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Open Access: Evaluate

As with traditional scholarly publications, the quality of Open Access works can vary considerably. Before citing or otherwise making use of an OA work, you should critically evaluate it.

Predatory Journals

Predatory journals are "entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices" (Grudniewicz et al).

Checklist

When evaluating an OA work, consider the following checklist:

  • Is the grammar and spelling correct?
  • Does the URL appear unique and legitimate?
  • Does the website look professional?
  • Is the subject of the published articles topically related and within the scope of the journal?
  • Is there a verifiable physical address and phone number?
  • Can you search content without registering?
  • Has the journal existed for longer than three years and does it have archives back to the date it began publishing?
  • If a journal impact factor is provided, can it be verified?
  • Is there a named editorial board, and can you verify their backgrounds/publications?
  • Are there detailed instructions for the authors?
  • Is publication presented as a possibility rather than a guarantee?
  • Is the publication schedule clear and consistent?
  • Does the site provide a submission portal?

You can also check whether the journal is included in a whitelist such as DOAJ, or use a tool such as Think. Check. Submit.