Evaluating Journal Quality

With the proliferation of new journals enabled by online publishing, it can be difficult for researchers to know if a particular journal is worth publishing in. Here are two resources that could help librarians and researchers when looking into an unfamiliar journal.

The first is the Quality Open Access Market (QOAM). The QOAM enlists the help of academics to evaluate a journal’s online presence and the experience of publishing with a particular journal. The journal’s website is evaluated for editorial information, peer review, governance, and workflow. This evaluation results in a Base Score Card. Authors can share their experience publishing with that particular journal, which results in a Valuation Score Card. The journal score cards are combined to give users an indication of whether this is a strong journal, weaker journal, opportunity to the publisher to improve, or a threat to the author. The QOAM measures the quality of service of the journal, not the quality of the research being published.

The other journal evaluation tool is the Journal Publishing Practices and Standards (JPPS) framework. This project was started to help journals from the global south improve their international reputation. The criteria used to assess the journal include: publication of original research, functional editorial board, verified involvement from editorial & advisory boards, accuracy of the description of the peer review and quality control processes, availability of author and reviewer guidelines, and display of editorial and publishing policies. Assessed journal are assigned to one of six levels: inactive titles, new title, no stars, one star, two stars, three stars.

These tools are not white lists or black lists. They are designed to provide some information about the transparency and quality of the publication services of a given journal. They should be used in conjunction with disciplinary knowledge, consultation with colleagues, and the author’s own professional judgment.