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Quality and open access publishing

Contrary to popular belief, open access journals aren't necessarily of lesser quality than more traditional journals. By far the most open access journals are in fact peer reviewed, and much effort is devoted on additional tools and methods used to safeguard the quality of new scientific output.

Avoid predatory publishers

Many open access journals use a publishing fee business model to finance their infrastructure and services. Even though most open access journals are legitimate, there are a few publishers and journals that try to take advantage of this business model. Initial fees may be relatively low, but may increase at a later stage, and the services provided are often insufficient or non-existent. Use the links below to avoid cooperation with predatory publishers.

  • DOAJ - the Directory of Open Access Journals has a strict adherence policy. If a journal doesn't adhere to the quality requirements, it won’t be included in the list.

  • OASPA - the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association screens all members on integrity, quality and transparency. Check if a publisher is a member of OASPA.

  • COPE - the Committee on Publication Ethics provides guidelines for integrity in research and publications.

  • List of Predatory Publishers - for years, Jeffrey Beall, librarian at the University of Colorada, focused on maintaining a list (called 'Beall's list') of possibly disreputable journals and publishers. The list was taken offline in January 2017, but a derived version is still available via this link. The list is being updated, but it is unclear how often.

  • QOAM - the Quality Open Access Market is a database with which an author can help qualify a journal by filling in a score card.

  • Think Check Submit checklist – a relatively new initiative. The checklist helps researchers to identify whether a journal might be disreputable or not. Other tips to recognise a predatory journal can be found on the website of The American Journal Experts.