Cross-industry campaign launches to help researchers make informed choices about where to publish

The volume of research output continues to grow, and recent years have seen an increase in new publishing services and outlets. In March of this year, the CrossRef database alone included over 71 million DOIs, of which 55 million refer to journal articles from a total of over 36,000 journals. 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.

Think. Check. Submit. is a new campaign 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 individual publishers. The campaign will help researchers understand their options, and key criteria they can check before making an informed decision about where to submit.

It is envisaged that 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, and is 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.

Two articles in BMC Medicine 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.*

“There is a global problem with information inequality and integrity”, said OASPA President Paul Peters, “not all publishing companies operate to the required standards for producing quality literature. Researchers need resources to effectively evaluate these factors. Think. Check. Submit. will help researchers to carefully assess their options in order to make an informed choice before submitting their papers”.

“Not every journal offers researchers the same reach to readers in their field – in a very real sense, the choice of journal can make or break a researcher’s profile among peers”, said Michael Mabe, CEO, STM. “Think. Check. Submit. will support researchers the world over in choosing the right journal to submit their work to.”

The number of active academic journals grows by around 3.5 per cent each year** – in 2014 this equated to almost 1,000 new titles. In terms of regulation, the Directory of Open Access Journals (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.

The ISSN network, coordinated by the ISSN International Centre, identifies and provides a bibliographic description to more than 60,000 new print and online serials per year. An ISSN number in itself is not intended to certify the quality of a serial, and the International Centre has established partnerships with scholarly organizations to promote quality open access resources on its new Directory of Open Access Scholarly Resources – ROAD – which offers a freely accessible description of 12,000 + OA resources including journals, conference proceedings, academic repositories, monographic series and scholarly blogs.

TBI Communications has been selected to manage the launch campaign for Think. Check. Submit. which will take place over the coming months and include a website, supporting materials for authors, publishers, and librarians and social media feeds. Please visit http://thinkchecksubmit.org/ for further information.

The full announcement is here.