Identify trusted publishers for your research • Think. Check. Submit.

One of the most frequent questions that academic librarians get is “Is this a predatory journal?” With the advent of the Information Age and the internet, the number of journals in which you can publish in has skyrocketed, with some estimates putting it well past 30 000. Many of these journals are driven purely by profit and does not have the researcher’s interest in mind at all. Known as predatory journals, or predatory publishing, their drive for profit means they focus on quantity over quality, are quick to accept articles without any peer review process, are deliberately evasive about the publishing fees, list fake editorial boards using academics without their permission and more. A more devious tactic that these publishers employ is to directly contact researchers and invite them to publish with them, often using boastful language about the quality and reach of their journal. Researchers who may have been rejected by other journals, or who are unsure where to publish, might be swayed by this flattering invitation. However, they may live to regret publishing in these journals, and their academic reputation and career may be ruined.

Therefore, it is critical that researchers choose the most suitable journals to publish their research. But, as mentioned above, with so many out there and many of them predatory, how do you choose? The best option, of course, is to ask your faculty librarian, but if they are unreachable or you would prefer to double-check yourself, then you should make use of Think, Check, Submit. “Think. Check. Submit.” is a collaborative initiative that provides a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

The campaign’s checklist is structured around three key steps:

Think: Before submitting your manuscript, consider if the journal you’re looking at is the best fit for your research. Reflect on the journal’s scope, audience, and reputation within your field.

Check: Investigate the journal’s integrity and quality. This involves:

  • Verifying the journal’s peer-review process.
  • Checking if the journal is indexed in reputable databases.
  • Reviewing the editorial board for recognised experts.
  • Ensuring transparency about the publishing fees.
  • Confirming the journal’s publisher is a member of recognised industry organisations like COPE or DOAJ.

Submit: If the journal meets the necessary quality checks, you can confidently submit your manuscript.

If you would like to access a PDF copy of the full checklist, you can do so here.

For more information, also have a look a their video below: