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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a dual-board-certified dermatologist with over 90 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

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Protect Your Research: How to Identify and Avoid Predatory Journals

Updated: Apr 22, 2023

Dr. Patel thought she had struck gold when she found "The Needle Nudge," the perfect journal to share her groundbreaking research on acupuncture and chronic pain. But little did she know, the flashy website was just a façade for a predatory journal more interested in cashing in on submission fees than publishing quality research.

Lesson learned: don't fall for a catchy name or attractive website. Always do your due diligence and thoroughly investigate the reputation of a journal before submitting your hard-earned work.

Predatory journals are growing like a weed in the scientific world and can be challenging to spot. This blog will look at predatory medical journals and how to avoid becoming victims of these journals.


So, what's the deal with predatory journals?

Predatory journals are phony or unregulated academic publications that often publish any and every research for a fee. The publication is done without editorial or peer review. The websites of these journals frequently have lucrative names with impressive-looking home pages—and the so-called 'editorial board members' from across the globe. At times even an inflated impact factor might be mentioned on the homepage. But on a quick internet search, you can quickly discover that they are not affiliated with reputable academic institutions or scientific societies. At times, they also seek submissions from researchers via spam emails.


How do you avoid predatory medical journals?

Avoiding predatory journals might be difficult, but you can take a few precautions. Checking a publication's reputation is one of the easiest ways to recognize a predatory journal. Look for ratings or indexing from credible sites such as the PUBMED, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), Scopus, or think.check.submit.


How do you choose the best journal for your study?

It is critical to select the right journal for your study to ensure that your work receives the attention it deserves. Here are some pointers to help you choose the ideal publication for your research:

Determine your research audience

Who is your research aimed at? Is your work aimed at a broad audience or a specific group of experts? Identifying the right target audience will assist you in selecting a journal that your intended peers read.

Consider the impact factor of the journal

The impact factor measures how frequently other scholars cite publications in a journal. Higher impact factor publications are often seen as more respectable and can help your study gain recognition.

Examine the editorial board

Reputable publications have an editorial board comprised of subject matter experts. If the editorial board of a journal you're contemplating appears suspicious (e.g., made up of people with unfamiliar names or phony bios), the journal may not be trustworthy.

Always go through the submission guidelines beforehand

Each journal has its own submission rules, so read them thoroughly. This will assist you in determining whether your study is a good fit for publication and boost your chances of approval.

Finally, to protect yourself and your study, avoid spam emails, investigate the reputation of any publication house you're contemplating, and be mindful of costs. Following these guidelines can improve your chances of having your research approved by a recognized and high-quality medical publication.


If you are looking for guidance on your medical research writing journey, you can take advantage of Dr. Alpana's medical research writing services. With more than 80 papers published, you can rely on her expertise.

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