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Predatory Publishing

A guide on predatory publishing, legitimate journal recommendations, and open access.

Deciding on a Journal?

Selecting a journal or other publishing avenue for scholarly and professional activities can be a confusing process, but it is critical to ensuring that your research is shared. 

Per ICMJE, "authors have a responsibility to evaluate the integrity, history, practices and reputation of the journals to which they submit manuscripts." See: Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, revised December 2016.

Pre-Selection Checklist

Define your needs before you search for a journal - make sure that you know the parameters for what you are trying to do.

  1. Which journals do you or your mentors and colleagues read? 
  2. Who is your desired audience?
  3. What type of article or study is it? 
  4. Do you need to publish in a peer-reviewed journal?
  5. Is speed an issue? Do you need an expedited review process?
  6. Do you need to comply with public access mandates for sharing of publications and/or data?
  7. Do you want your article to be Open Access? Does this need to be immediate, or is a delay acceptable?

Find Journals

Use these indexes and sources to browse journal requirements and subjects to find one that suits your needs.

Journal Selectors

Journal Selectors for Specific Publishers

Research Publishing Industry Groups

Quality publishers usually belong to major industry groups.

Journal Impact Factor Tools

There are many different evaluation scales that try to compare journals by degree of impact. The following are readily available, widely used, and transparent about scoring methodology.  Use them to try to find top journals in your area of interest.

Is this journal in Medline/Pubmed?

What are MEDLINE, PubMed, and PubMed Central?

MEDLINE (also known as Index Medicus) is an enormous journal citation database of life sciences and biomedical literature that is sponsored by the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. It currently includes over 24 million references and citations dating back to 1946, from a carefully selected list of more than 5600 scholarly journals from around the world, and is updated daily. Journals that belong to MEDLINE are respected, and it is commonly considered the first and finest source for most biomedical research. 

PubMed is the open searchable interface for MEDLINE and other types of biomedical literature. It allows users to search MEDLINE itself, very new in-process citations for articles not yet published, older citations for journals not yet loaded into MEDLINE, author manuscripts of articles published using NIH funding, ful-text articles in PubMed Central, and some journals early in the process of review for inclusion for MEDLINE (these may eventually be rejected, so judge carefully when using them).

PubMed Central is a sub-section of PubMed that is entirely full-text. It includes early manuscripts and post-publication articles produced from research funded by the NIH, as required by law. Because it includes ALL publications produced from NIH funded research, it includes records and articles from journals not indexed in MEDLINE. 

How are they useful for selecting a journal to publish in?

If a journal has been accepted for full inclusion in MEDLINE, nearly all scholars will accept it as a respectable choice for medical and dental publishing. Biomedical journals that are not included in MEDLINE may also be good choices, but they require more evaluation. Remember, some journals that are visible in PubMed are still under review for inclusion in MEDLINE - they may eventually be rejected. 

Where is the list of journals in MEDLINE?

Tools for Evaluating Journal Quality

Library Support

The ATSU library can help you select a journal for publication. If you would like a customized list of journals relevant to your research area, reach out to your liaison librarian. We can also help you review potentially predatory journals, evaluate the research impact of journals, and identify open-access journals you can publish in.