Beginning to understand your own values and the ways in which journal criteria are generally described and measured will help you become a proficient journal evaluator. A useful tool to assist you with this process is the journal checklist at Think.Check.Submit.
Think.Check.Submit is a campaign that helps researchers identify trusted journals. It is an international initiative representing organizations that are working toward transparent and ethical publishing practices. Additional information and evaluation guidance can be found on the websites of these organizations:
What do you look for in a journal? Scholars have different criteria depending on their research project, stage of career, values, and goals. The most common journal attributes tend to fall into the following broader categories:
The following pages describe tools and strategies used to evaluate and select journal outlets.
Here is a list of some of commonly reported attributes that scholars look for. The numbers indicate which categories they map to.
Phishing attempts and other email scams are not uncommon in both journal and conference publishing. These unsolicited email invitations often tempt scholars with quick acceptance, review, and publication. Fraud is committed when these outlets charge authors hidden fees, lock them into rigid agreements, and/or fail to deliver promised quality checks (e.g. peer review). Not all email invitations or publication fees are scams, however. Here are a few red flags to watch out for:
Be sure to learn more on the Ethical Issues tab of this guide.
Note: Jeffrey Beall's list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory publishers” ("Beall's List") is no longer maintained and should not be relied upon to identify fraudulent publishers. Furthermore, it is difficult for any such watch list to keep up with the constant influx of new publishers and publications. It is best practice to research and evaluate each journal title you are considering for publication of your work.