The following are positive qualities in a new academic journal: an established publisher, connections with a specialist association, its availability in relevant library catalogues and databases, persistent identifiers (ISSN, DOI), policies for long-term archiving of publications and research data, renowned editors and approved peer review procedures with proficient reviewers.
The following can be also important indicators of the legitimacy and seriousness of new open access publishers and journals:
- publisher’s journals appear in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): http://doaj.org/
- publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA): http://oaspa.org/
- publisher is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE): http://publicationethics.org/
- publisher is a member of the International Association of Scientific, Technical & Medical Publishers (STM): http://www.stm-assoc.org/
The following attributes have a negative undertone: spam mails, indicating an unofficial impact factors and pretending that the journal is included in a large number of sometimes irrelevant specialist databases under ‘Abstracting and Indexing Services’.
New academic journals are aware of their status and do not try to improve their reputations with impact factors that they have calculated themselves or by pretending that they are included in a large number of sometimes irrelevant specialist databases under ‘Abstracting and Indexing Services’.
A ‘blacklist’ was defined by Jeffrey Beall, an expert in library science, called ‘Beall’s list of potential, possible, or probably predatory scholarly open-access publishers’:
Beall’s list of publishers: http://scholarlyoa.com/publishers/
Beall’s list of standalone journals: http://scholarlyoa.com/individual-journals/
However, some of Beall’s criteria must be regarded critically and do not always stand up when compared with the reality of academic publishing, particularly for normal publishers. This applies especially to the criteria in the area of ‘business management’ and his negative evaluation of new trends, such as megajournals (PLOS ONE, SpingerPlus), which he believes aim to attract more articles and therefore more author fees through their wide scope of subjects. While this may be an academic reality, it says nothing about the quality and the academic standards of megajournals.