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.
- Take time when selecting where to publish.
- Be aware of the publication landscape in your research area and the most reputable journals. (If it is an open access journal, check if the journal is listed in the Directory of Open Access journals).
- Look at the editors. Are they recognized in their field?
- Look at the journal's contact details and address for their registered office. Do these look odd?
- Does the publisher send unsolicited emails inviting publication in journals that you have never heard of?
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 https://clarivate.libguides.com/jcr .
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 https://www.scopus.com/sources. Scopus have produced a useful fact sheet and video on how to use CiteScore available at https://www.elsevier.com/solutions/Scopus/features/metrics.
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 your research is funded check if there are any Funders' policies on Open Access publishing that you need to comply with.
- REF2021 also have requirements on open access publishing that must be met for research outputs to be eligible for submission to REF2021. Check that the journal meets their self-archiving requirements https://v2.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/. If the journal does not comply with this policy you should consider whether this is really the best journal to publish in.
- If you have funds to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC) to publish your research as an open access output then check to see what publishers offer discounted APCs to Abertay researchers.
- Are you able to make use of the limited Open Access Fund available to Abertay researchers to pay for Gold Open Access publishing? Contact REIS for more information on the funding available.
- Does the journal publish articles with similar research topics to the research in your paper. If not - then they are unlikely to publish your article.
If you need advice on choosing where to publish or assistance with using any of the bibliometric tools - email: firstname.lastname@example.org