An academic journal is a periodical publication dedicated to disseminating advancements and thought within a given academic field. Most such journals are in fields that fall under the general heading of science, but there are other fields where similar processes apply, such as law and engineering.
Where they are legitimate, these journals provide very important parts of the scientific process, including peer review and (of course) publication; before the invention of electronic media and the ability to easily broadcast publications on the internet, they were an absolutely essential part.
Unfortunately, also due to the ease of internet publication combined with the existence of a market for illegitimately-obtained scientific credibility, a number of online pseudojournals have emerged. These generally exist primarily for either of the following reaons:
- to give credibility to pseudoscientific ideas and findings
- to absorb funds from legitimate scientists looking for a publication venue
The number of legitimate scientific journals is enormous, and there are a number of organizations which provide listings. It is not currently clear whether any of these listings are publicly available.
Journals known for breaking one or more principles of professional/scientific discipline in their publishing practices include:
- Acts & Facts -  (Institute for Creation Research, a creationist organization)
- Answers Research Journal -  (Answers in Genesis, a creationist organization)
- BIO-Complexity -  (dedicated to creationism)
- De Novo -  created by Melba Ketchum specifically to publish her Yeti DNA paper
- Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons
- Nonrecommended Periodicals (by Stephen Barrett, M.D. at QuackWatch): these "promote misinformation, espouse unscientific theories, contain unsubstantiated advice, are insufficiently skeptical, and/or fail to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources of advice."
The legitimacy of the following journals is uncertain, and awaits more evidence.
- Journal of 9/11 Studies
- Open Civil Engineering Journal (Bentham Science Publishers)
- Open Chemical Physics Journal (Bentham Science Publishers)