By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief
The above three words sum up the message of a new campaign to increase awareness among researchers and authors about predatory publishers—entities that take advantage of authors by unscrupulous practices that often leave the authors tied up in a contract and owing a large fee to publish in a journal that has little or no standing. (See my related editorial on predatory publishing in the April issue of AJN.)
Promising rapid publication, predatory journals lack peer review and fact-checking, often tout fake metrics, and may adopt names that are deceptively similar to those of established journals. Jeffrey Beall, a librarian at the University of Colorado, has been tracking predatory publishers since 2009 and maintains a list of them on his Web site, Scholarly Open Access.
The Think. Check. Submit. campaign describes itself as an “industry-wide initiative that provides a checklist of quality indicators that can help researchers identify if a journal is a trustworthy.” It’s a new campaign “produced with the support of a coalition from across scholarly communications in response to discussions about deceptive publishing.” In brief, it asks authors to:
THINK about where they should publish their work. Are the journals they are considering reputable?
CHECK the list of questions designed to help determine if a journal is respectable and sound.
SUBMIT . . . only if most of the criteria on the checklist are met.
The campaign, which interested and qualified individuals might wish to get involved with, was announced at several European publishing meetings held last month. It coincided with the release of a study in the open access journal BMC Medicine (BMC is BioMed Central) examining the extent of predatory journals. (Last year, the International Academy of Nurse Editors launched its own initiative to alert nurses to these deceitful publishers.)