Be iNFORMEd: Checklist

A checklist to assess the quality of a journal or publisher

Why Be iNFORMEd?

Get a suspicious invitation to publish? Find a new journal and want to know if it meets your quality standards? We developed this checklist to help potential authors determine whether a journal or publisher is potentially predatory or of low quality. You should not use only one item from this checklist to pass judgment; for example, new publishers and journals don't have many articles or books published, but may otherwise be high quality. Look at all the factors, and please call or email if you would like assistance.

Be iNFORMEd Checklist

Number

For journal articles, how many articles has the journal published? How many citations are there to those articles? For books, how many other books has that publisher produced?

  • Has already published high quality articles
  • Articles in this journal have been cited elsewhere

  • No articles or books published
  • Articles and books have not been cited elsewhere
Fee

Is the fee reasonable?

  • Fees fall in the industry standard $1500 - $5000 range

  • Fees too low (e.g., $300) or too high
  • The publisher appears to be trying to raise revenues by soliciting / spamming authors
Ownership

What company owns and produces this journal or book? Can you tell who owns the company?

  • Smaller imprint of a bigger publisher
  • Owned by a society or recognized institution

  • Information not available at all
  • Address and contact information seems unlikely for a publishing company
Review

Are articles and chapters peer reviewed before acceptance? How robust is the review process?

  • Peer review process is described in detail and is standard for the discipline

  • Information not available at all
  • Fast review turnaround promised (e.g., 3 days or a week)
  • No review process; all articles accepted
  • No acceptance rate listed
Membership

What associations or OA alliances does the journal or publisher have?

  • Associations listed, such as ICMJE, COPE, OASPA
  • Indexing sites listed. Note: indexing in MEDLINE can take a couple of years for new journals.
  • Preservation / archiving policies listed

  • Acronyms may be listed on the website, but the publisher could not actually be a member
  • Publisher recommends standards, but does not require them
EDitorial

Who is on their editorial board and staff?

  • Experts in the field with institutional affiliations

  • Editorial board may have expertise, but it is in areas outside the scope of the journal
  • No information listed about editors or staff
  • No information listed under about us
  • Open calls for editorial boards and reviewers

 

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Attribution

This checklist was created by the Duke University Medical Center LIbrary & Archives.