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Editorials

Firm action needed on predatory journals

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h210 (Published 17 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h210

Re: Firm action needed on predatory journals

Dear Editor,

Following retirement from my Academic post of Professor of Orthopaedic & Accident Surgery and from my clinical post as a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon I decided, like many others, to continue supporting and contributing to academic journals – reading and submitting papers, reviewing articles and maintaining my interests.

During the past two months I have personally received 20 email requests from Open Access journals inviting me to submit articles at a reduced rate (or even free); to review submitted articles; to join editorial boards or even to become a sub-editor. I have summarised those journals submitting these requests below.

• Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics; Publisher - Dove Medical Press, London UK
• Advanced Emergency Medicine; Publisher - Universe Scientific Publishing Pte, Singapore
• Annals of Rheumatology and Arthritis; Publisher - Remedy Publications LLC, California, USA & Hyderabad, India
• Clinical Research in Orthopedics; Publisher - SciTechnol, Los Angeles, USA
• General Medicine - Open Access; Publisher - Omics International, Nevada, USA
• General Surgery; Publisher - Omics International, Nevada, USA
• Insights in Biomedicine; Publisher - Insight Medical Publishing, Delaware USA & London UK
• International Journal of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation; Publisher - Savvy Science Publisher, location unknown
• Journal of Forensic & Genetic Sciences (PRJFGS); Publisher - Lupine Publishers, New York, USA
• Journal International Medical Research; Publisher -Sage Publishing, London, UK
• Journal of Neuroscience and Neurological Disorders; Publisher - Heighten Science Publications Corp, Texas USA
• Journal of Orthopaedics Spine and Sports Medicine; Publisher - OPUS Journals, Staines, UK
• Journal of Spine; Publisher - Omics International, Nevada, USA
• Journal of Translational Science; Publisher - Open Access Text, Romford, UK
• Journal of Sports Research; Publisher - Crimson Publishers, New York
• Orthopedic Research Online Journal; Publisher - Crimson Publishers, New York, USA
• Orthopedics and Sports Medicine: Open Access Journal; Publisher - Lupine Publishers, New York, USA
• Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; Publisher - Open Access Text, Romford, UK
• Rheumatology and Orthopedic Medicine; Publisher - Open Access Text, Romford, UK
• Trends in Otorhinolaryngology; Publisher - Open Access Text, Romford, UK

It is now clear that publishers are treating the publication of papers of all types as a potentially lucrative business or “cash cow”, Unfortunately they are in danger of “Killing the goose that lays the golden egg”. It is clear that many of these publishers are lowering standards for the publication of scientific papers because submitted and accepted papers generate an income for their journal. However, there is a more serious effect which is already beginning to undermine the whole structure of academic publications – those currently involved in reviewing papers are being invited to join the editorial boards of these new journals, which they perceive as raising their profile and kudos. It is consequently removing these academically gifted individuals from supporting our current established journals. This is why the editors of established journals have become so reactive and are now writing about aggressive or predatory publishers.

The UK Universities and the Research Excellence Framework (REF) are protecting the established publishers by placing greater emphasis on articles published in journals with a high Impact Factor and this is commendable, but overseas Universities are not as selective. Unfortunately, many patients and doctors who are “Googling” medical treatments, operations and outcomes are not as selective, and we are in danger of allowing poorly refereed research papers to influence future medical practice and patients will suffer.

Emeritus Professor W Angus Wallace

Competing interests: No competing interests

25 January 2018
W Angus Wallace
Emeritus Professor of Orthopaedic & Accident Surgery and Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
University of Nottingham & Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
Academic Orthopaedics, Trauma and Sports Medicine, Queens Medical Centre, University of Nottingham