Evaluating an OA journal you haven't heard of
A general advise by Peter Suber
April 28, 2017
I don't know [Journal or Publisher]. But I'd start by checking to see whether [Journal] is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)<http://doaj.org/>, which tries to include all honest, peer-reviewed OA journals and exclude the dishonest ones.
I'd also check to see whether [Publisher] belongs to the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) <http://oaspa.org/>, which excludes publishers who do not live up to its code of ethics.
Some honest, high-quality OA journals are not yet listed in the DOAJ, and some honest, high-quality OA publishers do not yet belong to OASPA. But we should encourage them to do so. If your investigation of [Journal and Publisher] doesn't turn up evidence you trust one way or another, then follow the rule to avoid journals that aren't listed in the DOAJ and avoid publishers who aren't members of OASPA. Don't hesitate to tell them that this is your criterion. (For example, "I'll join your board once [Journal] is listed in the DOAJ and [Publisher] joins OASPA.") That will give them an incentive to join, and live up to DOAJ-OASPA standards.
I'd also consult the criteria at Think-Check-Submit <http://thinkchecksubmit.org/>, and the reviews at JournalReviewer <http://journalreviewer.org/> and Journalysis <http://www.journalysis.org/>, and Quality Open Access Market <http://www.qoam.eu/>.
Since this is a journal in your field, look at the names of people on the editorial board. Do you recognize and respect them? Above all, read some of the journal's articles, and network with trusted colleagues to do the same. Are the articles good, by your standards? Would you be proud or embarrassed to be associated with them?