Choosing where to publish can be confusing, particularly for early career researchers. In recent years there have been a growing number of new open access journals, many set up by reputable publishers but, unfortunately, alongside these there are an increasing number of pay-to publish vanity journals. These journals do not have a peer review process or any kind of quality control. The journal name is often similar to well established journals. 

Publishing in one of these journals can damage the reputation of the University and researcher. it also lends the researchers' and institutions' reputations to a disreputable publication.

What can you do to avoid publishing in a 'predatory' open access journal?

A few thing to bear in mind.

Think, Check, Submit is a campaign to provide researchers with information about the criteria that they should look at when choosing where to publish. The campaign is led by representatives from organizations across the industry: ALPSP, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), INASP, the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), ISSN, LIBER, OASPA, UKSG and individual publishers. The campaign aims to help researchers understand their options, and the key criteria they can check before making an informed decision about where to submit.


Journal Impact Factors

When choosing where to publish journal metrics may be one of the factors you want to look at. The journal impact factor (JIF)  was originally designed as a metric to help librarians decide which journals to subscribe to. it is a quantitative measure of  how often articles published in a particular journal have been cited in the previous 2 years. The higher the journal's impact factor then the more frequently articles in that journal have been cited. 

Journal Citation reports (JCR) from the Web of Science can be used to find out the impact factors for journals in the sciences and social sciences. A journal impact factor of 1.0 means that, on average, articles published in that journal one or two years ago have been cited once. When comparing impact factors you need to be careful as you should only compare like with like as different disciplines and different types of articles e.g review or original research articles have different citation patterns. JCR also give  a 5-year Impact factor. A  short tutorial on how to use JCR is available at .


CiteScore is a relatively new measure of journal citation provided by Scopus. CiteScore is essentially the average citations per document that a title receives over a three-year period. A CiteScore value is available for most active titles in Scopus – journals, book series, conference proceedings and trade journals – that started publishing in 2015 or earlier. CiteScore is free to use and can be accessed at Scopus have produced a useful fact sheet and video on how to use CiteScore available at

The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR)

The SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) from Scopus is an alternative metric to the the Journal Impact factor. The SJR rates a citation depending on where it comes from, transferring prestige by citing another journal. The figure is derived by dividing the number of citations by the number of documents over the previous 3 year period. In Scopus click on compare journals and then add in the journals that you want to compare. A useful video on how to use the SCImago Journal Rank is available online.

Scopus will also let you compare the Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP). This measures the average citation impact of the publications of a journal. SNIP corrects for differences in citation patterns across different scientific disciplines so it is useful if you need more accurate between-disciplines comparisons of citation impact.

Other important considerations when choosing where to publish

Although bibliometric information can be useful there are other factors that you should consider.

If you need advice on choosing where to publish or assistance with using any of the bibliometric tools - email: