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Recognizing fake journals

It is not always easy to distinguish a respectable from a dubious journal - often their websites look very professional. Sometimes a journal is given a name similar to that of a well-known professional journal: predatory publishers hope that researchers will confuse the names. Often a Journal Impact Factor is quoted even though the journal is not ISI-indexed and therefore has no Impact Factor, or dubious and intransparent metrics such as a "General Impact Factor" are used to suggest quality.

If you want to check the reliability of a journal, follow these steps:

1. Check if you can find the journal in Cabells Blacklist (access via DBIS).

2. Check if you can find the journal in Scopus, Web of Science or DOAJ, or if the publisher appears in the OASPA list of reputable Open Access publishers:

Web of Science und Scopus (accessible via DBIS): Both databases index only journals that meet certain quality standards such as peer review.

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ): DOAJ only indexes Open Access Journals that have been checked against numerous criteria. 

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) maintains a list of reputable Open Access publishers who are accepted as members after a rigorous review process and regularly checked for compliance with the required criteria.

3. If the journal does not appear in any of the above databases, review the journal against the following criteria (list in German).

4. Search the journal on the Internet to find out about any discussions about it in the professional community or, as in the case of OMICS, any ongoing legal suit against the publisher.


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