Increasingly, we in the academic and publishing community are contacted by, or discover, new journals which seem eerily familiar to extant, reputable journals. Such new journals often present striking similarities to an extant title, and its Aims & Scope, with the potential to confuse prospective authors and readers. Approaches from such journals can take various forms, including an invitation to join the Editorial Board, or to submit an article, coupled with the soliciting of an Author Publishing Charge for the manuscript to be published Open Access.
As an academic, an Editor, or an affected Editorial Board member, we urge you to join us in our campaign to help ensure members of our community are able to recognize established reputable journals with a commitment to assuring ethical publishing, and a questionable journal, so that all authors make informed decisions before submitting. This is particularly important when open access or peer review fees are at stake.
The Think Check Submit campaign conveys this message perfectly, and we recommend sharing this piece with your colleagues. An equally useful resource is the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), a community-curated, online directory that indexes and provides access to high quality, open access, peer-reviewed journals. DOAJ is close to completing an in-depth review of all the journals it lists. There is also useful information about ‘Think. Check. Submit.’ on our website, together with helpful tips for authors. Journal-specific social media accounts can also be very effective in communicating the distinction between an original, reputable and a new journal which imitates the other, and is of concern.
If you become concerned about the existence of a journal with notable similarities to an established title within your academic community, or of which you are an Editor or a member of the Editorial Board, alert your Managing Editor as soon as possible. We shall endeavour to contact the Publisher of the new journal, and ask them to clarify the distinction of their title, for example by altering the name, or amending the Aims & Scope. If the Publisher declines to comply, we would draft a communiqué to be shared with key journal stakeholders, including the Editorial Board, its authors, and members of any related societies.