Effective communication of scientific results is an essential part of the scientific process. In support of public access to National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research, authors are encouraged to publish their results in reputable journals. The NIH has noted an increase in the numbers of papers reported as products of NIH funding which are published in journals or by publishers that do not follow best practices promoted by professional scholarly publishing organizations. These journals and publishers typically can be identified by several attributes, including:
- misleading pricing (e.g., lack of transparency about article processing charges);
- failure to disclose information to authors;
- aggressive tactics to solicit article submissions;
- inaccurate statements about editorial board membership; and
- misleading or suspicious peer-review processes.
Publications using such practices may call into question the credibility of the research they report.
Recommendations to identify credible journals
To help protect the credibility of papers arising from its research investment, NIH encourages its stakeholders, including grantees, contractors, intramural researchers, and librarians, to help authors:
- 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.
Existing resources can assist in this process. Guidance for researchers include:
Think Check Submit, a publishing industry resource; and
“Academics and scientists: Beware of predatory journal publishers,” information from the Federal Trade Commission.
The National Library of Medicine, the NIH entity that maintains PubMed and PubMed Central, encourages publishers to follow established industry best practices including:
- Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals [PDF] from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE); and
- Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing, the joint statement by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE), the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) and the World Association of Medical Editors (WAME).
Filed Under: Research Announcements