off record
Shaukat Ali Jawaid

Beware of Fraudulent
and factious
Impact Factor


Scientific publishing and Peer Review system has been polluted to a great extent and some unscrupulous elements are very active to deceive and cheat the authors of scientific papers particularly the younger generation of authors.  Most of the authors are keen to get their manuscripts published as soon as possible and those who are not fully aware of the peer review system and publication system fall prey to these cheats.

Every day one comes across numerous e mails from various journals most of whom use the world International with their title, have fraudulent websites and factious Impact Factor.  They use the word Universal Impact Factor, Global Impact Factor of Unofficial Impact Factor which itself is enough to cast doubts on their credibility. These Online journals promise acceptance within three days of submission of the manuscript and publication within a week.  As such authors are cautioned to be careful while submitting their manuscripts and do not get trapped. If you look at their websites, it is difficult to find out the name of the editor or members of the Editorial Board, either there will be no postal address if so it may be somewhere in Dubai or any other place but most of the correspondence is through e mail. They also promise to issue acceptance letter as soon as you pay the publication fee.

Those biomedical journals which do not practice any Peer Review system have no standing and credibility. Peer Review also takes time and there is no short cut. The processing and peer review time varies from journal to journal but in most of the developing resource constraint countries, peer review may take three to four months. However, some journals do have a facility for fast track processing to help some authors in selected cases if they have to either appear in some examination or acceptance of manuscript is a pre-requisite and requirement for defense of Thesis or academic promotion.  These are some rare exceptions but normally good journals do not encourage the authors to opt for fast track processing unless it is extremely essential.

At the recently held EMMJ6 Medical Journals Conference the issue of such fraudulent websites and factious Impact Factor was discussed in detail. Some of the participants even referred to one of the organizations operating from Dubai which is managed by some people from Pakistan, Iran in collaboration with few others. The participants were also warned about the dubious database which they promote and this did bring lot of bad name to Pakistan. However, unfortunately there was no one from the Higher Education Commission or the Pakistan Medical & Dental Council to witness and listen to all this. It is very painful and one could not defend such rogue elements. Hence, it was made clear that neither Pakistan Association of Medical Editors (PAME) nor its members has anything to do with them.   None of us participated in their conference and had also informed the Higher Education Commission, Government of Pakistan of their questionable credentials and credibility.

While submitting your manuscripts to any journal, always carefully look at their website, look at their achieves and previous issues of the journal. Carefully study their Instructions for authors, their peer review system, and its inclusion in various databases.  Look at their postal address, telephone contact etc. And if still there is some doubt, do try to talk to the concerned staff in the journal office.  A little cautious attitude could save you from lot of embarrassment and frustration later on.

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