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Avoid the Predators

Predatory journals could undercut the integrity of published scientific research, according to a statement from three medical writing organizations.

The trio — the American Medical Writers Association, the European Medical Writers Association, and the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals — write at Current Medical Research and Opinion that the practices by predatory journals "subvert[s] the peer-review publication system for the sole purpose of financial gain." In particular, they write that such journals take advantage of the Gold Open Access publishing model and misrepresent their article process charges, peer review process, editorial oversight, and more.

"Harm to the scientific literature will be the ultimate result if predatory publishing proliferates," the medical writing organizations say. "Legitimate research carried out with the best of intentions might be lost if it is not recorded, cited, or made accessible in the long term, and the scientific record is at risk of being corrupted."

They further urge researchers to be aware of some characteristics of predatory journals — such as emails that aggressively recruit manuscripts, oddly quick peer review times, or unprofessional websites — and to avoid publishing in them.