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Evaluating Quality of Publications and Conferences

Evaluating journals, books, and conferences and avoiding deceptive or predatory publishers


The Hunter College Libraries offer this guide to assist faculty in identifying appropriate and reputable venues in which to publish or present scholarly work.  The pages that follow discuss issues related to open access publishing; factors that make some journals or publishers less credible than others; and methods for evaluating the credentials of a journal or academic conference.  We also recommend consulting guidelines for best practices within your own disciplines and professional associations.  

Open Access and Publication Quality

Open access publishing refers to scholarly literature that is digital, free of charge to the reader, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.  Under the open access (OA) business model, publishers recover their costs by charging a fee to the author rather than a subscription price to the reader, while still conducting peer review and adhering to other professional standards.  Many researchers are required to publish their work in OA journals or repositories as a condition of public funding; others choose to do so as a means of reaching an audience unrestricted by paywalls or other access barriers.   

Some unethical publishers have taken advantage of this model by soliciting and publishing a high volume of articles without providing peer review or other services associated with legitimate OA journals.  These journals exist for "the sole purpose of profit, not the dissemination of high-quality research findings and furtherance of knowledge."  Often referred to as deceptive or predatory publishers, these organizations collect extravagant article processing charges by exploiting researchers who need to publish in order to satisfy tenure-and-promotion or grant-funding requirements. 

Please see some of the following resources to learn more about recognizing predatory publishers.