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Evaluating Journal Quality — Directories

A guide to the tools and methods for evaluating the quality of scholarly journals. Intended for authors, editors and reviewers.

Overview of Journal Directories

Directories provide authoritative listings of journals. Two directories play useful roles in determining journal quality. The first, Ulrich's Periodicals Directory, is a comprehensive source for basic information on current academic journals and other magazines and serials.  The second, the Directory of Open Access Journals, is the most complete listing for open access journals which have achieved at least basic transparency and best practices. Third is JournalGuide, a journal data

Both directories are described below.

Ulrich's Periodicals Directory

Ulrich's Periodical's Directory is a subscription database of comprehensive information on periodicals published around the world. The University of Connecticut subscribes to this database.


Ulrich's contains many types of information about journals but some of the more useful categories are:

  • Abstracting & Indexing - tells where the journal is indexed. The more widely it is indexed the more discoverable its contents will be. Broad indexing, especially in prestigious indexes like those our library subscribes to, also supports quality assumptions for the title because prestigious indexers are selective about the titles they cover.
  • Reviews - when available, reviews of journals from libraries and independent reviewers are posted in the journal record.


JournalGuide is a free directory of journal profile pages, searchable by key words, journal titles, and disciplines. The tool's purpose is to help authors find quality journals in which to publish and serve as editors and reviewers.

JournalGuide was developed by Research Square which has also developed the Rubriq peer review system.

  • "Verified" status means the journal is included in at least one quality indexing source (such as Scopus or Biosis.) The vetting process is described in detail iin the White Paper linked below.
  • Includes publisher, speed of decision and publication, open access status, impact factor, acceptable rate, etc., when known. 
  • Journal information source is from Scopus

Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

The Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) is an index for peer reviewed, quality open access research journals. It allows membership for open access journal publishers if they pass an evaluation. Part of the evaluation uses the DOAJ's Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing. Journals included in this index have passed this evaluation process, which includes an in-depth application form.


The DOAJ also has a Seal of Approval for those open access journals which achieve a high level of openness, and which adhere to best practices and high publishing standards by complying with 7 conditions:

  • Use DOIs as permanent identifiers;
  • Provides DOAJ with article metadata;
  • Deposits content with a long term digital preservation or archiving program;
  • Embeds machine-readable CC licensing information in articles;
  • Allows generous reuse and mixing of content, in accordance with a CC BY, CC BY-SA or CC BY-NC license;
  • Has a deposit policy registered wíth a deposit policy registry;
  • Allows the author to hold the copyright without restrictions.

The DOAJ maintains a list of journals that have received the Seal.