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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 unethical publishers and ensure 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.

Unethical 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? 

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 if needed.

  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.

Proper peer review takes time; are they promising a 3 week turn-around? If you check the articles, how much time was between submission and publication?

  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?

Consider the impact metrics

Another option is to research the impact metrics, index rates, and statistics of journals you’re considering publishing with.

  • Journal-level metrics are one factor to consider when choosing a suitable publishing platform for your research. 

    The impact of an individual journal is usually measured by looking at the average number of citations received by published articles in the journal. It attempts to measure a journal's relative importance as it compares to other journals in the same field. There are different methods for calculating a journal's impact: some give more weight to citations from other influential journals, and some exclude self-citations from the article's author, while others do not. 

    It’s important to keep in mind that most journal impact metrics privilege established journals and penalize newer ones, regardless of the respective journals’ calibre. Reviewing a prospective journal’s impact is only one aspect of choosing where to publish. 

What are the limitations of impact metrics?

Impact metrics are not standard in every field. They focus on academic literature, and are underrepresented in other types of scholarly work. 

Some limitations of impact metrics include:

  • Recent articles, newer journals, and researchers who are at an earlier stage of their career or who publish in languages other than English may be underrepresented by impact metrics.
  • Publishing frequency and types (ex. books vs. journal articles) vary from one field to another, precluding comparisons across different subject areas.
  • Authors who frequently cite their own work manipulate impact metrics and make them less reliable.
  • Impact metrics focus on the volume or attention received rather than the quality of research. 
  • Having a large number of citations is not necessarily a marker of merit, as articles may be cited for negative reasons.

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.  

They are often very large conferences without a clearly stated organizing committee, a program that looks thrown together with many different topics, or held in tropical locations.

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. 

You can use their conference-checker tool to make sure if you are considering the right conference or not.
In order to start the checker, please click here. Or click on the image below to download the checklist: