Tag Archive | predatory publishing

Unmasked: Predatory Publishers in Orthopaedics

It’s been more than a year since OrthoBuzz revisited the topic of predatory publishing (see related OrthoBuzz articles), but the comprehensive “Orthopaedic Forum” about this unsavory subject in the November 7, 2018 issue of JBJS warrants our attention.

In a meticulous investigation focused just on orthopaedic literature, Yan et al. found 104 suspected predatory publishers, representing 225 possible predatory journals. That’s nearly 3 times as many bogus publications as the 82 legitimate orthopaedic journals that the authors also identified. Somewhat disturbingly, 20 of the presumably predatory journals were also found to be indexed in PubMed.

The median article processing charge (APC) among predatory journals was $420, compared with $2,900 for legitimate journals. (Lower APCs tend to lure more researchers—especially younger ones—into the scams.) The most prevalent countries of origin of the predatory journals were India, the US, and the UK, while most of the authors publishing in predatory journals were from India, the US, the UK, and Japan. Predatory publishers are clearly taking advantage of the widespread pressure on researchers to publish as an avenue for career advancement.

The authors reiterate previously cited “red flags” that can tip off researchers to possibly predatory journals:

    • Very low article processing fees
    • Spelling and grammatical errors on the journal’s website
    • Overly broad scope
    • Language that targets authors more than readers
    • Promises of rapid publication
    • Dearth of information about copyright, retraction policies, or digital preservation

Yan et al. conclude that “ the scientific community needs to increase awareness of how to identify and avoid predatory journals. This is especially important for junior researchers…”

If you want more information about specific predatory journals, see Table II of the article (“List of Suspected Predatory Journals in the Field of Orthopaedics”), which includes the criteria that prompted the authors to categorize them as predatory.

Jason Miller, JBJS Executive Publisher
Lloyd Resnick, JBJS Developmental Editor

Authors from High-Income Countries Falling Prey to Predatory Publishers

Nature Comment CaptureIt’s estimated that as many as 8,000 predatory journals—which eschew scientific integrity in favor of profits—now exist and that they “publish” a total of more than 400,000 items annually. Conventional wisdom says that researcher-authors who become prey for these journals reside predominantly in the developing world. However, a recent commentary in Nature summarizing findings from an analysis of nearly 2,000 biomedical articles in more than 200 journals thought to be predatory, found that 57% of the corresponding authors hailed from high- and upper-middle-income countries. In fact, corresponding authors in the US—including some from Harvard University, the University of Texas, and the Mayo Clinic—produced more articles in this sample than any other country except India.

We have heard anecdotal reports of relatively experienced US authors being duped into submitting to predatory journals, only to find that, once aware of the situation, they had no recourse by which to withdraw or extract their work.

“In our view, publishing in predatory journals is unethical,” the Nature commentators say, emphasizing that everyone in the research chain—authors, publishers, institutions, and funders—has a responsibility to prevent research from appearing in such journals. The controversial online list of journals and publishers that were potentially, probably, or possibly predatory compiled by university librarian Jeffrey Beall was taken down earlier this year, but according to the commentary, authors can still spot potentially predatory journals by looking out for the following characteristics:

  • Article processing fees < $150
  • Spelling and grammatical errors on the journal’s website
  • Overly broad scope
  • Language that targets authors more than readers
  • Promises of rapid publication
  • Submission of manuscripts via email

For their part, say the commentators, research institutions and funders should train researchers in sound journal-selection practices and carefully audit where grantees and faculty are published by checking journal titles against the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ).

Jason Miller, JBJS Executive Publisher
Lloyd Resnick, JBJS Developmental Editor