Avoiding a publishing trap

In an increasingly competitive academic environment, the ability of a researcher to publish their work is paramount, and for a PhD candidate or early career researcher, publishing isn’t always easy or straightforward. There are many traps for the unwary, the most infamous of which is falling victim to a so-called ‘predatory publisher’. These publishers are accused of deceiving unsuspecting authors, performing poor quality or non-existent peer review and publishing ‘junk science’. There are many reasons not to engage with these publishers.

Beall’s list attempts to provide a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. The list has expanded rapidly (from 18 publishers in 2011 to almost 700 in 2015) and the publication output from these publishers has increased exponentially. With this massive expansion, it is arguably getting more and more difficult to maintain a current, complete and comprehensive list.

Rather than trying to provide a definitive list, Think. Check. Submit. aims to help researchers make informed publishing decisions. This online checklist, developed with the support of a coalition of cross-industry sponsors, steps researchers through a series of questions that should be asked when deciding where to publish. Questions such as ‘Are articles [in the journal] indexed in services that you use?’ (such as Web of Science and Scopus) or ‘Do you recognise the editorial board?’, encourage a researcher to think critically and apply their own reasoning skills.

With a bit of research and due diligence, you should be able to find a suitable journal which will showcase your work in the way it deserves. Work through the checklist, consult Beall’s list and have a look at some of the resources listed below. For more information, contact a library specialist.


How to assess a potential publisher (Griffith University)

Research guide: Higher degree research candidates: Get published (Griffith University)

Publishing your research: choosing where to publish (RMIT University)

Guide to publishing (Murdoch University)