Author Archives: Miriam Ndungu

How to avoid falling prey to fraudulent Journal Publishers

Fraudulent journal publishers charge authors fees without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals. Open access publishing is the one most targeted by the unscrupulous publishers. The emergence of predatory publishers maybe the reason for the spam mails you may have come across requesting you to publish in a journal or present your research at a conference.

Here are some of the red flags to look out for. Please note that these are just indicators that should be combined with your discretion and critical judgement.

  1. Is it in Beall’s list of potential predatory publishers
  2. Does the journal promise more than it can reasonably deliver? Statements such as “Send your paper and it will be published in a week.” This being an offer from a journal that claims to be peer reviewed is unrealistic. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. If the journal claims to be an open access journal, is it listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals? (This is a database of publisher’s policies on self-archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories)
  4. Is it listed in Journals Master List?
  5. Is the publisher a member of “Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association”?
  6. When you google the title of the journal, is the first hit the journal website or a blog on why the journal is a fraud?
  7. Has the journal published any other issues? Read the articles and judge for yourself.
  8. Searching in the box marked “search this journal” on the journal webpage for the name of an author of an article in a recent issue of the journal does not return any hits.
  9. Is the publisher transparent about author fees or article processing charges (APC) and the peer review process?
  10. For an invitation to a conference, the web site should have an address or an email contact.
  11. No specific person is identified as the editor of the journal
  12. Beware of unsolicited offers to publish your thesis
  13. Lastly, use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution!

 

For more information on evaluating the credibility of a journal click here

How do you decide the best journal for your research?

Looking for a journal to publish in is pretty much like window shopping for an item you want to purchase. As you window shop for your publishing options, here are some highlights of the process of identifying the best fit;
Information about the journal is found on the respective journal websites. Some of the issues you need to look out for are;

1. What are the journal’s aims and scope?
2. What type of papers does the journal publish? Are they empirical studies, original research, reviews or case studies?
3. What are the article processing charges? Do they have waivers for developing countries?
4. What are the publication timelines- response time, peer review, early cite?, how many issues a year?
5. What is the acceptance rate? Though this should not discourage you, it gives you a realistic idea of the probability that your paper will be accepted.
5. For maximum visibility verify if the journal is indexed in Scopus, Web of Science, Scimago, Google Scholar
6. Review sample papers from the journal to confirm if your paper is aligned in terms of for example writing style, general structural format, language and focus.

Nb: Verify claims that are made on the journal website to avoid falling prey to fraudulent journals. We will look at how to identify these predatory journals in our next write up.

Publishing in the right journal

The decision on where to publish your research is a critical one. Having invested so much in your research, you need to publish in a journal that will present your research in the best way possible and reach the right target audience. The choice of journal may also affect career advancement, professional reputation, and funding opportunities. How then do you make this all important decision? Here are some tips;

  1. If you opt for open access publishing, the Directory of Open Access Journals is a useful guide
  2. The SCImago Journal & Country Rank portal will aid you in selecting a journal on your subject as well as give you the impact factor of the journal
  3. Some publishers make the process easier by providing a platform which can recommend a journal based on your title and abstract. Some of these are;
    a. Springer Journal Suggester
    b. Wiley Journal Finder
    c. Elsevier Journal Finder
    d. IEEE Publication Recommender

Most of the journal suggesters give you important journal information such as Journal impact factor, publication timelines and acceptance rate.This information will aid in making an informed decision

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