? Some predatory journals list researchers on their editorial boards who are not affiliated with them. We recommend you contact a member to confirm their affiliation is legitimate, or check the websites of editorial board members to see if the journal is mentioned.

  Is the journal indexed in relevant databases? 

Contact a librarian for help, or check Ulrich’s Periodicals Directory, the most comprehensive directory of periodicals or serials available worldwide. 

  Does the publisher have a clear peer-review process and provide details about it?

Check the publisher’s website for details on the type of peer-review process conducted.

  Does the journal or publisher belong to the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association or the Directory of Open Access Journals?

These resources accept only high-quality, peer-reviewed open access journals and publishers.

  Do you get any results when you do an online search for the name of the publisher or journal and keywords such as complaint, scam, or fraud?

*Adapted from: SFU Guide etcetc

Consider the impact metrics

Research the impact metrics, index rates, and statistics of journals you’re considering publishing with.

  • Journal-level impact metrics measure a journal’s impact and relative importance in the field, generally through the calculation of citation counts. 
  • Ulrich’s Periodical Directory includes a list of databases where a journal is indexed, indicating how accessible articles will be to other researchers, as well as whether or not the journal is peer-reviewed.

Ask your liaison librarian

Contact your liaison librarian who can help find details and evaluate the reputability of a publisher or journal.

Avoiding predatory conferences

In addition to the risk of predatory publishers, researchers should be wary of non-scholarly, revenue-seeking groups organizing predatory or “vanity” conferences. Researchers are asked to pay a fee for the “privilege” of speaking at, chairing, or attending these conferences, which are usually sparsely-attended and often lack the attendance of prestigious speakers who were advertised.  

Read more about predatory conferences in this article by The Huffington Post: Predatory Conferences Undermine Science And Scam Academics.

Think. Check. Attend is an initiative to help researchers assess whether a conference is a legitimate, professional opportunity or a potential scam that should be avoided. Follow the guidelines in the checklist to decide when to accept or decline invitations to present and share your research.