Some criteria to use when deciding on whether a journal can be trusted, for purposes of funding, submitting an article, conducting research, serving on the editorial board/as a reviewer, and more.
1. First of all, we recommend using the correct platform for hosting and managing online open access journals. See Slides or Webinar Recording on Open Journal Systems open source software, as an example.
Avoid being regarded as a questionable journal
1. All information on the journal web page should always be up to date.
2. Do not interrupt publication of issues/volumes, and publish on time. A balance should be maintained. Often questionable journals publish large quantities of articles, which is not realistic.
3. Grammar/language use on the journal web page should be correct. The smallest typo can cause doubt.
4. Transparency very important. Be clear in terms of page fees, and do not confuse prospective authors. Indicate the average number of pages an article should consist of, and what the article processing fees/page fees are.
5. You can add information about the journal impact, but that should not be used to “sell” the journal.
6. All research articles should be peer-reviewed by experts in the field.
7. Email, affiliations and country should be clearly indicated for all. Also for the authors.
8. All hyperlinks (linked data) should be active, and resolve correctly.
9. Appearance throughout the journal should be consistent.
10. Each journal is unique, and should therefore have unique policies, adapted for the journal.
11. Clearly indicate the copyright owner/s, and who owns the publishing rights of individual articles.
12. Clearly indicate which usage license applies to each article.
13. The editorial board should be compiled from seasoned researchers active in their fields of expertise.
14. Guard against the same authors submitting articles on a regular basis, as well as editors authoring articles within the journal all the time.
15. Revisit policies and make sure these are up to date and are still relevant.
16. The look and feel of the journal web page should be clean, easy to navigate, and not crowded. Graphics should be of good quality, and in general the page should have a professional feel to it.