American Council of Academic Plastic Surgeons
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Impact of Predatory Journals in Plastic Surgery Literature: Researchers Beware
Malke Asaad, MD1; Rami Elmorsi2; Sebastian Winocour, MD, MSc3; Alexander F. Mericli, MD1; Edward Reece, MD, MBA3; Jesse C. Selber, MD, MPH, MHCM1; Charles E. Butler, MD1; Carrie K. Chu, MD, MSCR1
1Department of Plastic Surgery, University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA 2Mansoura University, Faculty of Medicine, Dakahlia, Egypt 3Division of Plastic Surgery, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA

Background: Predatory journals have exploited the open access (OA) publishing model and are considered as a major threat to the integrity of scientific research. The goal of this study is to characterize predatory publishing practices in plastic surgery .
Methods: To identify potentially predatory journals (PPJs) in the field of plastic surgery, we searched the Cabells’ Predatory Reports and Beall's List using pre-identified keywords. For presumed legitimate OA journals, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) was queried. The characteristics of PPJs were compared to legitimate OA plastic surgery journals.
Results: We identified a total of 25 plastic surgery-focused journals. Out of the 25 PPJs, only 15 journals had articles published within the last 5 years with a mean of 33±39 articles (range, 2-159). The mean number of predatory violations according to the Cabells’ criteria was 6.8±1.4 (range, 3-9). Using the DOAJ database, we identified a total of 24 plastic surgery-related journals. Compared to PPJs, DOAJ journals were more likely to be PubMed-indexed (0% vs. 50%, respectively, p<0.0001). Time to publication was significantly higher in the DOAJ journals (17±7 vs. 4±1 weeks; p=0.006). Despite higher article processing charges in the DOAJ group, this difference was not statically significant (±717 vs. ±1060; p=0.13).
Conclusion: Predatory journals are pervasive in the medical literature and plastic surgery is no exception. Plastic surgeons should practice due diligence when choosing a target journal for their articles. Journals with predatory practices should be distinguished from legitimate open access publication platforms

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