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      “Think. Check. Submit.” to avoid predatory publishing

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      Critical Care

      BioMed Central

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          Fraudulent open access publishing is one of the most serious threats to the scientific community [1]. More than half a million articles have been published in so-called “predatory journals”, which apply charges to the authors without providing (sometimes any!) rigorous editorial services [1]. Email spamming, false metrics, exploiting academic identities for fake editorial board positions, and false peer review processes are frequent practices among these journals (Table 1). Predatory publishers and journals attempt to deceive potential authors by offering websites that appear legitimate, editorial boards populated by prestigious investigators, and evidence of indexing in major databases. Young investigators, eager to “publish or perish”, may fail to recognize that such journals are fundamentally fraudulent. Others may turn to such journals if they become frustrated by the tough, long, and sometimes painful slog of peer review required by legitimate journals [2]. Table 1 Common sentences in spam emails from predatory journals Dear Prof. Greetings from Journal of…..!! Based on your research area and previous publications in the relative field, we cordially welcomes you for the Upcoming Issue of... We understand your busy schedule and request you to submit a case report, a short communication or a mini-review with 500 to 900 words… We would like to appreciate your contribution towards the scientific community by publishing your precious work. We have gone through your article and found it very knowledgeable. We’d be truly gratified if you could share your exploration as a Research article, Review article, Case report, Short communication, Conference proceeding or a Thesis with the Journal. Taking your academic background and rich experience in this field into consideration, the Editorial Board believe that you may be the most suitable candidate for this position. As we feel that the scope of your research falls under our Journal. With good minds, I am cordially inviting eminent authors like you for article submission. Predatory publishing has been recently surveyed in the fields of anesthesiology, critical care, and emergency medicine [2]. More than 200 potential or probable predatory journals and 80 publishers were found, comprising 12,871 published articles. The mean author charge per article was US$634.50. Almost half of the reported journals’ office locations were unreliable (e.g., supermarkets, highways, football fields, postal boxes) and many journals reported false listings with the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE) [3], International Committee of Medical Journals Editors (ICMJE) databases, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) [4], or Google Scholar. Only roughly 30% of the journals reported the name of the Editor-in-Chief. Rules for ethics, retraction, and editorial flow are rarely reported. The results were similar to other biomedical specialties, such as neurology, nursing, and dermatology. Of note, six journals were indexed in PubMed. Recently, the “Think. Check. Submit.” campaign has been launched to “help researchers identify trusted journals for their research” [5]. The campaign consists of a checklist that guides researchers through a simple process for assessing the credentials of journals and publishers. Think. Check. Submit. has been produced with the support of several scientific organizations (i.e., COPE, DOAJ, Association of European Research Libraries) and legitimate publishers (i.e., BioMed Central, Springer, Nature). It is available in several languages. Although resources are now available to avoid predatory journals, many aspects of predatory publishing should be further investigated. For instance, feedback from the authors and editorial board members are not available so we can only speculate on the reasons why researchers decided to submit manuscripts to these journals. Meanwhile, education on the risks to authors, investigators, and patients from supporting predatory publication seems the most effective cure.

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          ‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics

          Background A negative consequence of the rapid growth of scholarly open access publishing funded by article processing charges is the emergence of publishers and journals with highly questionable marketing and peer review practices. These so-called predatory publishers are causing unfounded negative publicity for open access publishing in general. Reports about this branch of e-business have so far mainly concentrated on exposing lacking peer review and scandals involving publishers and journals. There is a lack of comprehensive studies about several aspects of this phenomenon, including extent and regional distribution. Methods After an initial scan of all predatory publishers and journals included in the so-called Beall’s list, a sample of 613 journals was constructed using a stratified sampling method from the total of over 11,000 journals identified. Information about the subject field, country of publisher, article processing charge and article volumes published between 2010 and 2014 were manually collected from the journal websites. For a subset of journals, individual articles were sampled in order to study the country affiliation of authors and the publication delays. Results Over the studied period, predatory journals have rapidly increased their publication volumes from 53,000 in 2010 to an estimated 420,000 articles in 2014, published by around 8,000 active journals. Early on, publishers with more than 100 journals dominated the market, but since 2012 publishers in the 10–99 journal size category have captured the largest market share. The regional distribution of both the publisher’s country and authorship is highly skewed, in particular Asia and Africa contributed three quarters of authors. Authors paid an average article processing charge of 178 USD per article for articles typically published within 2 to 3 months of submission. Conclusions Despite a total number of journals and publishing volumes comparable to respectable (indexed by the Directory of Open Access Journals) open access journals, the problem of predatory open access seems highly contained to just a few countries, where the academic evaluation practices strongly favor international publication, but without further quality checks.

            Author and article information

            +390916552730 ,
            Crit Care
            Critical Care
            BioMed Central (London )
            14 November 2018
            14 November 2018
            : 22
            [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1762 5517, GRID grid.10776.37, Department of Surgical, Oncological and Oral Science (Di.Chir.On.S.). Section of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Intensive Care and Emergency. Policlinico Paolo Giaccone. University of Palermo, Italy, , University of Palermo, ; Via del vespro 129, 90127 Palermo, Italy
            [2 ]ISNI 0000000419368956, GRID grid.168010.e, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, , Stanford University, ; Stanford, CA USA
            © The Author(s). 2018

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            Emergency medicine & Trauma


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