Choosing the right journal in which to publish your research is a daunting task. This is especially true for many researchers in developing countries, where it is not always possible to access training on selecting legitimate journals. In this blog (part 2 of 2), Aamir Raoof Memon shares his personal experiences of predatory journals – and explains how he educated himself to avoid them.
In my first blog post, I shared my personal experience of learning about predatory journals the hard way. But instead of putting me off from pursuing an academic career, it motivated me to become as knowledgeable as I could be about journal selection.
In 2015, I wrote a paper on predatory journals. I approached a few top journals, but did not succeed in getting it published. A researcher who had published in these journals – with whom I was corresponding – suggested that I submit to some journals in my own country. Subsequently, my paper was published in a Pakistani journal in 2016. This really motivated me, and I decided to write more on journal selection as a way to educate both myself and other early-career researchers.
I subsequently got several more papers published in both national and international journals (see the full list below). I was recently invited to write a guest editorial on journal selection and ways to avoid predatory journals for one of the top medical journals from Pakistan. In recognition of my enthusiasm, I was also invited as a guest facilitator in AuthorAID’s MOOCs in Research Writing.
Predatory journals: avoid at all costs
There are no benefits to publishing in predatory journals. In fact, I even faced rejection when applying for a PhD scholarship because I mentioned publishing in a predatory journal in my resumé. Mentioning papers published in predatory journals gives a negative impression of you as a researcher, and should certainly be avoided.
I am continuing to fight predatory journals by educating early-career and inexperienced researchers about journal selection. My recent article, based on a sting operation against predatory journals inviting me to submit papers, may be very helpful. Plus, a guest editorial that I wrote – rooted in the Pakistani context – contains several resources that can be used to help authors avoid predatory journals.
Also, you can read an example of how to deal with predatory journals, with reference to a situation where senior and experienced researchers were the victims of predatory journals. Another helpful resource is this opinion piece, which summarizes the research conducted in 2016 on predatory publishing practices. I would encourage researchers to use these resources.
From victim to educator
Of course, writing about predatory journals and fighting their influence is not easy. It involves a lot of political pressures – and I have faced several threats from predatory publishers. This could be one reason that there is not much literature on this topic from developing countries, particularly from young scholars.
The journey from victim to educator has been very demanding, and for me the struggle does not end here. I am continuing to educate researchers from developing countries on selecting journals and avoiding predatory journals. I am passionate about equipping myself and others with both the knowledge to call out fraudulent publishers and the skills to publish research in credible journals that accelerate scientific progress.
Aamir has now published in:
Journal of Religion and Health (published by Springer Nature).
For Aamir’s full list of publications, see his Google Scholar profile
Aamir Raoof Memon is a lecturer at the Institute of Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation Sciences, Peoples University of Medical & Health Sciences for Women, in Nawabshah, Sindh, Pakistan.