Predatory Journals

Think. Check. Submit.

This organization helps researchers identify trusted journals and publishers for their research. Through a range of tools and practical resources, this international, cross-sector initiative aims to educate researchers, promote integrity, and build trust in credible research and publications. “Think. Check. Submit.”  checklist has been developed by a coalition of scholarly publishing organizations. These criteria are useful for authors considering where to submit their work, but as with the other initiatives are not a failsafe to identify all legitimate scholarly journals.

Definition of Predatory Publishing

Predatory publishers or journals are those which charge authors a fee for publication with no intention of providing the expected services – such as editorial or peer review – in return. Charging a fee is a legitimate business model, but the publisher should be providing a good publishing service in return.  Authors, realizing that they have submitted their paper to a questionable publisher, can find they are charged a large fee if they want to withdraw their article.

Known synonyms for “predatory journals”

The concept of ‘predatory’ journals has many names: fake journals, questionable journals, illegitimate journals, deceptive journals, dark journals, and journals “operating in bad faith”.

Predatory or not?

There are many journals which do not have the best editorial or technical standards, but which are applying reasonable basic processes to their articles and operating in good faith. Some caution is therefore advised when considering a journal: defects in a publisher’s processes may lead to it being labelled as predatory but the journal may simply lack resources – there may not be an intention to deceive.

Things to watch out for

A predatory journal/publisher may display one or more of these characteristics:

  • A journal title which can be easily confused with another journal or that might mislead potential authors and readers about the journal’s origin, scope or association with other journals
  • Very wide scope
  • Displays of unofficial impact factors
  • False claims of being indexed in major services like PubMed or DOAJ
  • No publisher address or contact information
  • Unclear ownership of the journal
  • Spams researchers with many emails inviting submissions, often unrelated to expertise
  • Advertises very fast times from submission to publication
  • Publishes out-of-scope articles
  • Publishes nonsense articles
  • Poor or non-existent editing of articles (many spelling mistakes or very poor grammar)
  • Hides information on charges
  • No editorial board is listed, or the editorial board comprises dead or retired scholars or scholars who are not specialized in the topic
  • Lack of information on the policies of the journal, such as peer review, licensing and copyright

For further information please see: Think.Check.Submit.

Tips on Writing a Literature Review

Literature reviews are important resources for researchers. They provide historical context for a field while offering opinions on its future trajectory. Creating them can provide inspiration for one’s own research, as well as some practice in writing. But few researchers are trained in how to write a review — or in what constitutes an excellent one. Even picking the appropriate software to use can be an involved decision (see ‘Tools and techniques’). So Nature asked editors and working scientists with well-cited reviews for their tips.

Tay, Andy. (December 4, 2020) How to write a superb literature review. Nature News . December 4, 2020   doi:

What’s in a word? AMA launches language guide for medical professionals

In an attempt to advance equity in healthcare, the American Medical Association has developed a health equity guide, released Oct 28, 2021. The guidebook addresses language use best practices and critical thinking about health narratives, and provides a glossary of terms. 

The playbook, titled “Advancing Health Equity: A Guide to Language, Narrative and Concepts,” was developed in partnership with the Association of American Medical Colleges Center for Health Justice.

The guide was created to give physicians a common tongue with which to discuss issues pertaining to systemic inequality and educate them as to how these issues translate into a medical setting. It acknowledges the power of language and the potentially harmful underlying assumptions many common phrases and words hold. 

“We hope that this guide will stimulate critical thinking about language, narrative and concepts — helping readers to identify harmful phrasing in their own work and providing alternatives that move us toward racial justice and health equity,” the guide states. 

The guide covers three major focus areas: health equity language, why narratives matter and a glossary of key terms. Together, knowledge of the three areas can enable medical professionals to be intentional when discussing and thinking about inequity and reframe traditional narratives. For instance, the guide suggests alternatives for commonly used phrases, such as using “formerly incarcerated” instead of “felon” and “white” over “Caucasian,” and provides in-depth explanations for the change. It also provides definitions and historical context of words and phrases like “colorism,” “queer” and “critical race theory.” 

“The COVID-19 pandemic and the disproportionate impact of the virus on Black, Latinx, Indigenous and other historically marginalized groups have brought new urgency and focus to addressing long-standing inequities in health and health care,” said Gerald Harmon, MD, president of AMA. “In recognizing the power in our words, it is our hope that this guide will stimulate conversation and understanding about language, narrative, and concepts”

Test Your Visual Diagnostic Skills

Ready to test your medical diagnostic skills with visual clues (photos, radiographs, EKG, pathology slide, etc)? By using Harrison’s Visual Case Challenge via AccessMedicine, this just got easier!

Each challenge presents a case that includes two conditions for each patient. You can make a diagnosis based soley on the visual information provided or you can request more information on the patient before making your diagnosis. To ensure you understand the content, there are nearly 70 Clinical Pearls currently provided covering a variety of general internal medicine topics, with more coming!

Here’s how you can get started:

  • Go to AccessMedicine
  • Click on the Cases drop down menu at the top of the page
  • Click on the link for Harrison’s Visual Case Challenge
  • Pick a case and start diagnosing!

Updated Clinical Key

Have you noticed some of the new features of ClinicalKey?

In case you are unfamiliar, Elsevier’s ClinicalKey is a medical search engine that gives you access to:

  • Full-text reference books (over a 1000!) and journals including top titles such as Gray’s Anatomy, Goldman’s Cecil Medicine, Braunwald’s Heart Disease, The Lancet and Mayo Clinic Proceedings
  • Clinical Overviews that provide succinct, easy-to-navigate summaries for quick answers
  • Drug monographs
  • Clinical calculators
  • Practice guidelines
  • Customizable patient education handouts
  • Drug indications, do not crush list, identifier, and adverse reactions
  • Medical and procedure videos, images, and more

The redesigned homepages features a new search bar with improved auto-suggest delivering more relevant results.

The cards displayed below the search box help you to quickly see available resources. Now you can browse more quickly for specific clinical topics, drug information, tools, books, and journals.

The Clinical Overview provides a nice summary for PPPC presentations!

To take advantage of all the features of ClinicalKey, create an account by going to ClinicalKey and click Register in the top right corner. Be sure to use your SHU email address when registering.

Once you register for a personal account, you’ll have the ability to earn, track and claim CME credits, use the Presentation Maker tool, save content (like chapter PDFs), and more!

Take a deep dive into ClinicalKey and let us know if you have any questions!