Many scientific journals have started to ask article processes costs from authors. This development has created a new category of journals of which the business model is totally or predominantly based on financial contributions by its authors. Such journals have become known as predatory journals. The financial contributions that they ask are not necessarily lower than those asked by high-quality journals although they offer less:
- there is commonly no real review,
- texts are not edited,
- there are commonly no printed editions.
The lack of serious reviews might make predatory journals attractive particularly to authors of low-quality (or even fraudulent) manuscripts.
The authors of this paper suggest that numerous journals, some of which may predatory, attract manuscripts by approaching authors of articles in high-quality journals. They conclude that publication of articles in such journals contaminates the medical literature and undermines the trustworthiness of science and medicine. Any involvement in such journals (as an author, reviewer or editor) should therefore be discouraged.
The ironic thing here is that the paper was published by a journal that itelf is, in my view, borderline, to say the least. But let me nonetheless contribute a recent, personal experience on this issue.
About 2 weeks ago, I received an invitation to join the editorial board of a general medicine journal that I had never heard of. I looked it up and found that it had a decent impact factor and a long list of international members of the board. But then I found that the journal charged around $ 1 500 for each submission. I was told that this is to cover the cost of the review process.
I then decided to write to the editor thanking her for the kind invitation. I also asked her how much the journal would pay its reviewers for reviewing submissions. I received a polite answer explaining that the amount was $ 00.00. My response was to politely decline the invitation to join the editorial board and to urge the journal editor to make it clear from the outset that the fees charged to authors did NOT go to the reviewers.For many years now, I have taken a very dim view on predatory journals. Sadly, in the realm of so-called alternative medicine (SCAM), there currently are dozens of such publications. I believe their danger in polluting the medical literature is hard to over-estimate. I think they ought to be stopped. One way of doing this is refusing to co-operate with them in any way.