WHY is it crucial?
Mostly in developing countries, universities cannot subscribe to the world’s leading journal publishers because it is expensive to subscribe to the journals of the leading publishers. However, there exists ways to get access to them without paying. For instance, many publishers provide free access to their articles to universities in developing countries upon request. In such cases, the universities should take the initiative to contact the publishers. Also, individual researchers often get free access to top articles of different journals /publishers for a limited time period upon participating in the rigorous review process of the journal articles. Meanwhile, when students search for papers in google scholar from the countries / universities without access to top publishers, they find only open access papers. In any field of research, very few high quality articles can be found open access as it is very expensive too. Recently, European universities have taken initiatives to publish all their research as open access to spread knowledge among the general public whose money is often used to fund research activities. Still, people from the developing countries, mostly read lousy open access (as many predatory publishers existing today) papers as those pop-up in google easily leading to accessing and publishing in lousy journals. Students and researchers in the developed world are not out of danger as well. New PhD students and master students of those countries often make mistake of publishing in predatory journals, persuaded by the aggressive e-mail campaigns of the predatory publishers.
It is a SERIOUS issue
• Publishing in lousy journals does not count as scientific contribution to knowledge! It’s waste of your effort!
• They are very rarely peer reviewed, even if they say so!
• Acceptance rate over 90% (predatory journals publish almost everything they can get), while in good journals the acceptance rate is 10-20%!
• Publishing in lousy journals is expensive while publishing in good journals are mostly free (if you don’t want to publish as open access in good journals)! Many good journals (from Springer, Elsevier, Emerald ) provide waiver of Article Processing Charges (APC) to authors from developing countries for open access publication.
• There are millions of journals today, but not all of them are authentic and people don’t read all of them due to lack of scientific rigor in what they publish.
A simple CHECKLIST for selecting your target journal
1. Reference list
• Look at the reference section of the papers you read from authentic journals
• You will find the papers published in best journals in your field cited over and over by many papers
• Pick 2/3 journals from those in reference lists which seem to suit with your research topic
2. Bibliometric analyses articles
• You will often find the list of top journals of your field in the published bibliometric analysis articles by known researchers. See examples in psychology, design science, green supply chain management, environmental science, seaport competition, international business.
3. Journal or publishers databases
Check if your selected journals are listed in:
• Thomson Reuters master journal list
• Norwegian Scientific Database
• Publish or Perish journal quality ranking
If your chosen journals are listed in any/all of the databases, it must a good journal with quality.
4. Target journals under reputed publishers
Journals under some reputed publishers are always good quality; maintain rigorous peer review process and high standard. For instance: Elsevier, Nature, Emerald, Springer, Palgrave-Macmillan, Taylor and Francis, Inderscience etc.
5. Other Criteria’s
• Look at journals in which the top researchers in your field are publishing!
• Look at Journal’s age! Journals aged 10 years or more are often good.
• Know the review time! Journals with very short review time (1-2 weeks) are often lousy. Although there existing top quality journals with very short review time.
• You may use Elsevier’s journal finder tool to select a potential journal (https://journalfinder.elsevier.com/)
Finally, some research and publication ethics must be followed by authors in academic publishing. Please note that you are not allowed to submit a paper in multiple journals at the same time.
By Ziaul Haque Munim
PhD Candidate – University of Agder, Norway