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As per the title, I would like to determine whether a paper cited by a student comes from a reputable source or not, given that the paper's content lies outside my field. My first thought was to check the journal's website, as well as doing a Google Scholar search to see whether papers in other reputable journals cite papers from this one.

The particular case I am concerned with is a Psychology paper, appearing in AllPsych Journal [sic]. All the journal's webpage says is that:

The educational articles and papers published in AllPsych Journal are written by mental health professionals, psychology students, psychology instructors, and other authors outside the field of psychology. * They represent problems, solutions, and suggestions about everyday life and its relation to psychology. For submission consideration, please contact us via our feedback form.

This seems dubious to me, but nonetheless, a Google Scholar search suggests that some reputable looking publications have cited works appearing in this journal.

I suppose I have two questions then:

  1. Are there any other techniques I can use to assess the quality of journals outside my field for this purpose. Ideally these should take relatively little time.
  2. Is this specific journal considered reputable in psychology?
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The general form of your question seems to be covered by this question: How do you judge the quality of a journal?. –  badroit Mar 19 at 19:19
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@badroit That question covers how to assess the quality of a journal in one's own field, and the answers have suggestions like "look at where your colleagues publish". This question concerns assessing the quality of papers outside one's field. –  John Doucette Mar 19 at 19:28
    
Okay, might be worth clarifying that in the question (I still think many of the pointers in the other question apply equally here). –  badroit Mar 19 at 19:33
    
@badroit it does say this in the title, but I have added a bit more in the text. –  John Doucette Mar 19 at 19:40
    
The authors have no affiliation listed. I took a quick look at these look roughly of the quality of good student essays: they give a good review of the literature, but they don't bring brilliant new ideas to the table. Your student could follow them to the original source, and cite that. –  Ana Mar 19 at 21:40

2 Answers 2

up vote 15 down vote accepted

This question concerns assessing the quality of papers outside one's field.

The question seems to be more leaning towards the quality of journals outside of one's field. Here's a brief list of pointers (some of which also appear in this question):

The last point is particularly important. Though it is easy to discover if a journal is excellent or terrible, in between those extremes, there's a lot of grey. For example, new journals may be much-needed and drawing quality work from quality people, but they won't have a high h-index or an impact factor, etc.

For those grey areas, talking to an expert who knows the field is important.

AllPsych Journal

This doesn't seem to be a formal journal, but rather an informal way for authors to publish educational articles online. All papers are published on the web-site, there's no mention of an editorial board, a publisher, a means of submission, etc.

Of course, this says nothing of the quality/utility of the papers published there: just that it would probably not count in academic circles as a "traditional journal".

For the quality of a paper itself independent of the venue, check how many citations it has in Scholar versus it's age, check the nature of those citations, check the h-index and background of the authors, etc. (Of course these methods are only an approximation for reading it and making up your own mind as to its quality, but since it is outside your area ...)

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find out if the publisher is reputable (Elsevier, [...]) ahem... Elsevier does have many good journals, but first check en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsevier#Criticism_and_controversies –  Federico Poloni Mar 19 at 20:04
    
Thanks for your extensive answer. Regarding to Australian ranking, according to theconversation.com/… since 2011, the Australian government has abandoned this system of ranking journals –  Name Apr 5 at 5:44

@badroit already gave a very good answer on the general question.

As to the specific question about AllPsych: this is not a journal per se, it is only a website with submissions from different people run by one person, apparently without any peer review, see here. I would rate this as only marginally better than Wikipedia. Whether it is admissible as a source in a student paper could be treated the way you treat Wikipedia entries.

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