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Research Experience for Undergraduates in Computer Science: Judging publication quality


Use this information to find top journals in a field to keep on top of the research, or to research publishing opportunities for yourself.

Is it Refereed/Peer-Reviewed?

Checking peer-review using Ulrichs

It's a jungle out there!

Common predatorial tactics

The "publish or perish" culture has turned scholars into prey, and the predators that have arisen out of this culture are publishers looking to cash in on our desire to have our research known. They learn how we research quality and adjust their tactics. Do not rely on years-old advice of how to spot predators - always be skeptical. Here are some of their recent tactics:

  1. Lies about where they're indexed
    • Researchers use scholarly indexes (ACM, IEEE, Web of Science, and more) to find scholarly publications. Many publishers will claim to be indexed there, but aren't actually!
    • Check Ulrich's periodical directory to find out exactly where a journal or conference proceeding is indexed. 
    • Google Scholar is not a legitimate index to use to judge whether a publisher is a quality publisher. Like Google, it indexes everything without any thought to quality.
  2. Over-publishing issues. 
    • If they say they're quarterly, do they actually publish only 4 per year? Look closer, sometimes one volume may only have 4 issues, but they might have all been published in the same month.
  3. Huge editorial boards, or none at all.
    • Look in the CVs of people on the boards - do they brag about it on their CV? If it's a legitimate journal that they're legitimately on the board of, they will!
    • I've seen hundreds of members on an editorial board who only talk about publishing in that journal on their CV, not of membership on the board. I think these publications are getting smarter by at least learning to list people who have some relationship to the journal (even if its not editorial).
    • I've also seen blank pages, or boards that consist only of people who work at the publisher.
  4. Lies about membership in industry initiatives and associations. They learned we look for this, so they've started claiming membership, but don't actually qualify. So double-check.