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How can you avoid a “predatory” journal? New research provides guidance

March 16, 2017

It is not uncommon for a researcher to receive dozens of emails from “predatory” journals each week. These emails offer to publish academic research in an open access journal, often with rapid peer-review at a discount. But in many cases, they publish garbage and engage in questionable editorial practices.

Larissa Shamseer, a PhD student, worked with Dr. David Moher and colleagues to establish 13 evidence-based characteristics that researchers can use to help identify predatory journals, based on a detailed evaluation of nearly 300 journals. The list includes items like typos on the journal website, fuzzy or knock-off images, promises of rapid publication, email-based manuscript submission and promoting fake metrics (e.g. Index Copernicus Value).

The full list of identifying features, published in BMC Medicine with a blog, is expected to be particularly valuable with the recent disappearance of “Beall’s list” of predatory journals.

Dr. Moher is a senior scientist at The Ottawa Hospital and associate professor at the University of Ottawa. He also leads The Ottawa Hospital’s Centre for Journalology.

Authors: Larissa Shamseer, David Moher, Onyi Maduekwe, Lucy Turner, Virginia Barbour, Rebecca Burch, Jocalyn Clark, James Galipeau, Jason Roberts, Beverley J. Shea.

Funders: No designated funders, but all researchers at The Ottawa Hospital are supported by The Ottawa Hospital Foundation. Dr. Moher also holds a University of Ottawa Research Chair.

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