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HARC: Helpful Academic Researchers Companion

HARC has been designed to answer the questions researchers ask at every step of the research life cycle

Is the journal legitimate?

You may have been recommended some journal titles to publish in or you may have received offers to publish your article from a journal.

How will you sift out the legitimate or dubious journals?

Think. Check. Submit. is a campaign to help researchers identify trusted journals for their research. The website has been organised and produced by a group of organisations and publishers involved in scholarly publishing - it publishes a simple checklist researchers can use to assess the credentials of a journal or publisher.

Image of Think Check Submit website with a link to it


Other Resources

Your may also wish to examine the features of the journal

  • Aims and scope  - does your article fit within the topical coverage and mission of the journal?
  • Intended audience of the publication
    • Ulrichsweb is a useful database as it can help you assess the target audience of the publication: Is it scholarly, a trade publications, newsletter, website?
    • Peer review - is the journal peer reviewed? Is this blind or double blind?
  • DOI - does the journal assign Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) to the articles they publish?
    • A DOI is the unique ID permanently associated with a particular article and provides a stable and unambiguous link to it therefore improve the discoverability of an item
    • DOIs also helps facilitate linkages between an article and an author's own identifiers, such as a Thomson Reuters Researcher ID or ORCID
    • DOIs can also be tracked by altmetrics tools and can be used to demonstrate the social media buzz surrounding a specific DOI e.g. number mentions in twitter, blogs, facebook etc. and the number of bookmarks to the article on Mendeley and CiteULike.
  • Open access publication - is the journal open access? Would you like your research to be freely available worldwide and accessible to the broadest spectrum of readers possible? What open access options does the journal offer?
    • Gold Open Access where the author pays an up-front article processing fee for their article to be made open access
    • Green Open Access where the author is allowed to publish a version of the article in their website or institutional repository, sometimes after an embargo period. (often publishers allow Green Open Access to the Accepted Manuscript, which is the version that has been peer-reviewed, but doesn't include any of the publisher's formatting. Remember to keep this version for Research Online!)
  • Open access research dataset - does the journal require you to make your research dataset available on Open Access? Journals such as Nature, PLOS etc. now require authors to provide public access to the dataset that their paper is based on. Where possible, Scopus is now linking an article's Scopus record to it's related open access dataset.

If you wish to make your dataset open or available for re-use, check out Research Online as we can provide your dataset with a DOI (refer to your dataset in your paper's reference list) and arrange for it to appear on Research Data Australia.

  • Number of articles/issues published annually - the frequency of issues and the number of articles published annually may affect rejection rates, influence turnaround times for processing articles and impact on the time taken for articles to get published.
  • Rejection rates - what percentage of article submissions are rejected? A high rejection rate may suggest a journal is of high quality but it may also reduce the likelihood of the article getting published in that journal.
  • Turnaround time/backlog - how much time will it take for a submitted article to get accepted and published?

Once you have selected a journal, you can submit your article for publication. If your article is accepted for publication, you will then be asked to sign a publishing agreement. Things to look out for in the agreement: 

  • remember that author's have rights and can ask for changes to the agreement.
  • be aware of third party copyright. Permissions will need to be sought before you include copyrighted material, including images, figures and tables produced by others.
  • does the publisher offer open access (OA) publication?
  • does the publisher allow you to make a version of your paper available on green open access (OA)?
    Publishers generally allow authors to make a copy of your paper available Research Online (institutional repository).
    • either the accepted (post-print) version or
    • the accepted (post-print) version of your article manuscript (with corrections but not including journal typesetting)

PATENT ALERT: Once your work is published, it is in the public domain. For commercially relevant work this may mean that it is no longer patentable. You should check if any valuable intellectual property in your work could be compromised by being published. For further assistance:

FUNDER ALERT: If your publication is an outcome of a project funded by the ARC or NHMRC, it may be need to comply with the funder's Open Access Policies. For each policy, a publication must be made openly accessible within 12 months of it's publication date. If a publication cannot be made openly accessible, a reason must be provided to the funding agency.

How will other researchers find that journal?

Where is the journal indexed? The presence of a journal title in the subject's key databases provides some indication as to the quality of the journal:

Does the journal homepage indicate which database indexes it's contents?


  • check your key databases - is your target journal listed there?

Which target audience would you like to reach?

Personally checking out the publication itself and using a database like ulrich'sweb will provide you with information on the target audience of a journal.

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In particular ECU pays its respects to the Elders, past and present, of the Nyoongar people, and embrace their culture, wisdom and knowledge.