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Writing in the Health and Social Sciences: Journal Publishing

Guide to writing, citing, and publishing resources for the health and social sciences.

Publishing in Nursing and Healthcare

Sources for Writers: Targeting Journals for Publishing

"How to perform due diligence before submitting to a journal or publisher."

Checklist (from Declan Butler,   Butler, D., & others. (2013). The dark side of publishing. Nature, 495(7442), 433–435.)

  • Check that the publisher provides full, verifiable contact information, including address, on the journal site. Be cautious of those that provide only web contact forms.
  • Check that a journal’s editorial board lists recognized experts with full affiliations. Contact some of them and ask about their experience with the journal or publisher.
  • Check that the journal prominently displays its policy for author fees.
  • Be wary of e-mail invitations to submit to journals or to become editorial board members.
  • Read some of the journal’s published articles and assess their quality. Contact past authors to ask about their experience.
  • Check that a journal’s peer-review process is clearly described and try to confirm that a claimed impact factor is correct.
  • Find out whether the journal is a member of an industry association that vets its members, such as the Directory of Open Access Journals ( or the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (
  • Use common sense, as you would when shopping online: if something looks fishy, proceed with caution.

Resources for Evaluating Journals

Open Access Basics

Open Access logo

"Open Access" is the practice of making scholarly research freely available on the web.

OA promotes broader access to research by:

  • removing price barriers
  • removing permission barriers

OA can be applied to:

  • journal articles;
  • theses and dissertations;
  • monographs and book chapters; and
  • research data.

Predatory OA Publishers

Some journals, known as predatory journals charge large APCs without providing the peer review and editorial support that can be expected from a quality scholarly publication.

Common red flags associated with predatory publishers include:

  • Using false or misappropriated ISSNs;
  • Posting fake academics on the editorial board or using the names of actual academics for the editorial board without their permission;
  • Accepting and publishing articles exceptionally quickly without peer review or quality control;
  • Repeatedly contacting and harassing scholars to submit articles and serve on editorial boards.

And keep in mind, you can always contact your library subject specialist for assistance with assessing the reputability of a publisher.