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New tool to help Southern academics identify trustworthy journals

A tool has been launched to help researchers in the Global South differentiate between reputable journals and predatory publishers.

The Journal Publishing Practices and Standards framework is a collaboration between the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications and African Journals Online, an open access repository.

The organisers bill the tool as a set of “internationally accepted assessment criteria” which will help journals boost quality and researchers distinguish credible journals.

“Ensuring that high-quality Southern journals are trusted as part of local and global scholarship is essential for redressing scholarly imbalances and helping the Sustainable Development Goals to be realised,” said Sioux Cumming, programme manager of the Journals Online project at INASP, in a statement.

South Africa received a shock when a study in the South African Journal of Science found that the country may have paid up to R300 million (US$22.7m) for articles published in predatory journals. South Africa’s government has a subsidy scheme that rewards academics financially for publishing articles.

The JPPS system grades journals according to more than 100 criteria. Journals are assigned a score ranging from no stars to three, as well as “inactive title” and “new title”.

The criteria include originality of research, editorial board practices, peer-review processes and quality-control mechanisms. However, the assessment does not delve into the quality of research presented in the journals, but the quality of the journal itself based on editorial practices.