Recent activity by a journal watchlist has caused concern in the scholarly publishing community. The Think. Check. Submit. Committee advises the community to proceed cautiously and use the checklists provided on its website as an effective and objective way to judge whether or not a journal or book publisher is a suitable place to publish research.
Creating watch lists was one of the first responses to the problem of predatory journals. These lists can appear to be an easy solution and provide a quick answer to the question: ‘Is this a predatory journal?’. However, these watch lists lack transparency and objectivity. It is not always clear which criteria have been used for judging if a journal can be trusted. With little transparency around who has compiled the list, it is difficult to be clear on any possible conflicts of interest and motivations. The binary In/out approach leaves little room for journals that try their best but don’t have the resources to excel. Watch lists are also often static and difficult to keep up to date, which is problematic because new journals are launched all the time. Additionally, some journals may be included in watch lists because their websites are poor due to a lack of resources or understanding.
Think. Check. Submit. (TCS) was created as an alternative to such lists.
Researchers and librarians relying on watch lists do not build up their journal assessment skills in the long term. Think. Check. Submit. provides tools to help researchers assess whether or not a journal or publisher is a suitable venue for their research. The TCS Committee urges the community to use these tools and not rely solely on watch lists.
About Think. Check. Submit.
Think. Check. Submit. is a cross-industry initiative run by members from the following organisations: The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers (ALPSP), Association of University Presses (AUP), Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), ISSN International Centre (ISSN), Ligue des Bibliothèques Européennes de Recherche – Association of European Research Libraries (LIBER), OAPEN Foundation, Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA), International Association of STM Publishers (STM), and UKSG.