The Article Processing Charge (APC) is no indication for the quality of a journal. There are excellent open access journals which do not charge costs for the author. Unfortunately there are publishers who collect publication costs but do not supply editorial services or peer review in return, the so-called predatory publishers.
That is why you always need to check the reliability of a journal:
- Check if the open access journal is included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Web of Science or Scopus. These databases have strict quality criteria. If yes, you may safely assume you are dealing with a reliable journal.
- Check if the publisher is a member of COPE or OASPA. If yes, you are safe.
- Check if you know someone from the editorial board of the journal. Contact him or her and ask if they are indeed editors and if the journal articles are peer reviewed
If you do not know anyone from the editorial board:
- Check if you know one of the authors of recent articles. Contact them and ask about their experiences with the journal. Do not forget to ask about peer reviews.
- If you still have doubts, contact the library or think of publishing in another journal.
Here you will read more about identifying predatory journals and conferences.
Or look for more tips on Think Check Submit.