Before using that article for a journal club or sending off your manuscript to an unknown journal, it's a good idea to evaluate the journal's credentials.
While the growth of online publications have contributed to the ease and speed of publishing study findings, it has also increased the number of publishers who do not follow scholarly best practices or worse, are predatory in their practices.
Below we've listed some library resources that you can use to evaluate the journal before you cite that article, present at that journal club, or publish an article.
Medline evaluates the authenticity of the journals that it indexes on a regular basis. If the journal is listed as "currently indexed for Medline" in the NCBI catalog, it is a good indication that it is a legitimate publication.
Cabells maintains a list of journals that are suspected of being predatory. Journals listed on the Predatory Reports list will include the criteria violations so that you can make the determination for yourself.
This directory will tell you whether the journal has officially registered with ULRICHSWEB and if they claim to be peer reviewed. Titles that are peer reviewed will show a tiny referee shirt icon.
**IMPORTANT NOTE: When looking up a journal, check that the title and ISSN match the journal as listed. One common device that predatory publishers use is to create titles that are extremely similar to well-known, respected journals with only a slight variation.**
How is the journal viewed within the discipline?
Use the following resources along with the journal's website to determine how the journal is viewed within the discipline and what to expect when you publish with the journal. Do they charge a fee for article publication? Will the article be open access or embargoed for a time period first? Some of the following resources can help.
DOAJ is a community-curated online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. Look for journals with the green tick mark or the orange DOAJ seal of approval for indications that the journal has been vetted.
Developed by the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) in collaboration with the Committee on Publication Ethics, the Directory of Open Access Journals, and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.
A simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher. This is produced by a cross-industry coalition, including the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), and BioMed Central.