Leading up to 2010, the Australian Research Council’s Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) initiative categorized journals (and conferences) into four categories A*, A, B, and C (see this Wikipedia page for details).

C-ranked journals (with the lowest ranking) are described as journals:

that do not meet the criteria of higher tiers

which is not particularly informative.

I’m not sure if this initiative excluded journals that would be considered predatory (check your email spam folder for examples of predatory journals). B or higher ranked journals would not be predatory, as there are people who vouch for them as containing some high-quality publications. I’m not sure how the C journals were included.

Question: Does inclusion on the ARC ERA 2010 journal list imply the journal is not a predatory journal?

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    Do you mean "is not" or "was not in 2010"? Because journals can change (see e.g.) – ff524 Jan 19 '16 at 6:31
  • To be honest, I didn't even think about the distinction. I want to know about journals as they stand now, e.g., if a journal I don't know sends a request to review review a paper. (I wonder if it's a common occurence for non-predatory journals to turn predatory?) – Rebecca J. Stones Jan 19 '16 at 7:10
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    In general terms I would assume that any list like this is effectively a whitelist - there's a minimum inclusion standard - because otherwise the bottom category would include "everyone else" rather than a named set. But I can't speak to the ARC list specifically. – Andrew Jan 19 '16 at 8:36

There are various point systems that I've seen used that assign rewards based on the number of publications at A*, A, B, and C levels. Also, as the Wikipedia page says, proposals for inclusion needed to have endorsement by academics. Thus, my starting assumption would be that a journal with a C ranking was considered by the ARC to be legitimate, and therefore not predatory.

Of course, it's possible that some of those assessments were incorrect or a journal could change its practices over time. And there are a range of pay-to-publish journals where the practices are in a grey area (e.g., publishing mixed or low quality work). So I don't think that knowing that a journal is ranked C is enough. If you are submitting your work, you should know more about a journal than that. But it might be a reasonable working assumption for administrative purposes.

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