Quality and open access

Quality of an academic journal is essential. However, the quality of open access journals is still often subject to discussion. Open access journals are a fairly young phenomenon, and this may result in questions about the quality of these journals. Furthermore there are so-called 'predatory publishers' who aren't too concerned about the quality of their journals and don't offer the promised services.

How to avoid predatory publishers?

  1. Check if the open access journal is registered in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). This is a strongly regulated list. If it is registered in DOAJ, the journal is likely to be trustworthy. If not:
  2. Check if the publisher is a member of COPE or OASPA. If so, the journal is likely to be trustworthy. If not:
  3. Check if you know anyone from the editorial team of the journal. Contact them to verify that they are truly a member of this team and if the journal has good peer reviews. If you don't know anybody from the editorial team:
  4. Check if you know authors of any recently published articles. Contact them to ask for their experiences and peer reviews.
  5. Do you have any other doubts, contact the university library or consider publishing in a different journal.

Further information

  • In addition to DOAJ, looking up a journal in Web of Science or Scopus can help. These databases apply strict quality criteria.
  • The websites Quality Open Access Management (QCAM) and SciRev offer reviews of journals by fellow researchers. You can post your own review of a journal here as well.
  • The Article Processing Charge (APC) is not a criterium to judge the quality of a journal. There are good open access journals that don't charge costs to authors.
  • On the website Think Check Submit you can find more information on this topic.