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Keep It Quality

The US National Institutes of Health recently asked researchers it funds to avoid publishing their work in less-than-reputable scientific journals.

In a new Q&A with Retraction Watch, the agency's Office of Extramural Research adds that it "wants scientists to publish in venues that will reach the most relevant audience for their work while adhering to established good practices."

In its notice, the agency offered a few benchmarks by which to judge a journal's quality. For instance, it tells researchers to look for journals that follow research integrity principles and publication ethics, adhere to best practices endorsed by publishing organizations, and have clear peer review processes.

On the flip side, the agency says to avoid journals that aren't transparent about costs and other information, aggressively recruit articles, are misleading about the members of their editorial boards, and have suspect peer-review practices.

In a blog post, NIH's Deputy Director for Extramural Research Michael Lauer recommends that researchers "publish where you cite" and make use of the skills of their academic librarians to assess the credibility of a journal. Lauer also notes finding quality journals might not be an issue for the vast majority of NIH-funded researchers, but adds that the problem does exist.

"As scientists become more familiar with deceptive journals, they will discount the work and scientists published in those journals," the agency's Office of Extramural Research also tells Retraction Watch.