New online only, open access journals are being created at a rapid pace. Many of them charge high publication fees for papers, which is a departure from much of traditional scientific publishing. The fees and lack of a tangible physical product makes these journals look like "pay to publish" vanity presses. And many open access journals are just scams, as shown by the recent “Predatory publishers are corrupting open access” editorial in Nature. Even some of these journals have genuine scientists who are trying to publish good science, apparently unaware of other suspicious practices by the publisher. How can researchers, particularly early career scientists, determine if a new journal is a “real” journal?
Questions: • How do traditional scientific journals differ from newer open access journals? • How can a researcher tell the difference between a take the money and run publisher and a genuine journal? • How can new open access journals shake off the perception that they are just scamming scientists for the money? • What standards should be used to judge new journals as real scientific platforms?