Predatory journals can affect global research!

Negative Effects of “Predatory” Journals on Global Health Research
Forero DA et al. Negative Effects of “Predatory” Journals on Global Health Research. Ann Glob Health. 2018 Nov 5;84(4):584-589. PMID: 30779504

Our blogs have covered predatory journals earlier, but there is always more to learn on this topic.

This article has a great abstract giving the most important information about predatory journals. If anyone has read this term for the first time, this paragraph gives them all they need to know. Predatory journals exploit the “Open Access concept” in negative ways – acceptance of practically anything – including bad stuff, and publishing without peer review. And by doing this, they are the source for propagating wrong science, wrong medicine, and any wrong information. Forero and colleagues then move on to elaborating on the negative implications of these journals. To start with the authors mention how predatory journals being free, inexperienced authors read them and then cite them in their papers. The general public too has easy access to predatory journals and can easily end up reading wrongly done research and get influenced by their findings. This not only means a spread of “junk science” but also leads to countries of these putlications getting a lower ranking in academic ranking systems like Scimago.

Then there are suggestions for authors who are not very familiar with the publishing process and are thus inexperienced. They stress on the importance of going through some articles of any journal, to assess the quality, before thinking of submitting an article for publication. Checking where a journal is indexed, can help to identify its genuineness. They recommend an international initiative called “Think. Check. Submit.” (http://thinkchecksubmit.org) that provides several recommendations to potential authors. And they also caution people to be watchful in accepting “editorial board invitations” from such journals, because it is tempting to accept “a position” but then if you do, you are contributing to poor science!

Next they come up with recommendations for Institutions engaging in improving publications (like COPE, DOAJ etc). They suggest that such agencies must maintain a list of predatory journals, and explore together how to curb the growth of predatory journals and people publishing in them.

Finally they suggest that Universities should develop all possible strategies for authors to stop them form publishing in predatory journals, and clearly mention that such publications are not counted for an author’s credentials. And countries where authors cannot afford the Open Access journals’ APC (Author Processing Charges) should come up with funding to support these, and that OA journals should also do more to subsidize APCs for such countries.

They conclude by saying that predatory journals being completely commercial, have to be monitored by national / international agencies involved in checking financial activities of such organizations. These bodies must take necessary action against such journal offices.

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