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Editorial

The Predatory Journal Issue: Part II

Anne Katz
ONF 2017, 44(6), 641-642 DOI: 10.1188/17.ONF.641-642

Every morning when I open my email, it is the same: 5–10 emails inviting me to submit my “valuable and esteemed” research to a journal that is new to me and just sounds off. Added to these invitations are a couple of requests to present at conferences in far-flung locations, often accompanied by photographs of “honored” presenters, mostly physicians; none of these publications or conferences are in my field, and they have generic titles and focus on general themes, such as “Global Nursing 2017.” Every morning, I go through the same exercise: I flag them as junk and assume they will be blocked. But, the next morning, it is the same futile exercise. And I know many of you have the same daily ritual.

Every morning when I open my email, it is the same: 5–10 emails inviting me to submit my “valuable and esteemed” research to a journal that is new to me and just sounds off. Added to these invitations are a couple of requests to present at conferences in far-flung locations, often accompanied by photographs of “honored” presenters, mostly physicians; none of these publications or conferences are in my field, and they have generic titles and focus on general themes, such as “Global Nursing 2017.” Every morning, I go through the same exercise: I flag them as junk and assume they will be blocked. But, the next morning, it is the same futile exercise. And I know many of you have the same daily ritual.

I wrote about this phenomenon almost three years ago (Katz, 2015), and, although I did not intend to do anything other than alert readers to the dangers of these publications, I really hoped that if we all ignored them they would go away. Their continued presence in my inbox suggests that professionals out there are responding and submitting manuscripts, supporting these predatory initiatives. So not much has changed, other than the disappearance of Beall’s List, an informative website that listed the names of these predatory journals, which has been removed by the University of Colorado Denver. However, all is not lost; the website Nurse Author and Editor has a list of nursing journals that can be trusted (www.nursingeditors.com/journals-directory). The Directory of Open Access Journals (https://doaj.org) has a list of reputable open-access journals as well. The website Think Check Submit (http://thinkchecksubmit.org/check) has a checklist that can be used to assess if a journal is trustworthy. Answering the following questions can be helpful in identifying legitimate versus predatory publications: Do you know the journal? Can you easily identify the publisher, and is contact information for the publisher accurate? Is the journal clear about the type of peer review provided? Are articles indexed in services that you use, such as MEDLINE®, PubMed, or CINAHL®? Is it clear what fees, if any, will be charged? Do you recognize members of the editorial board? Is the publisher a member of a recognized industry initiative, such as the Committee on Publication Ethics?

I recently prepared a writing workshop and used two invitations to illustrate red flags that should alert whoever receives one or more of these emails to the bogus nature of the publications. Key elements of these invitations should alert the reader. Verbose statements, such as the following, should raise suspicion:

Being impressed by your published article entitled “XXX,” based on your impressive research records, in person, I request you to submit your innovative article to our journal.

While I was in process of framing the review panel, I found your innovative profile, which would apt to our Journal proficiency, so I request you to be a part of our Perceptions in Reproductive Medicine.

On a whim, I decided to look up the address of the senders. One was simply “Third Avenue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY.” The other was “1E Main St., Ste. B, Middletown, DE 19709,” and a quick search on Google Maps showed a field of weeds on the banks of the Appoquinimink River. Still another was a nail salon in rural Ohio.

Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, takes this issue seriously and provides leadership in its stand against these publications and conferences. It requires staff and students to conduct due diligence checks before submitting any work to a journal. Any work that has been published in a predatory journal is not counted toward promotion, tenure, scholarships, or any other academic purpose. Funds are not provided by the university to support publication in a predatory journal or attendance at a predatory conference, and anyone applying for funds needs to confirm that he or she has checked that the planned activities are legitimate. Graduate students also are expected to include only references from legitimate journals in their work (Darbyshire, McKenna, Lee, & East, 2017).

I wonder why someone would be motivated to submit a manuscript upon receiving a similar poorly worded, inaccurate, and obviously mass-produced invitation. As the editor of this journal, I have a vested interest in preventing researchers and scholars from publishing elsewhere. I hold no claim to every manuscript about cancer nursing, but I do want to promote good publication practices, and I absolutely want authors to have a good experience publishing their work. I am passionate about nursing scholarship and the impact that nursing research can have on patient outcomes. Predatory publications steal this good work that is then never disseminated and applied to improve the lives of patients and their families.

About the Author(s)

Katz is a clinical nurse specialist at the Manitoba Prostate Centre and a sexuality counselor for the Department of Psychosocial Oncology at CancerCare Manitoba, both in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Katz can be reached at ONFEditor@ons.org.

 

References 

Darbyshire, P., McKenna, L., Lee, S.F., & East, C.E. (2017). Taking a stand against predatory publishers. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 73, 1535–1537. https://doi.org/10.1111/jan.13004

Katz, A. (2015). If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck. Oncology Nursing Forum, 42, 9. http://doi.org/10.1188/15.ONF.9