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Use of this Guide

This guide is intended to provide information about predatory publishing and is intended as a guide only. Deciding where to publish is solely the responsibility of individual authors. 

The content in this guide does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to replace the advice of legal counsel. 

Think - Check - Submit

Think, check, submit: Choose the right journal for your research

Worried about choosing the right journal to publish your article? Use the checklist at Think - Check - Submit to help you determine if a particular journal is right for you!

Journal Evaluation Tool

Librarians at Loyola Marymount University created a rubric to help authors evaluate journals. This rubric can be used as a guide when deciding if a journal is legitimate or predatory.

Checking Publisher Credentials

To ensure that a publisher is legitimate, make sure to do some research on the publisher before agreeing to send a copy of your article or paying an article processing fee. Here are a few ways you can check the publisher's credentials:

  • Look at a few of their articles to ensure that they are scientifically sound.
  • Check to see if the journal is indexed in MEDLINE, PubMed, Scopus or other legitimate abstracting and indexing services.
  • If the journal is only one or two years old, they are unlikely to have an Impact Factor. Many predatory publishers are listing fake Impact Factors, with names like CiteFactor, Universal Impact Factor and others. 
  • Google the names of the chief editors. If they are legitimate scholars in your discipline, they will likely have a legitimate online researcher profile.

Qualities of Reputable Journals

There is no single checklist that determines if a journal or publisher is legitimate or predatory. However, qualities of reputable publishers include the following:

  • Journal scope is well defined and clearly stated on the journal's website
  • Editors and editorial board consists of recognized experts in the field
  • Journal is affiliated with or was established by scholarly or academic institution or organization
  • Peer-review process is rigorous and clearly explained on website
  • Articles fall within the scope of the publication
  • Fee structure is clearly explained and easy to find on website
  • Journal has an ISSN
  • Articles have Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs)
  • Journal has an impact factor
  • Copyright and usage rights are clearly stated (e.g. Creative Commons License CC By license)
  • Journal is registered on UlrichsWeb Global Serials Directory (requires subscription)
  • Journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).
    • Some questionable journals appear in directories such as DOAJ, so this should not be your only criteria when evaluating journals.
  • Publisher is a member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)
  • Journal is indexed in subject databases or indexes
  • Contact information is clearly provided and available
  • Publishing schedule and publication frequency is clearly stated
  • Solicitation of manuscripts and other direct marketing are appropriate, well-targeted, and unobtrusive


This guide is adapted with permission from the Predatory Publishing LibGuide of Ruth Bueter, MLS Serials & Systems Librarian, Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library, George Washington University