By Tanuj Kalia

A lot of law students think that a “Journal with an ISSN number” is something special, that getting a publication in a law journal with an ISSN number is ‘the’ thing.

Why does an ISSN number make a law journal any better?

The fact is that ANYONE, even you, even can get an ISSN number.

An ISSN number does NOT denote any ‘quality check’ whatsoever.

It is just an ‘identification’ number.

Even the official website says this:

    An ISSN number is a digital code without any intrinsic meaning:

        it does not include any information about the origin or contents of the publication,

        it does not guarantee the quality or validity of the contents.

See the ISSN website here.

The website of the Indian center of ISSN is here.

Some law journals have started charging students hefty amounts (Rs. 2500-3000) for publications, advertising thus: “Hey! Your paper is going to be published in a journal with an ISSN Number.”

Don’t buy into this sh*t!

Some people maybe genuine and the money maybe needed for some journal related works/tasks. That’s alright. But beware!

issn number, lawctopus, law journal

So, what sort of ‘publication’ will have a CV value?

Please note that if your CV is full of bullet points mentioning dozens of publications in Tom, Dick and Harry journals, it’s not going to add much value to your profile.

Please understand what a publication in a good law journal (ISSN or NOT) indicates. It indicates that you can research and write well (two essential qualities of a good lawyer) and if you have a good number of quality publications it means that you’ve been academically inclined and hard-working (two other essential qualities of a good lawyer).

Some journals have built a name for themselves. JILI, for example. Publication in such and in law journals of colleges like NLSIU, NALSAR, NUJS etc. will always hold you in good stead.

Choose yourself!

But what about other law journals? What should you do if you have a good, well-researched paper, which has been not accepted in these journals, but can be published by a good law journal.

By all means, do send your paper to the other journals as well, but beware of these salesman of law journals (ISSN Number! Get your paper published for Rs. 3000 only! Scholarship is on sale!). Most of these law journals are making a good buck out of your insecurities.

You can even maintain a blog of your own and publish your papers there. Choose Yourself! And during an internship, just direct some of your colleagues to your blog. If they are impressed, you are in for good news.

Long story short: Beware of those who are alluring you with an ISSN number and asking money for publication.

PS- we are soon launching a law journal of our own. And it will have an ISSN number, because, well, anyone can! ISSN is a useful thing for publishers and librarians.

NOTE [UPDATE]: UGC is a fan of the ISSN Number

Soham Banerjee from RGNUL tells us: Journals which cost money require that money be paid before publication as a charge for considering the paper and other expenses like language editing.

Any journal taking money after acceptance is thief and authorities should be informed for taking steps as in the Indian scene, a publication with an ISSN number has value if you want to be considered for the job of a professor under UGC.

Hence the craze and the earning.

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  1. While searching for quotes similar to how I feel about ISSNs, I stumbled across your website and this article. I agree that there is no need for an ISSN for the sake of having it as it’s use is only for cataloging, however, I for sure will use one whenever possible because it’s true-readers believe a publication is a good source of information when combined with these little numbers. What can I say? My goal is to be read; ISSN it is! I’m sharing your link and will continue to visit in the future. Best wishes. ~Teraisa

    • We are not ‘advertising’ that academike has an ISSN number. We just found it necessary to get an ISSN number so that people actually submit their papers. If we do not agree with something doesn’t mean that we can boycott it straightaway.

  2. Dear Tanuj, keeping in mind the lack of significance of an ISSN number, and the fact that asking for money is not reflective of a journals quality, how do we decide what a good journal is? Are there any specific factors/characteristics to look for? Also, how do we determine the quality of journals from the limited knowledge that we get from the “call for papers” and the journals website? Lastly, is it possible to make a list of all journals that are of good quality, both Indian and international, and which are also available to Indian students to publish in?

    • Hi Madhav,

      Some of us had a nice discussion on this on Facebook.

      We reached a conclusion that it’s (at least, for now) not possible to rank and rate the law journals and come out with a list. (It is possible if someone like UGC takes a mammoth effort to construct this, but we are being too idealist if we think that’s going to happen).

      However, it is possible to come out with a ‘negative list’ of the pathetic law journals (with proven plagiarized publication, asking for fees for publication or dubious editorial records).

      Our suggestion is that UGC creates a body to which anyone can ‘complain’ using a set form/format/procedure. Based on the complaint such a negative list can be generated and publications therein be declared null.

      PS-UGC does such a thing for colleges.

  3. Thanks for giving such a deep insight to the topic… an eye-opener for students and other academician who might otherwise waste their valuable research on ‘cheating journals’.

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