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Scholarly Publishing Guide

Information to help faculty and students decide how to disseminate their research and track their impact

Tips on assessing a journal or publisher

How to assess a Journal: one-page guide from CARL

Journal policies

  • Aims and scope: are they appropriate for your research?
  • Look at some articles: does the research seem credible?
  • Editorial board: are members known names in your field?
  • Peer review: policy clearly stated?
  • Copyright for authors: how is it handled?
  • Publication fees: are they clearly explained?
  • Open Access policy: is it clearly stated?


  • Subject indexes/databases: how is the journal disseminated? is the journal indexed in databases relevant to your discipline?
    • e.g. if you are a nursing researcher, you may want to ensure your journal is indexed in a nursing database such as CINAHL or Proquest Nursing
      • Consider checking for yourself as many dubious publications falsely claim to be indexed in prestigious subject databases, e.g. MEDLINE
  • Directory of Open Access Journals ( DOAJ uses a quality-control process to ensure it lists legitimate open access publications

Publisher information

  • Location and contact information: clearly stated?
  • Digital preservation: how will archives be preserved?
  • Guidelines


  • Beware of made-up metrics: Check that impact metrics listed by the journal are recognized and reputable e.g.
    • Impact Factor: calculated by dividing the number of citations to a journal in one year by the total number of articles published in the two previous years; proprietary designation produced by Journal Citation Reports
    • SCImago Journal and Country Rank: uses Google Page Rank algorithm to indicate visibility of journals indexed in Scopus database


  • Beall's list (archived) of "potential, possible or probable" predatory OA journals and publishers
    • was curated by Jeffrey Beall, librarian at University of Colorado - a noted critic of open access
    • suspended in January 2017
    •  Beall's criteria