What can I do now Beall’s list has gone?

Those of you who use Beall’s list of predatory journals may have noticed that it has vanished. So far there is no official word on the reason for this or whether the information will be listed elsewhere. In the mean time, here are some ways you can make sure you are using a reputable journal:

  • If a journal you don’t know claims to have an impact factor check it in Journal Citation Reports – you can find this by going to Web of Science and clicking the link at the very top of the screen.


  • Alternatively, you can just look a journal up in Web of Science and click the title to see impact factor and other information.


  • Another tool you can use as a clue to quality is SUNCAT. This is a union catalogue of UK university library serial collections. You can look up a journal and see which universities, if any, subscribe to it.


  • Checking on the editorial board is another way of checking on a journal. A quick google search should be enough to tell you if they are reputable academics. One suspicious journal I have looked at had as it’s editors people like B.Jones, California – untraceable!
  • Major indexing systems such as Scopus, Web of Science, Inspec, MLA bibliography and other subject databases all use some form of quality control so journals listed in these should be fine.  The Directory of Open Access Journals also uses some checking criteria to try to exclude predatory journals.


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Does Arxiv satisfy the REF Open Access policy?


Short answer: no. The accepted version of a paper needs to be uploaded to RIS as well.

The HEFCE REF Open Access policy includes “subject based repositories” as a suitable home for open access papers. The associated FAQ state that HEFCE do not stipulate which repositories meet their requirements. One of the best known subject repositories is Arxiv, hosted at Cornell University Library: “Open access to 1,225,076 e-prints in Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics” (at time of writing). These subject areas have a longstanding tradition of open science: scholars publish pre-prints on Arxiv for review which then later may get published in scholarly journals.

Traditionally Arxiv is a “pre-print” server rather than the accepted version (or post-print) that is needed for the REF policy, although sometimes these will also be on the site. Unfortunately at the moment files uploaded to Arxiv cannot be used to satisfy the REF Open Access policy because Arxiv does not record the date of acceptance for a paper and the version of the paper to satisfy the REF OA policy’s technical and audit requirements. We believe discussions are ongoing to try and resolve this but Swansea University researchers need to ensure they follow the guidance for compliance with the open access policy and upload the accepted version of all papers to RIS at acceptance for publication. The university’s own open access policy requires that researchers upload the accepted version of a paper into RIS so this remains the position even when an open version of the paper is on Arxiv.

Guidance on the open access policies is on the web here or SU researchers are welcome to contact the Library Research Team at iss-research@swansea.ac.uk.

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Staff training sessions on Bay Campus in Feb


We are running a few training sessions on the Bay Campus next month for staff:

  • How to use RIS for staff publications = 1-2pm, Wed 1st Feb. An overview of the university’s Research Information System and how this links to staff web pages and the repository Cronfa.
  • Stand Out and Be Counted = 10-1pm, Wed 8th Feb. This session is aimed at researchers with a few publications: “Have you ever wanted some help to promote yourself online and achieve the best visibility for your research?  This half day workshop will explore a number of tools that can help you do this”. You can see the content of a previous session here on the blog to get an idea of what we cover.
  • Who’s Talking about your Research? Using Altmetrics to Explore Impact, Opportunities and Citations = 12-1pm, Fri 24 Feb

Booking is essential – staff can sign up via the normal process for staff development courses in ABW (access via the university’s Home portal). Email us at iss-research@swansea.ac.uk if you need more information!

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Does my conference paper need to go in Cronfa?


Conference papers are published in many formats which makes them tricky to categorise and deal with. This is a brief guide to how to treat conferences in terms of depositing them for the REF.

What is covered by the REF policy?

According to the HEFCE policy only journal articles and conference papers with an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) are included in the policy.

HEFCE are aiming to pick up conferences with journal-like series of proceedings, typically in the sciences.

Conferences that look like books, often with an ISBN and typically in the humanities, are not included in the policy.

What if an item has an ISBN and an ISSN?

This does occur in some cases, for example, in proceedings published in Lecture Notes in Computer Science. HEFCE say that institutions will be expected to use their own professional judgement to determine whether an individual paper is covered by their policy. However, if papers are published in a venue with a self-archiving policy which allows deposit in a repository they encourage authors to deposit them.

How do I tell what is the point of acceptance for a conference paper?

If there is no peer review procedure for a conference the date of acceptance is the date that the conference confirms that the article has been received and will be published in the proceedings.

If there is a peer review process the point of acceptance is when the peer review and editorial process has been completed.

Lecture Notes in Computer Science

Springer have a self-archiving policy which allows deposit in a university archive. Librarians who have asked HEFCE for clarification on LNCS have been told that they are within the scope of the policy and should be included in university repositories.

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A new look for Scopus

Have you used Scopus recently? The interface has been refreshed, giving it a generally less cluttered appearance. ‘Alerts’ and ‘Lists’ are now in the toolbar at the top of the page. Other functions have been moved to what Scopus are calling a “spine” – a sidebar which is activated by clicking a three-line menu icon familiar from many mobile apps.

One particularly interesting new feature is a link on an ‘Author Details’ page which exports an Author’s Scopus profile into SciVal.

A summary of these changes can be found on the Scopus blog.

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Journals not meeting REF requirements


While HEFCE do not intend to restrict your choice of where to publish, there are some journals which do not readily comply with their open access policy so it is worth investigating this before you decide on a journal. Some examples of non-ref-compliant-journals used by Swansea authors are listed here but it is not intended to be comprehensive.

Problems could be:

  • The publisher does not allow you to deposit an accepted manuscript into a repository.
  • Deposit in a repository is permitted but with a longer embargo period than the policy allows (12 months for STEM subjects who submit to REF panels A and B and 24 months for others who submit to C and D).
  • The publisher has no information showing what you can or can’t do.

Checking your journal

  • The first thing to do is to look the journal up in Sherpa Romeo which contains publisher policies for the majority of journals.
  • If you can’t find details there try looking at the journal site itself, looking at links such as open access, copyright, author information to see if you can find out what they allow.
  • If you are still in doubt contact us at iss-research@swansea.ac.uk and we will look into it for you. In some cases it is necessary to contact the publisher.

What are my options if the journal doesn’t meet the requirements?

  • The HEFCE policy allows certain exceptions. The most likely ones to be relevant are:

The publication concerned requires an embargo period that exceeds the stated maxima, and was the most appropriate publication for the output.

 The publication concerned actively disallows open-access deposit in a repository, and was the most appropriate publication for the output.

If either of these apply you would still need to deposit your accepted manuscript in the repository but do not need to make it public until allowed by the publisher. If you apply for this exception you have to explain in the REF submission why “it was the most appropriate publication for the output”. More information here.

  • It may be worth contacting the publisher explaining why you need to deposit your article. Sometimes they are unaware of the requirements, especially if they are not UK based. You may want to use this outline letter-to-publisher-asking-for-permission-to-use-am
  • If you  would find it hard to think of a reason why you need to publish in that particular journal it may be best to consider whether other titles would make a better home for your paper.

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What does an accepted manuscript look like?

The accepted manuscript required for the REF open access policy can take many forms. This post is an attempt to provide some guidance!

The REF and university open access policies require that an author uploads the accepted version (also known as the “post-print” or “accepted manuscript” or “author’s final, accepted manuscript” version) of a paper into RIS at acceptance. This is the minimum requirement – if you ARE allowed to upload the published version under the publisher’s copyright terms (or a creative commons licence if the article was published open access) then you should do so. Publisher copyright for a journal can be checked on the Sherpa Romeo database.

Sherpa Romeo defines the “post print” as:

The final version of an academic article or other publication – after it has been peer-reviewed and revised into its final form by the author

HEFCE also clarify in their FAQ for the REF open access policy:

We ask that access is provided to the version of the article that contains all academically necessary changes arising from peer review and the academic editorial process. Accepted manuscripts do not typically contain the subsequent non-academic alterations arising from copyediting and typesetting, nor do they typically show the journal page numbers and other publication livery present in the published version of record, but for many people wishing to access research findings they do represent an academically sound version of the output.

So we normally advise that the accepted version:

  1. Contains all changes to the paper requested following the peer review process
  2. Is the version that has been agreed with the editor at the point of definite acceptance for publication
  3. Does not contain any publisher formatting = a proof is normally not acceptable
  4. If it is a Word document, it is recommended to save it as a PDF

However, this is not always the case:

  • Some publishers (e.g. Elsevier) make a clearly labelled “accepted manuscript” available and this can be used in RIS/Cronfa
  • Some journal submission systems will apply formatting earlier in the process

You can see some different examples of accepted manuscripts on Cronfa:

If in doubt which version is acceptable, get in touch with the library research support team (iss-research@swansea.ac.uk) and we can help!





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