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Now this is not a promotional piece for EJHP, although the impact factors speak for themselves. This is a warning about how to avoid so-called ‘predatory’ publishers and comes after some correspondence with a group of authors who were caught out. Sending your research to such publishers often requires signing away copyright, so it is then not possible to publish elsewhere.
Don’t be flattered by emails inviting you to submit to a journal with a promise of acceptance (I have five such emails this week alone). It is easy to think that it won’t happen to you, but beware!
A research group that I worked with had a narrow escape a few years ago. We wanted to publish a major piece of work in a prominent journal – let’s call it ‘Best Medical Research’ (not its real name). A quick search for the title came up with a link to the Journal of Best Medical Research (first warning sign – looks similar to what we wanted). The details were all filled in and the paper duly sent off. Within 24 hours the paper was accepted (second warning sign) and it came with a request for payment to publish (another warning sign!). As a group we had never paid for publication, and were not novices having published hundreds of papers between us. Fortunately, we were able to withdraw and submit to the correct journal explaining what had happened, and the paper was duly published in our chosen journal after the proper processes.
I have been made aware of a useful website to help you avoid falling foul of predatory publishers. This is a cross-industry initiative called THINK, CHECK, SUBMIT (https://thinkchecksubmit.org/journals/). There are eight headline questions, all with sub-questions, and the form is available in over 40 languages.
Another site also gives advice togther with a list of hundreds of journals considered to be predatory (https://predatoryreports.org/home). Other lists are also available – for example, Beall’s List of Potential Predatory Journals and Publishers (beallslist.net).
So don’t stop publishing, but avoid the predators!
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.