Open Scholarship Department

Resources for Assessing Publishers and Finding a Journal to Publish in.

Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted
journals for their research. It is a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

Open Science Initiative Brief: Deceptive publishing

Deceptive publishing is a practice whereby a company creates a journal on false pretenses for the purposes of defrauding authors, helping authors deceive their colleagues, or both.

Journal Citation Reports (JCR): Science Edition

Journal Citation Reports (JCR): Science Edition is the leading authority for evaluating the impact of cited references in science and indexes over 5,900 international science journals.

Cabell's Directory of Publishing Opportunities

Cabell's Directory of Publishing Opportunities provides contact information, publication guidelines, and other information to help professors and students get their manuscripts published.

Considerations for Undergraduate Researchers

Anyone who presents at a conference could receive an e-mail inviting them to publish their research. Unfortunately, disreputable (predatory) publishers sometimes send unwanted e-mails to conference presenters, including undergraduate students, who are not aware of the problems caused by disreputable OA journal publishers.

Undergraduates interested in publishing their research in a journal also need to evaluate the journal to ensure that the journal, and its publisher, are reputable. There are journals that publish undergraduate research. They can be published by honor societies in a field or university presses. The links below provide information on college honor societies, some of which publish journals, and journals that publish undergraduate research.

Checking for Quality

It is important for scholars to determine the quality and reputation of the journals to which they submit their work for publication.  Just as with subscription journals, there are unscrupulous OA publishers who spam scholars via email with tempting offers to submit journal articles and/or serve on editorial boards. Read more.

Below are criteria for evaluating a specific journal, as well as links to organizations that evaluate publishers and journals.

Journal Criteria

  1. Caliber of the research published.

  2. Read over a few articles to assess the quality.

  3. Peer review process as described on the journal's web site.

  4. Consider contacting published authors about their experience.

  5. Composition of the editorial board and staff.

  6. Are editors recognized experts, and are their affiliations provided?

  7. Ease of finding contact information for the publisher, including a street address and phone number (not just a contact form).

  8. Caution that some unscrupulous publishers include a fake address or an address for a private home to deceive readers

  9. Metrics of quality for the journal (i.e. impact factors, article-level metrics, or other trusted measures).

  10. OA journals: Transparency of journal's policy on charging for OA publication, and the amount of the charges.

  11. Copyright ownership for published content.

  12. Beware of open access journals that require all copyrights to be transferred to the publisher. True OA means the author retains their copyright via a Creative Commons or comparable license.

Appraisal by the Industry

There are many organizations that vet individual journals and publishers, which may help authors assess legitimacy.
While exclusion from any of these services does not necessarily mean that a publisher is not reputable, authors may consider:

  1. Is the journal indexed in PubMed, Web of Science, Scopus, or other literature indexes in your field?

  2. Is the journal or publisher a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)?

  3. Does the journal have an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)?

  4. Does the journal have an ISI impact factor, SNIP, SJR, or eigenfactor ranking? Beware of unrecognized ranking systems, often designed to mimic existing metrics.

Additionally, if it's open access:

  1. Is the journal included in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) or the Directory of OA Scholarly Resources (ROAD)?

  2. Is the publisher a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA)?

  3. Has the publication been evaluated by scholars in the Quality Open Access Market?

Metrics Toolkit

  • The Metrics Toolkit is a resource for researchers and evaluators that provides guidance for demonstrating and evaluating claims of research impact. With the Toolkit you can quickly understand what a metric means, how it is calculated, and if it’s good match for your impact question.

The University Library supports scholars in publishing Open Access pre-prints and accepted manuscripts in order to make all UTRGV research as widely available as possible. But for that extra discoverability, below are tools and platforms that can help connect you to other scholars in your field, and define how your research appears on the open web (such has in Google Scholar or ORCID profiles). 


  • ORCID provides a persistent digital identifier that distinguishes you from every other researcher and, through integration in key research workflows such as manuscript and grant submission, supports automated linkages between you and your professional activities ensuring that your work is recognized.

Google Scholar Profiles

  • Google Scholar Profiles provide a simple way for authors to showcase their academic publications. You can check who is citing your articles, graph citations over time, and compute several citation metrics. You can also make your profile public, so that it may appear in Google Scholar results when people search for your name, e.g., Richard Feynman.
  • Best of all, it's quick to set up and simple to maintain - even if you have written hundreds of articles, and even if your name is shared by several different scholars. You can add groups of related articles, not just one article at a time; and your citation metrics are computed and updated automatically as Google Scholar finds new citations to your work on the web. You can choose to have your list of articles updated automatically or review the updates yourself, or to manually update your articles at any time.

Clarivate ResearcherID

  • Register on Publons and import your Web of Science publications to become eligible for a Web of Science ResearcherID.
  • Each night, Publons assigns a Web of Science ResearcherID to any profiles with one or more Web of Science Core Collection-indexed publications that do not yet have a ResearcherID.
  • Any publications you add to your Publons profile will then be linked to your Web of Science ResearcherID when anyone searches for you on Web of Science. Please allow up to two weeks for changes you make on Publons to be reflected on Web of Science.

The University of Texas System policies

Intellectual Property Policy"The University of Texas System Rules and Regulations of the Board of Regents Rule: 90101"

Office of General Counsel Intellectual Property, including copyright.The University of Texas System.

Use of Copyrighted Materials-UT System "The University of Texas System Wide Policy - UTS 107"

Publishing and copyright ownership - Understanding your options

Before you sign an agreement, take a moment to think about what you want to do with the work in the future. Will your publishing contract allow you to do those things?

As the author of a scholarly work, you are also the original copyright owner in that work. When it comes to how that work is reused by others (copied, distributed, etc.), you are in charge! You are free to make copies of your work and give them away, post them online in an institutional repository, or create derivatives based on the work. When you publish the work, however, this could change and you could lose the right to do some of these things freely depending on what you agree to in the publishing contract!

As an author you may face one of the following options when publishing your work:

1. Author assigns/ transfers copyright to the publisher. Historically, this has been the most common option. Many academic publishers require that an author assign his copyright in a work to the publisher. In this scenario, when you want to reuse your article, such as by making copies to give to colleagues, distributing copies to students in a class, archiving it in an online repository, or even adapting the article into a conference presentation, you will face the same limitations on reuse that you would when you need to reuse someone else’s work. You will likely need to get permission to reuse the article from the publisher unless your proposed activity qualifies for a copyright exemption, like fair use.

The law allows for the termination of transfer during a certain period after publication, in order to give authors control over their early works that they may have signed away rights to. One tool is the website

2. Author retains some rights by:

Granting exclusive licenses: Not all publishing agreements involve the complete transfer of rights. In some cases, rather than asking for a transfer of rights, a publisher may request an exclusive license to exercise specific rights. For example, if a publisher asks for the exclusive right to publish a work, the author retains his copyright ownership, but grants the publisher the exclusive right to copy and distribute the work. Since the license is “exclusive,” the author cannot grant this license to anyone else and would need to get permission from the publisher to reproduce or distribute that work. Since this is not a complete transfer of the author's copyright, it is possible for the author may retain the right to do other things with the work, such as create derivatives based on the work.

Using an “Author Addenda”: It is also possible to customize your publishing agreement using an "Author Addenda". These addenda often grant the author a non-exclusive license to reuse a work. Licenses are usually limited to specific types of activities, such as allowing a copy of an article to be uploaded to an institutional repository. A license of this type may come with additional limitations such as specifying that only a “pre-print” version of the article that can be uploaded to the repository. There are model agreements available to help authors sort out the details. (See links below.)

3. Author keeps all copyright. Complete transfers or assignments of copyright ownership and exclusive licenses are not always necessary for publication. It is possible for you to maintain ownership over your copyright and give the publisher a non-exclusive license to publish your work instead. These types of arrangements are common among open access publishers, quite often using a Creative Commons License.

Author's Alliance

Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine

SPARC Author Addenda

Contract Language and Definitions

NIH sample copyright language

More Information about licenses and copyright transfers

Data Management Plans

A Data Management Plan (DMP) describes data that will be acquired or produced during research; how the data will be managed, described, and stored, what standards you will use, and how data will be handled and protected during and after the completion of the project.
USGS Data Management Plans


Data Repositories

ScholarWorks @ UTRGV

  • ScholarWorks @ UTRGV is the institutional repository hosted by the library. It hosts articles, primary sources, digital collections, theses, and datasets. 



Open Science Framework (OSF)

  • OSF is a free, open source web application that connects and supports the research workflow, enabling scientists to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their research. Researchers use OSF to collaborate, document, archive, share, and register research projects, materials, and data. OSF is the flagship product of the non-profit Center for Open Science.

Google Dataset Search

  • Datasets put into the above repositories and others will often appear in the Google Dataset search. 

Contact Us

Justin White

Justin White
Scholarly Communications Librarian
(956) 665-2765
ELIBR 1.120F

Gabby Hernandez

Gabby Hernandez
Open Education Librarian
(956) 665-2756
ELIBR 1.120G

William Flores

William Flores, MSIS
Scholarly Communications Librarian
(956) 665-7117
ELIBR 1.120

Richard Quiroz

Richard Quiroz
Digital Scholarship Librarian
(956) 665-2754
ELIBR 1.120