By Elizabeth Campillo and Megan Zandstra

Unfortunately, the rise in Open Access publishing has led to an increase exploitative online publishing behaviours. Commonly referred to as “predatory journals”, these publishers will often pursue scientists with spam-like proposals via email and will charge high publishing fees. Publishing in a predatory journal undermines the credibility of your work.

At CIAT, we recommend the following steps when identifying a publisher for your work:

1. Identify the details of the journal:

  • Do you recognize the title and publisher?
  • Does the journal have a legitimate address and telephone number listed, or do they use a web form?
  • Does the publisher have an ISSN number?
  • Are the editor and editorial board experts in the stated field of the journal? Are they affiliated with known institutions?
  • Does the journal provide clear information about publishing fees? (Be suspicious of “submission” fees)

2. Check to see if the journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and/or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA). Journals must meet strict criteria to be listed here.

3. Check to see if the journal is indexed in Scimago or the ISI Thompson Reuters Master Journal List.

4. Check Jeffery Beall’s list of “potential, possible, or probable predatory” journals and publishers.

5. If in doubt, ask the library for help – CIAT-Library@cgiar.org

CIAT encourages scientists to publish in reputable journals, in-line with research focus and target audience.  A list of recommended Open Access journals with corresponding Impact Factors can be found on CIATnet (internal use only). For more information about predatory journals read this 2013 article in Nature, which provides an interesting synopsis of the “dark side” of Open Access publishing.

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