Think. Check. Submit. A helpful checklist for researchers

Recent years have seen an increase in new publishing services and outlets, in response to huge growth in the volume of research output. At the same time we hear increasing stories of malpractice or deceptive publishing, but little in the way of guidance exists when it comes to choosing a journal to publish in. A new campaign hopes to provide such guidance...





A new cross-industry campaign launches today to provide information for researchers about the criteria they should look for when selecting where to publish their research. Think. Check. Submit. is available through an online hub.

What is this campaign?

Think. Check. Submit. is led by representatives from organisations across the industry: ALPSP, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), INASP, the International Association of Scientific, Technical and Medical Publishers (STM), ISSN, LIBER, OASPA, UKSG and publishers including BioMed Central and Springer Nature. The campaign will help researchers understand their options, and key criteria they can check before making an informed decision about where to submit.

We believe that all researchers will benefit from more information on what to consider when choosing where to publish, but the campaign will particularly be directed towards early-career academics.

We believe that all researchers will benefit from more information on what to consider when choosing where to publish, but the campaign will particularly be directed towards early-career academics.

It is also aimed to be accessible to those whose first language is not English, or who may not be aware of or have access to the full breadth of scholarly literature.

The negative impact of a journal

Two articles in BMC Medicine (here and here) point to the negative impact that some journals can have. One gives an individual academic’s point of view of the volume of unsolicited email invitations to publish, many of which are “unclear as to whether the manuscripts published by these journals add value to either the journals or the submitting authors.”  The other investigates the scale and distribution of deceptive open access publishing both geographically and across scientific fields.

“A negative consequence of the rapid growth of scholarly open access publishing funded by article processing charges is the emergence of publishers and journals with highly questionable marketing and peer review practices”, write the authors, Bo-Christer Bjork and Cenyu Shen. They found that over the studied period these journals: “have rapidly increased their publication volumes from 53,000 in 2010 to an estimated 420,000 articles in 2014, published by around 8,000 active journals.”

The good news is that Bjork and Shen believe that the growth of such journals will soon cease, and they identify geographical regions that are most affected. Think. Check. Submit. will work to reach researchers in these parts of the world.

Deciding where to submit

The number of active academic journals grows by around 3.5 per cent each year, according to The STM Report: An overview of scientific and scholarly journal publishing, Fourth edition. In 2014 this equated to almost 1,000 new titles, so it’s easy to see why academics may have trouble deciding where to send their work.

In terms of regulation, the DOAJ implemented new criteria for open access titles in March 2014.  Since then it has processed 6,000 applications, of which 2,700 have been rejected, 1,800 are in process, 1,500 have been accepted. In the same period 700 journals have been removed from DOAJ.

Alongside such regulation, we believe awareness is a crucial tool so please help us spread the word about Think. Check. Submit.

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One Comment

leo waaijers

A laudable initiative indeed. In my opinion it has only one disadvantage. If potential authors have gone through the checklist and answered all the questions for themselves they throw the acquired knowledge away when leaving the web site. If they would have completed a Journal Score Card in Quality Open Access Market ( the result would have been preserved to be shared with their colleagues. The questions in both lists are almost identical. Moreover QOAM provides price information which could help making an even more informed decision.

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