Open Access (OA) journals do provide opportunities for researchers to raise the profile of their work and ensure a robust, scholarly communication system. However, some publishers send out spam emails, which are poorly written, use fake names, and pressure recipients to submit an article quickly to beat an artificial deadline. Today, it is easier than ever to share scholarly findings, but authors need to be vigilant when selecting a journal in which to publish.

To identify reputable journals and to avoid unprofessional and/or fraudulent publishers, authors need tools like the strategies which have been listed below. The eight elements of this checklist are complementary but be aware that already one of the criteria can be decisive. The checklist below is not exhaustive and may be complemented by consultation with academic librarians who commonly check the legitimacy of journals and who can assist with the selection of a high quality, reputable journal.

Eight elements of the checklist

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The ISSN or International Standard Serial Number is usually reported as two sets of four numbers separated by a hyphen (e.g., 1234-5678). Displaying a number that cannot be verified or a number assigned to another journal is clearly a deceptive practice. An open global library catalogue (from 1 February LibSearch at Maastricht University) , is a quick and easy way to check the ISSN.
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If the journal claims it is indexed in a database, but you cannot find evidence of it, then it is best to avoid the journal. 
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The OASPA, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, is a publishing industry organisation focused specifically on OA publishers, the membership of which is based on a review of the publisher’s editorial policies and actions. COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics, admits editors and publishers of peer-reviewed journals as members and has similar ethical standards as the OASPA, but it is not restricted to OA journals. 
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If the journal reports an impact factor, confirm that it is the metric computed by Thomson Reuters’ Journal Citation Reports (establish a session if needed) or another academic database with selective indexing policies.
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Before submitting a manuscript to an OA journal, the author should determine the standing of the editor. When the name of an editor is found on divergent journals addressing different subject areas, an author should investigate the journal more thoroughly.
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Authors should examine the journal’s website and note if there is use of verbatim language found on another publisher’s website. Direct quotation of long passages by a different publisher without attribution to an original source could indicate plagiarism.
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Scholarly journals generally do not promise that the peer review process will be completed in only a few days. The publishing process can be lengthy, and peer-review, which all scholarly articles must undergo, can take weeks if not months.
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In contrast to most subscription journals that require a transfer of copyright to the publisher, many OA journals allow authors to retain ownership (copyright) of their intellectual property. Read carefully the conditions for copyright compliance, checking authorisation both for distributing an article to researchers, students, or the public, and also for the reuse of the article for coursework or a presentation. Finally, look carefully at policies for the Article Processing Charge (APC) and make sure the author is expected to pay only after the paper is accepted.
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Sources

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