ICMJE announcement on predatory journals

The International Committee of Medical Journal Editors have published a news item about “Fake”, “Predatory” and “Pseudo” journals.

It includes a definition of these types of journal, and reasons why they pose a threat and should be avoided.

It points to the World Association of Medical Editors’ guidance.  WAME discuss places to check a journal out – the now no longer updated Beall’s List of predatory journals, and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – and using the Think Check Submit checklist, when deciding where to submit.   Choosing a journal was also discussed at Carolyn Tarrant’s recent Writing Club.

If you are not sure about the journal you want to submit to, ask colleagues who have experience of being published and knowledge of which journals are the core ones.   Your librarians can help too – we can identify core journals, and would be happy to investigate a journal you are thinking of submitting to.

I get emails from what I suspect are predatory journals, inviting me to write an article.      Alarm bells ring when I am addressed wrongly (Dear Dr Nockels,) or not at all (Dear, ) .  Some of the emails are badly written or edited, and they often approach me for work in fields I am supposed to be an expert in but about which I know nothing.   I also worry about journals that claim to cover a strange mix of subjects, like (fictional, these, probably) “International Journal of Microbiology and Lunar Studies” or “Microbiology and Science”.

I suspect that if any reputable journal wanted me to write an invited article, it would approach me in a rather more personal way.   Not that this has ever happened, yet, anyway….

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Responding to reviewers

For our January meeting we were pleased to welcome Dr Carolyn Tarrant from the University of Leicester.   Carolyn is Associate Professor in Health Psychology, and a member of the SAPPHIRE research group within the Department of Health Sciences.

Here is the third post about the meeting.  Here are Carolyn’s slides. 

How do you respond to reviewers?

Consider creating a table, so you can give your responses in a structured way and demonstrate clearly that you have addressed each concern.   Explain what you have added or taken away from your draft.

You can consider a “rebuttal” if you feel that you have already addressed the reviewer’s concern, or that the concern is in some way not valid.   You must, of course, justify your arguments and not just dismiss the concern!

Your revised draft will be sent for review again, and you may get further comments from reviewers.

The editor, or associate editor, can at any point in the submission process, reject your paper.

If your paper has many co-authors, make sure you know whose responsibility it is make sure that reviewers’ comments are addressed, and who it is that will send those comments back.

We are grateful to Carolyn for coming to speak at the Writing Club.

Which journal to choose?

For our January meeting we were pleased to welcome Dr Carolyn Tarrant from the University of Leicester.   Carolyn is Associate Professor in Health Psychology, a member of the SAPPHIRE research group within the Department of Health Sciences, and an associate editor for two health related journals.

Here is the second post about the meeting.  Here are Carolyn’s slides.

How do you decide which journal to submit to?

  • Where would you like it to appear?
  • Who do you want to read it?
  • Does that journal publish this sort of article, or this sort of research? Does it publish research at this sort of level?
  • Check the aims and scope of that journal, and check the papers that it has published. Are they in a similar area, or of similar type?

Which journals are you referencing?    Would any of them be possibilities?  Check by looking at the bullet points above.

Check the databases for your subject (like Cinahl or Medline) to see which journals in your field they index.   If you are submitting in management or social science, the Chartered Association of Business Schools have a journal guide (registration required).

You could look for journals with a high impact factor or other metrics – but remember Impact Factors reflect the impact of the journal as a whole and not of individual papers, and also remember that what is “high” will depend on the subject area.   Please do contact the Library for advice on this, or help with identifying journals in which to publish.

We are grateful to Carolyn for coming to speak at the Writing Club.

How to get your paper rejected

For our January meeting we were pleased to welcome Dr Carolyn Tarrant from the University of Leicester.   Carolyn is Associate Professor in Health Psychology, and a member of the SAPPHIRE research group within the Department of Health Sciences.

Here is the first post about the meeting.    Here are Carolyn’s slides.

She is also an associate editor for BMJ Quality and Safety and the Journal of Hospital Infection and spoke from her experience on easy ways to get your paper rejected:

  • Choose the wrong journal
  • Have no clear aims, or have aims and then don’t address them
  • Not making your contribution to the literature clear
  • Not citing relevant literature
  • Sending an unpolished draft, for example lacking information about methods, full of speling erors or badly structured
  • Not addressing concerns of reviewers.

She also mentioned the importance of having an academic writing style, and of addressing the requirements of the journal with regard to structure, word count, referencing style.

How do you know when you are ready to submit your paper?    Probably not when you think you are: give your draft at least one more look.  It is also worth getting a neutral colleague (that is, one who did not help write the paper, or someone from outside the subject area) for feedback.

We are grateful to Carolyn for coming to speak at the Writing Club.

What journal editors look for

The January meeting of the Writing Club welcomes as guest presenter Dr Carolyn Tarrant of the University of Leicester.

How do you choose which journal to submit to?

What happens when you submit a paper?

What mistakes do authors commonly make?

How do you respond to reviewers?

Dr Tarrant is Associate Professor in Health Psychology at the University of Leicester, and will draw on her experience as an associate editor for BMJ Quality & Safety and the Journal of Hospital Infection.

The meeting is on Thursday 18th January 2018, from 1—2 pm, in the Odames Meeting Room, Odames Library, Victoria Building, LRI

All UHL and LPT staff and all placement students welcome.   Book your place by email or by phoning the Odames Library on (0116 258) 5558.

Writing a case report?

Case reports might discuss a rare presentation of a more common disease, or an unexpected outcome.    And writing a case report can be a first step into writing for publication.   But what advice is there about writing a case report?

First, a book chapter, which looks at the reasons for writing one (I drew on it for my first sentence above), as well as how to write one:

Rossor MN. How to write a case report. In: Hall GM, editor. How to write a paper. 5th ed. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell BMJ Books; 2013. p. 83-8.

(UHL Libraries have this book).

And this Insight from the Royal College of Physicians of London, How to write a clinical case report  (This online publication has not been carried across to the new RCP website (thanks to the RCP Library for this information) but survives still on the website of the British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology).

Then, some online resources from American libraries:

Weill Cornell Medicine Samuel J. Wood Library

George Washington University Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library

And an online course from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Case reports have their own reporting guidelines, CARE, which describe what to include.

Journals that publish case reports will, of course, have their own instructions for authors and guidance, which you should read once you have decided on the journal you want to submit to.

If you are writing a case report, UHL Libraries can help you.  If you want to summarise the literature, we can do the search, or advise you on doing it.    We can check if there are any similar case reports already.   We can help you identify the journal you want to approach and help you avoid “predatory” journals.    Contact us if we can help.

Here is a good place to mention that UHL Libraries have the Fellowship Number needed to publish in BMJ Case Reports.  To get the number, contact us.

January meetings

Not one, but two meetings in January!

On Thursday 18th, at the Odames Library, Victoria, LRI, Dr Carolyn Tarrant of the University of Leicester, who will talk about her experiences of being a journal editor.   Watch for more details.

On Wednesday 24th, at the Clinical Education Centre at Glenfield, we will be repeating our recent meeting about how to write up a systematic review, looking particularly at the PRISMA guidelines.    This meeting will not show you how to do a systematic review, but how to write one up, and will be useful if you are involved in, or planning a systematic review.

UHL and LPT staff, and medical and other health students, can book either now,  by email or by phoning (0116 258) 5558.    Make sure you tell us which meeting you are booking for!