Medical Writing and Publishing Organizations Address the Predatory Journal Epidemic

In a previous blog post, we discussed predatory journals, the threat they pose to scholarly publishing, and potential ways to identify and avoid them. The American Medical Writers Association (AMWA), the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA), and the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) recently published a joint position statement on predatory publishing.joint graphic
The statement highlights how predatory journals intentionally misrepresent the editorial and peer review processes and exploit the Gold Open Access publishing model to generate revenue.
In our post, we identified the following hallmarks of predatory publishers:

• email solicitations for articles (often from Gmail or Yahoo accounts) that are aggressive, persuasive, and vague in language and often include invitations to join the journal’s editorial board
• journal title names that contain the words “Global,” “International,” “Universal,” “Asian,” “American,” or “European”
• spelling and grammar errors in the email and on the website, as well as low-resolution graphics
• manuscript submissions accepted via email instead of through one of the well-known scholarly submission systems

The AMWA/EMWA/ ISMPP joint statement includes all of our points and several additional ways to spot the predators:

• have journal names that sound somewhat familiar—but are deceitful permutations of legitimate journal names
• have websites with dead links and aggressive advertising
• don’t provide street addresses or in-country telephone numbers on the journal or publisher website, or fake addresses/phone numbers are provided
• lack journal indexing in a recognized citation system such as PubMed or in a legitimate online directory such as the Directory of Open Access Journals
• tend to promise unrealistically quick peer review and provide no details or information about the journal’s peer-review process
• have article processing charges that are not transparent (and may be very expensive or very inexpensive) or are payable on submission (not dependent on the outcome of peer review)
• make claims of broad coverage across multiple specialties in medicine or across multiple subspecialties in a particular discipline
• have editorial boards consisting of members from outside the specialty or outside the country in which the journals are published or have board members who are unknown to someone experienced in publishing in the field

The AMWA, EMWA, and ISMPP are committed to educating their members about the threat that predatory publishing poses to researchers and the literature. We at the Ochsner Journal are also committed to educating the scientific community about the difference between our legitimate open access model vs the unethical practices of the predatory publishers.