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Academics urged to stop submitting their papers to ‘predatory journals’ motivated by money

Scientific journals that don’t properly review papers before publishing them are damaging the industry’s reputation, experts warn. This has to do with the very fact that scientific journals aren’t just any other ordinary document. When published, they tend to have that sense of authority, whereby its readers put so much trust into it. After all, these scientific journals have far-reaching implications for society in general. You wouldn’t want to send out a message that does not have any factual basis at all.

Research is, in fact, important to the medical society in detecting diseases, curing and helping the lives of others, and sending out information to the public. But, this information has to be really accurate.

What Are Predatory Journals?

The ‘predatory journals’ are accused of having dangerously low standards and publishing papers simply to make money. It’s safe to say that, unfortunately, these journals don’t care so much about having sufficient control over the information they put out. As long as the money comes in, then it’s alright that academic papers are misused and abused. This is the beginning of faulty journalism.

Red Flags Of Predatory Journals

Although they didn’t name the journals, the scientists listed red flags that should discourage researchers from using certain publications. When you’re browsing through a wide variety of journals, should you come across any of these red flags, then it is better to go for another journal instead. That way, all the efforts that you went through for your academic paper simply doesn’t go to waste.

Some of these red flags include the following:

  • Ones that have near-identical names to respected journals
  • Those with shabby websites
  • Those with dubious contact details

You must avoid these journals at all costs.

Warnings Made By The Experts

The scathing comment was published by experts from the American Medical Writers Association, the European Medical Writers Association and the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals. Scientists have been warned not to get lured into sending their work to poor quality journals in a bid to get published, with experts saying the sub-standard publications are damaging the reputation of people working in the field. When you’ve put so much effort into creating an excellent academic paper, why run the risk of partnering with a shady journal? As early as now, you wouldn’t want your academic paper to lose its trustworthiness.

Researchers may be tempted to submit to less prestigious journals so they can say they’ve been published, but should avoid doing so, the organisations said. ‘The conscious and deliberate submission of manuscripts to predatory journals is not ethical,’ the organisations said. ‘Medical writers and editors, as well as researchers, have a responsibility to evaluate the integrity, history, practices, and reputation of the journals to which their research is submitted. With this, it’s better to wait it out a little and ensure that predatory journals don’t t feast upon your efforts. Else, legitimate research that is carried out with the best of intentions might be lost.


More than 400 scientific studies should be withdrawn because they may have been based on organs harvested from dead prisoners in China, according to experts from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. Transplant trials are thought to have been conducted on hearts, livers or lungs taken from executed criminals and political prisoners who died in the Asian nation.

China is believed to have the highest execution rate in the world and, until 2015, death row inmates were routinely used as a source of organ donation against their will. But experts say studying these body parts is unethical and papers which don’t specify where organs came from should be retracted.

The researchers were concerned with 445 papers published in English language journals. This concern is also precisely why research bodies, such as ARTiFACTS, demand for more stringent approaches to the publishing of academic research.

The studies from between 2000 and 2017 involved data from 85,477 organ transplants in China. But the vast majority did not report whether the tissues had been taken from executed prisoners (92.5 per cent) or if donors had given their consent (99 per cent). Professor Wendy Rogers, lead author of the study, said the findings were ‘morally concerning’, the British Medical Journal reported. It helps show that the lack of measures of protection on academic research is simply putting its viability to waste.

She added scientists and journal editors and publishers had showed ‘a significant lack of vigilance and failure to stick to accepted ethical standards’.  ‘Dangers to authors also exist in that their reputations can be damaged as a result of having their work published in predatory journals or being unknowingly “appointed” to their editorial boards.

Risks Of Submitting To Predatory Journals

‘Furthermore, authors may find themselves trapped after submitting an article to a predatory journal. ‘There is a potential risk that some journals might not return submitted manuscripts or will publish a submitted paper even after an author has protested.’

The team published their ‘joint position statement on predatory publishing’ in the journal Current Medical Research and Opinion. Scientific journals operate on a peer-review system in which academics’ work is read by other experts in the field to decide how well the research was done.

Studies that were poorly carried out or results that were misinterpreted by the scientists may be rejected and not published. ‘Predatory’ journals that don’t bother with a rigorous peer-review system could end up publishing inaccurate or poor quality research. The organisations said in their editorial that the journals ‘intentionally misrepresent’ normal practices and will ultimately only harm the industry. They admitted a large increase in the number of journals over the past 15 years had made it more difficult to tell which ones were respectable.

Those which ‘aggressively solicit researchers’ were among the culprits, they said, as well as ones promising ‘unrealistically quick’ review, with a lack of transparent pricing, claims of unusually broad coverage or from companies with a large number of new journals.

Dr. Robert Matheis, from the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP), added: ‘Professional medical communicators and publication planners must be aware of the serious threat predatory publishing poses to scientific literature.

‘ISMPP’s participation in this joint position statement is part of our commitment to educating our members about predatory publishing and how to address this significant issue.’

Final Word / Conclusion

For the importance that it holds in society, it’s important that scientific journals should go through the process of review before they are published for the general public to read and go through. In essence, it’s like going through a quality control process. Else,  it can be safely said that when journals are published without careful review, it will only sell out to money-eating predators. By this, it means that your paper holds no other meaning than simply to earn an income.

For important information, you’ll want to stay reputable. Hence, never sell to a predatory journal. Always hold to safety the efforts that you’ve put in coming up with your paper.

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