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Researcher's guide to responsible and open science

Where to publish?

Questions to consider when choosing a publication channel:

  • Who is the target audience of the contents of this article/book/conference publication?
  • What is the most effective way to reach my target audience?
  • What is the language should I use to address my target audience?
  • Could I publish elsewhere than in the best-known publication channels in my field? Would this give my research new visibility or new opportunities for collaboration?
  • Are there any criteria for the publication channel set by the research funder or partner?
  • Do I want to publish as openly as possible and retain my copyright, or do I prefer to aim for the most prestigious publication channel possible, despite the fact that copyright may be transferred to the publisher and the publication may remain "behind paywall"?
  • How can I ensure that the publication channel is professionally run and reliable?

The library provides advice on choosing a publication channel. Contact us at

Identify a reliable publication channel

There are many academic journals and other publication channels in the world, and more are emerging all the time. Others are being discontinued or simply disappear. There are also those who deliberately try to mislead researchers in order to collect article processing charges, when in reality they do not offer the services essential to the publishing process, such as peer-review, description, or long-term preservation.

This is why it is a good idea to do some background research before submitting your manuscript to a publisher or journal. When assessing the reliability of a publication channel, it is worth checking that the answer to the following questions is 'yes':

  • Are the publications of this journal/publisher easy to find?
  • Is the name of the publication channel original enough to avoid confusion with others?
  • Is it easy to find the responsible persons and contact details of the publisher?
  • Is the peer-review process credibly described on the publisher's website?
  • Does the publisher use standardised identifiers such as ISSN, ISBN, ISNI and DOI?
  • Is the publisher clear about potential publication fees?
  • Are author guidelines available on the publisher's website?
  • Is the publisher's licencing policy clearly disclosed?
  • Is the publisher a member of a recognised publishing industry initiative?
  • Is the publisher/publication channel indexed in curated databases or services?

More on the topic:

Think.Check.Submit - a checklist for journals, books, and chapters
Think.Check.Attend - a checklist for conferences
Katherine Stephan: Publishing Due Diligence (video)
Predatory and Questionable Publishing Practices: How to Recognise and Avoid Them (Dutch Consortium of University Libraries)

Characteristics of suspicious publication channels

Predatory publishers are distinguished by intentional acts that are meant to deceive or harm. They should not be confused with legitimate publishers who offer honest services. The 'types' presented on this page are not exclusionary: it's possible for more than one to apply to a predatory operation.


Icon of a masked man.Impostor/Hijacker
Poses as a well-established journal or as a publication associated with a well-known brand or society.

Identifying characteristic: Intentionally misleading branding. These journals often tack on an extra word to an existing journal name such as "Advances", "Review" or " Reports" or create websites that appear to be affiliated with another publication. Check Retraction Watch Hijacked Journals for a list of known imposters.

Icon of a fishing hook.Phisher

Lures you in with promises then charges large fees after your paper has been accepted. Persistent phishers may demand payment even though no paperwork has been signed and no promises made.

Identifying characteristic: Publication fees are not clearly stated or easy to find; may aggressively recruit through emails and mailing lists. 

Icon of a mill.Paper mill

Mass production of shoddy work made to order, often through machine-learning or plagiarism. Unlike the other types of predators, paper mills are meant to deceive readers and editors, not authors.

Identifying characteristic: Authorship is purchased. The authors may have little or no actual experience related to the subject being published; article text may be full of "tortured phrases" created by generative AI programs or appropriated from someone else's work.

Icon of Trojan horse.Trojan horse
Has a legitimate and impressive looking website but upon closer inspection nothing is what it seems. The journals are empty shells or worse, populated by stolen, plagiarized, or gibberish articles

Identifying characteristic: Hard to identify. Publication history, frequency, and article quality should be examined.

Icon of unicorn.Unicorn

Too good to be true! Unicorns claim to offer services - fast peer review, indexing in databases, impact factors, etc. - but don't deliver.

Identifying characteristic: Similar to the phisher but intentionally misleading about their services, not prices.


This section of the guide, Characteristics of suspicious publication channels, is taken from the Iowa State University Library's Guide Understanding Predatory Publishers, CC BY 4.0 Megan N. O'Donnell, 2016.
Images: Icons8 LLC

Tools to support evaluation

Publication Forum

The Publication Forum's JUFO Portal is a useful tool for assessing the reliability of publication channels. It contains information not only on the JUFO rating of journals, series, book publishers, and conference series, but also a lot of additional information retrieved from other sources, such as open access status and indexing in key databases.

You can log in to the JUFO Portal with TUNI credentials. As a logged-in user you can see various impact indicators for publication channels as well as suggest changes to the classification.

The advantage of the classification is its breadth. The JUFO Portal contains information on more than 36,000 publication channels, and is not limited to English-language serial publications, like many other databases are.

The Publication Forum classification is intended for evaluating the average quality of a large number of publications. The classification is not meant for the evaluation of individual publications (articles or books) nor for the evaluation or comparison of individual researchers. See the User guide for the Publication Forum classification for more information.

Cabell's Journalytics

Cabell's Journalytics contains over 12,000 journals and information on their policies, including type of peer-review, duration of peer-review process, open access status, and acceptance rate of manuscripts. Login with TUNI credentials is required, use the library's database list to access.

Directory of Open Access Journals

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) contains over 20,000 peer-reviewed open access scholarly research journals. The majority of these are journals that do not collect article processing charges. DOAJ is based on the principle of diversity in scholarly publishing and covers a wide range of disciplines, geographical areas, and languages.   

The database can be searched by subject, journal licence, or language of publication, for example. In addition to journals, you can also search the database for individual articles.


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