How to choose a scientific publication for your research
The Aalto University Open Science and Research Policy states that Aalto University aims to publish all publication types according to open access principles by recommending publishing in open access channels or by parallel publishing (green open access).
Attention should also be paid to the reliability of the publication channel. Publishing in a high-quality publication channel will increase the impact of research.
Not sure about the quality of a journal? Consult your research community, or contact [email protected].
Aalto University Open Science and Research Policy
The goals of open science are responsible research and societal impact. Open science means open access to scientific publications, research data, methods, software codes, educational resources, and infrastructures. It is a key instrument for increasing the impact of the research conducted at Aalto University.
Quality assessment of publication channels
There are several tools available to check the reliability and quality of the publication channel. As a rule, the publication channels at levels 1, 2 and 3 in the Finnish Publication Forum listing, as well as the publications indexed in Web of Science or Scopus database, are established and reliable academic publication channels.
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a list of trustworthy Open Access journals. Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) is a community of open access publishers, which members undergo a review process before joining the community.
Reliable publication channels
Characteristics of a reliable journal include:
- Journal has an ISSN
- Journal is included in known databases (i.e. Scopus, Web of Science, UlrichsWeb, DOAJ)
- Scope of the journal is well-defined
- Editor and members of the editorial board are recognized experts in the field
- Journal is affiliated with or sponsored by an established scholarly society or academic institution
- Instructions to authors are clear and comprehensive (i.e. peer review process, author fees, copyright and possible license are clearly described)
- Publisher is a member of OASPA or COPE
Questionable publication channels
The number of questionable publication channels is constantly increasing. So-called predatory journals charge for publishing, but neglect the obligations of the scientific publication, such as rigorous peer review. However, shortcomings in the quality of the editorial work may also be caused by lack of competence or resources.
Characteristics of a questionable journal include:
- Journal scope statement is vague or includes multiple different fields
- Obtrusive direct marketing by e-mail
- Inadequate or lacking peer review
- Inadequate web site: no contact information, shortcomings in instructions to authors (i.e. peer review process, copyrights and author fees
MDPI, Frontiers and Hindawi
Some large Open Access publishers such as MDPI, Frontiers and Hindawi are controversial. The portfolios of these publishers include journals of various quality, from respected to low quality. We advise researchers to carefully consider the quality of single journals of these publishers. The classification of the Publication Forum can be used as a tool in the evaluation. If the journal is at least on level 1, it is considered as a trustworthy publication channel.
Aalto University has an Open Access agreements with MDPI and Frontiers (10 % discount). Some Hindawi journals are included in the Aalto Unviersity’s Finelib agreement with Wiley.
Tools for quality assessment of the publication channels
Publication Forum (Julkaisufoorumi) is a classification of publication channels (journals/series, conferences, book publishers) that is freely available online and maintained by the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies. Publication channels are evaluated by 23 expert panels. Publication Forum classifies publication channels into three categories: 1 = basic scientific level, 2 = leading level, 3 = top level. Publication channel placed on level 0 fails to fulfil one or more of the level 1 criteria at the time of evaluation. At level 0, there may be reliable publication channels such as university series, but also questionable publication channels (so-called predatory journals). The aim of the Publication Forum is to identify suspicious outlets and leave them at level 0. The Publication Forum also contains information on openness of publication channels.
The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture considers Publication Forum as the primary tool for evaluating the quality of a journal, and the quality of publications affects the ministry funding allocated to the university. The Publication Forum classification should not be used for the evaluation of individual researchers.
Journal Impact Factor
One of the most recognized tools for measuring the impact of journals Journal Impact Factor (JIF) listing by Clarivate Analytics. Journal Impact Factors can be viewed through the licensed Journal Citation Reports database, which can be accessed through this link (Aalto username and password required).
Calculation formula for 2019:
A=total cites in 2019
B=2019 cites to articles published in 2017-2018
C=number of articles published in 2017-2018
D=B/C = 2019 Journal Impact Factor
Citescore, SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) ja Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP)
Elsevier offers free access to three journal classifications based on Elsevier’s Scopus database data.
CiteScore calculates the average number of citations. CiteScore 2019 counts the citations received in 2016-2019 to articles published in 2016-2019, and divides this by the number of publications published in 2016-2019.
In addition to the citation quantity, the SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) examines the quality of citations, i.e. the prestige of the citing journal.
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) measures impact by weighting citations in relation to the total number of citations in a subject field.
Plan S is an open access initiative by major research funders. Plan S compliant journals can be found in
Plan S Journal Checker ToolDirectory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is a list of trustworthy Open Access journals.
Directory of Open Access JournalsDirectory of Open Access Scholarly Resources (ROAD) contains journals and other series with an ISSN.
Directory of Open Access Scholarly ResourcesOASPA is a community of open access scholarly publishers. All members undergo a review process before joining the community and must continue to exemplify high standards to remain part of OASPA.
Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)Ulrichsweb Global Series Directory is a list of journals. You can limit your search to peer-reviewed Open Access journals, for example. (Advanced > Limit Your Results > Key Feature)
Think. Check. Submit
Think. Check. Submit. helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research.
Think. Check. Attend.
Think. Check. Attend. is an initiative that aims to guide and assist researchers to judge the legitimacy and academic credentials of conferences.
Publons tools: Journals with the blue tick on Publons list have been vetted by Publons team. Moreover, the list contains information on peer-review and endorsements of researchers.
Journal rating tools based on user experience: