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Author Rights in the Publication Process

A guide for faculty and researchers on author rights and the publishing process. This guide helps you navigate copyright transfer agreements. The Publisher Policies section gives tips on how to identify a predatory or vanity publisher.

Scholarly Open Access Journal Directories

The DOAJ contains information about scientific and scholarly open access journals that use quality controls such as peer review as part of their article selection  criteria.

Publisher copyright and self-archiving policies

Sherpa/RoMEO contains information about journal publisher copyright and self-archiving policies.

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Journal Impact Factors

Look up  journal impact factors and citation and article counts.

Journal Evaluation and Comparison

Not all publishers are on the up-and-up. Have you been solicited to publish in a particular journal? Have you been asked to be an editor or reviewer? Are you skeptical? How can you be sure the journal is reputable?


Features to look for and verify:

  • Where is the journal publisher located? Is there a complete mailing address? 
  • Does the website contain typos or grammatical errors?
  • Did you check the databases in which the journal claims to appear and find them? If you didn't find them, that's a flag. Example: the journal title claims to be indexed in PubMed but you can't find the journal title in PubMed.
  • Did you find any journal issues in the archive? In the current journal list? If you can't find back issues or if there are only a couple of back issues or maybe just an image of a journal flyer, be wary.
  • What is the pricing structure? How many journal articles will be accepted during a membership time frame? Is the pricing information clear? Is there a mechanism in place in which you agree or not agree to pay?
  • What do you get for the price? Beware of publishers who offer you a certificate of membership suitable for framing and/or a designated title to add to your signature.
  • Are you prompted to check with your Institution to find out if there is an Institution-paid membership on your behalf? If not, be careful.
  • A publisher may claim to provide peer review and to list an impressive editorial board. Contact the listed board members to verify.

Be skeptical when you are solicited to publish anywhere. If you find any of the above flags, or others, beware and seek assistance from your librarian liaison.