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  WAME discuss places to check a journal out – the now no longer updated Beall’s List of predatory journals, and the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) – and using the Think Check Submit checklist, when deciding where to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….


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.

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!



Ensure the credibility of your published research

The National Institutes of Health in the USA have issued a call to “NIH stakeholders to help authors of scientific journal articles adhere to the principles of research integrity and publication ethics; identify journals that follow best practices promoted by professional scholarly publishing organizations; and avoid publishing in journals that do not have a clearly stated and rigorous peer review process”.

This post from the NLM Director’s Musings from the Mezzanine blog (the quote above is from the post) shows how librarians can help those stakeholders do all that.

UHL librarians can do that too, so for help identifying journals to publish in and help with avoiding predatory journals (by using resources like Think Check Submit), get in touch.

We can advice on referencing, and our Writing for Publication workshop, and this Writing Club may give you the help or advice you need.

PRISMA guidelines

The November meeting of the UHL Writing Club looked at reporting guidelines, specifically the PRISMA guidelines for reporting a systematic review.   Keith Nockels, one of the UHL Clinical Librarian team, was the presenter.   Keith has presented before about reporting guidelines, and has increasing experience of involvement in systematic reviews as the literature searcher.

We looked at what reporting guidelines are, and at the Equator Network Library, which is a library of reporting guidelines and can be used to identify the ones you need to use, and provide details and links to the guidelines themselves.

We then looked at PRISMA, and looked at a published systematic review to see how it measured up.

One of the participants (thank you!) drew our attention to the MOOSE reporting guidelines for reporting synthesis of case control, cohort or cross sectional studies.  PRISMA is really for reporting a synthesis of RCTs or similar studies.

Here are the slides: UHL Writing Club Reporting guidelines prisma.

We shall be running this session again in January 2018 – see About for details.

Writing up a systematic review?

Come to November’s Writing Club, where Keith Nockels, Clinical Librarian, will talk about the PRISMA reporting guidelines.    These tell you what to write about and what to include.   Many journals insist you use PRISMA when writing up your review but even if you are not required to do so, using it will make your review more useful to those who read and use it, and ensure you don’t miss anything out.     PRISMA can also help you plan a review.

If you are planning or doing a systematic review, or just want to find out more, please come along.

Keith presented in November 2016 about reporting guidelines generally, has been (and is) involved in several systematic review projects.

When: Thursday 16th November 2017, 1-2 pm.

Where: Odames Meeting Room, Odames Library, Victoria Building, LRI.

Book your (free) placeemail us or ring (0116 258) 5558.

Where to publish your article?

Two publishers (at least) have their own tools to help you choose a journal to submit to.

Springer Nature’s Journal Suggester needs article title and some text, and a subject category.  You can search for journals with a particular impact factor, minimum acceptance rate and time to first decision.   You will get a list of suggested Springer, Nature or BioMed Central titles to consider.

I made up a title (about comprehensive geriatric assessment and the cardiac care unit) and very short abstract.

Selecting Medicine and Public Health as the subject, I got a list with geriatrics titles at numbers 1, 2, 7 and 10.   The remaining 6 titles did not look relevant, and none of the titles were cardiology journals.

Elsevier’s Journal Finder, choosing Life and health sciences, gave me a list with two geriatrics titles in it.   Most suggestions were critical care, with two orthopaedics.  Again none were cardiology.

But what if you don’t know which publisher you prefer?

JANE, the Journal/Author Name Estimator, from Erasmus Medical Center’s Biosemantics Group in Rotterdam, compares your text with articles in Medline (more about how it works).

My made up very short abstract worked better than the title, the list of suggestions including geriatrics titles, but only at numbers 1 and 8.   The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews was at 3, which of course would not accept a submission.

I then repeated my test with a published abstract (CONFLICT OF INTEREST ALERT – I get an acknowledgement in this paper!).   Springer’s top 3 were all geriatrics, as was number 10.  Four of Elsevier’s top five suggestions were geriatrics, although number 3 was forensic medicine.   JANE had the title that published this paper at number 1, but the abstract was presumably an exact match.    The second on the list was a generalist title, but a possibility.   The next geriatrics title was below the top 10.

JANE can also suggest authors and this seemed to find some people I’d associate with CGA, but not others.

So how useful are these tools?

Two of them assume you have chosen the publisher you need.

JANE might work better with longer texts.   It would be interesting to test it against actual articles that people want to submit for publication, and compare results with the author’s own thoughts about where they want to publish.

JANE cannot take your thoughts into account.  Who do I want to read my made up article?   Maybe not people involved in care of older people, but people working in cardiac care.   But if not many cardiology journals have published on CGA, would JANE suggest any?

How do you decide where to publish?   Have you used JANE or a publisher tool?

The Library can help you identify relevant journals to consider, and then can find instructions to authors.   Contact us if we can help.