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Research Impact and Evaluation

Evaluating Open Access Journals

Committee on Publication Ethics, the Directory of Open Access Journals, the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association, and the World Association of Medical Editors are working on Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

If you find an otherwise promising OA journal in your field, but have never heard of it, investigate it. Network with trusted colleagues to do so.

  • Have you heard of any of the editors? Are they respected in the field? Are the journal's papers any good?
  • Don't assume that unknown journals are weak. Low profile does not entail low quality, especially when journals are new. And all OA journals are new. Most new journals, both OA and non-OA, face the vicious circle of needing excellent submissions to generate prestige, and needing prestige to attract excellent submissions. Don't fault a journal for being only partway through the process of escaping this circle. Even new journals excellent from birth need time to develop a reputation for quality matching their actual quality.
  • Is the publisher a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)? OASPA has a code of conduct requiring peer review, disclosure of a journal's vetting process, fees, and ownership, and prohibiting spam to solicit papers or members of editorial boards. Honest OA publishers might not yet be members of OASPA. But honest publishers should be encouraged to join, if only to help spread the OASPA code of conduct to more publishers and more journals. If your investigation doesn't turn up evidence you trust one way or another, then follow the rule to avoid publishers that are not members of OASPA, and don't hesitate to tell them that you are doing so.