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Scholarly Communications@TCU: Evaluating OA Journals

Information about scholarly publishing and open access issues at TCU


This page can help you determine if an Open Access journal is a reputable publication or is predatory. If you have questions, please contact Jeff Bond at, or any subject liaison librarian, who can help you make a determination.

Open Access Journal Quality Indicators

There are many criteria ("indicators") to help you determine the reputability of an Open Access journal. Here are some important criteria, as suggested by librarians at Grand Valley State University:

Positive Indicators

  • Scope of the journal is well-defined and clearly stated
  • Journal’s primary audience is researchers/practitioners
  • Editor, editorial board are recognized experts in the field
  • Journal is affiliated with or sponsored by an established scholarly society or academic institution
  • Articles are within the scope of the journal and meet the standards of the discipline
  • Any fees or charges for publishing in the journal are easily found on the journal web site and clearly explained
  • Articles have DOIs (Digital Object Identifier, e.g., doi:10.1111/j.1742-9544.2011.00054.x)
  • Journal clearly indicates rights for use and re-use of content at article level (e.g., Creative Commons CC BY license)
  • Journal has an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number, e.g., 1234-5678)
  • Publisher is a member of Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association
  • Journal is registered in Ulrichsweb Global Serials Directory
  • Journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Journal is included in subject databases and/or indexes

Negative Indicators

  • Journal web site is difficult to locate or identify
  • Publisher “About” information is absent on the journal’s web site
  • Publisher direct marketing (i.e., spamming) or other advertising is obtrusive
  • Instructions to authors information is not available
  • Information on peer review and copyright is absent or unclear on the journal web site
  • Journal scope statement is absent or extremely vague
  • No information is provided about the publisher, or the information provided does not clearly indicate a relationship to a mission to disseminate research content
  • Repeat lead authors in same issue
  • Publisher has a negative reputation (e.g., documented examples in Chronicle of Higher Education, email distribution lists, etc.)

Places to look for help

The links below provide information on predatory open access journals and in some cases provide lists of journals that are suspected to be of poor reputability.