A checklist for spotting predatory journals
Every morning I wake up to an inbox full of messages. Along with the blogs that I subscribe to, the special offers, and the occasional actual personal message from a colleague overseas, there are those like these (this is an actual message from this morning, I just took out the name of the journal):
"Special Greetings! We would like to request you to submit a 2-5 pages short communication/ Research / Review/ Case Report to the upcoming issue.
Journal of _____is a peer reviewed open access journal, aims to publish high quality basic and clinical research in all the disciplines of Nutrition Science.
Kindly submit your valuable contribution on or before 30 March, 2017. If you are interested, kindly respond to this invitation within 48 hours.
Sincerely, Editor in Chief"
It used to be so easy to spot the fake, predatory journals that advertise in these emails. They used to be full of bad spellings, weird grammar, flowery language and were sent from odd places or were on topics unrelated to my area of work.
Things have changed.
Predatory journals, defined as - open access publishing that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not)- are becoming more sophisticated and can fool even experienced published scientists.
As you well know, if you're a scientist then you experience pressure to publish. The "publish or perish" mantra has sparked this new industry of sky-promising publishing companies looking to scam you out of your time, your money, and your research. The proliferation in the number and sophistication of these scams has increased to the point that it is sometimes hard to tell whether a journal is predatory or not. The sudden disappearance of the famous “Beall’s List” an online roster of journals suspected of predatory practices, has made it more difficult to identify which journals are fake.
Here are some tips to help you spot a predatory journal and avoid getting scammed. Although none of these, by themselves, are foolproof, at least they will help you take a second look and evaluate your journal choices.
1) Identifying and avoiding predatory publishers: a primer for researchers
2) How to identify a predatory publisher:
3) Identifying predatory or pseudo-journals:
4) Understanding predatory publishers:
5) Spotting a predatory publisher in 10 easy steps:
6) PUBMED Fact Sheet:
7) GEOREF Information Services:
8) Discriminating between legitimate and predatory open access journals:
9) Dangerous predatory publishers threaten medical research:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5017830/
10) Predatory journals: Ban predators from the scientific record:http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v534/n7607/full/534326a.html
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Dr. Luz Claudio is an environmental health scientist, mother and consultant, originally from Puerto Rico. She is a tenured professor of environmental medicine and public health. Luz recently published her first book: How to Write and Publish a Scientific Paper: The Step-by-Step Guide. Dr. Claudio has internship programs and resources for young scientists. Opinions expressed in this blog are solely her own and may not reflect her employer's views.