Have you ever received an email urgently inviting you to submit a manuscript of any kind to the “inaugural edition” of an open access online journal based on your “eminence and expertise in the field”?
Publish or perish. Academics need to publish to advance professionally and share their results with the world. But how many of us, particularly our early-career colleagues, are familiar with the blight of “predatory journals” and fallen for their flattery and persistent emails, perhaps fooled by a name that sounds like a familiar publication? Perhaps more troubling is the behavior of academics who are aware of the fraud, but submit their work to these journals anyway with the promise of near certain acceptance and rapid publication, and/or becoming a journal editor to enhance their credentials.
Predatory journals and publishers encourage authors to submit their work for publication on largely unknown websites that pose as “scholarly journals” with fictional or absent peer-review procedures and nonexistent, unverifiable, or even false impact factors. These so-called scientific journals will publish almost anything – no matter how nonsensical – for a fee that can range into the thousands of dollars per paper. Moreover, because they are not indexed by Thompson Reuters or Medline, their articles are seldom if ever cited.
While it’s true that many highly respected and ethical publishers may also charge open access fees (even JAMA is getting into the business), according to a Federal Trade Commission complaint, predatory publishers exploit scholars and the concept of open access with hidden fees and deceptive and false claims. Indeed, some have become so brazen as to steal the names of legitimate journals outright!
Caveat emptor. I generally advise my mentees and colleagues to submit their scholarly work to journals that: (1) are associated with a legitimate scientific society; (2) are indexed on Medline or Pubmed; (3) have an established impact factor; (4) have a reasonable acceptance rate and time to first decision (not too short, not too long); and (5) are subscribed to by their medical school’s library.
For more guidance, the National Institutes of Health issued a statement on articles resulting from NIH funded research, and the “Think, Check, Submit” campaign developed by the some of the world’s leading scientific publishers has a useful website that can help you choose the right journal for your research here.
Psychosomatic Medicine, founded in 1939, is the official scientific journal of our Society. As an author, manuscript reviewer, and editorial board member for Journal, I am familiar with its reputation for high quality and scientific rigor (~20% acceptance rate; average of <30 day time to first decision; IF: ~3.8). On behalf of Editor-in-Chief Dr. Willem J. Kop and myself, we hope you will consider submitting your best work to Psychosomatic Medicine!
Have you had an experience with a predatory journal?
Share it with us at @connectAPS or simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your permission to post your comments online.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Bruce L. Rollman, MD, MPH
President, APS 2018/19