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Services for Authors at the Penn Libraries: Evaluating Publication Venues

Evaluating Journals

​​​​​​Once you've identified potential publication venues, it's time to do some exploration and evaluation work. Consider these for each:

Predatory Publishing - A Definition

"Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.”

-Grudniewicz, Agnes, et al. "Predatory Journals: No Definition, no Defence." Nature (London), vol. 576, no. 7786, 2019, pp. 210-212.

Tools and Resources

Explore external resources for discovering and evaluating journals, accessing bibliometrics, identifying open source publishers, navigating publisher contracts, safeguarding against predatory publishers, and more. Contact your subject librarian if you need assistance in identifying a journal-matching site suitable to your field, or for any support getting started.

Safeguard Against Low-Quality and Predatory Publishers

Penn Graduate Center Presentation on Predatory Publishing, Spring 2021

Quality of publication venues varies greatly, even within a well-regarded publisher. It is always a good idea to perform a preliminary investigation into the legitimacy of any publication, but especially of those you are unfamiliar with. Begin by asking these questions/performing these searches, and consult this guide's section on Predatory Publishing for more information and helpful tools:

  • If the publication venue states that they are indexed, check to ensure that they actually are.
  • Do the people on their editorial board actually exist? Do they list their involvement with the publication on their CV? 
  • Is the location of the publisher an actual place (e.g., look on Google maps - is it someone's house? An empty lot? A parking garage?)? Can you call them? Does someone answer?
  • Search for one of their articles/books in your preferred search engine or database. Does it come up?
  • Do you have many unanswered questions about the legitimacy of this publication? Is anyone from their team available to answer them? 
  • Is the publication venue clear about the publishing process and fess associated with publishing with them? 
  • Citation chase an older book/article, if possible (e.g., go to Google Scholar, find the publication, and click "cited by #"). Who has cited it and in what context?
  • Search for news references to the publication (if this is part of your criteria) or other places where you want your work to show up.
  • Can you find the journal/book in the Penn Library catalog/Articles+?
  • What does the publication venue do to market your work?