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Critical appraisal of predatory journals in pathology
  1. Yaman M AlAhmad1,
  2. Ibrahim Abdelhafez2,
  3. Farhan S Cyprian2,
  4. Saghir Akhtar2,
  5. Faruk Skenderi3,
  6. Semir Vranic2
  1. 1 College of Medicine, QU Health, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar
  2. 2 Qatar University College of Medicine, Doha, Qatar
  3. 3 Pathology, Clinical Center University of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
  1. Correspondence to Dr Semir Vranic, QU Health, Qatar University College of Medicine, Doha 2713, Qatar; semir.vranic{at}

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Predatory journals refer to journals that recruit articles through aggressive marketing and spam emails, promising a quick, but not robust, review and fast open-access (OA) publication, thus compromising scholarly publishing standards.1–5 Their key motive is a financial benefit via article processing charges (APCs) and other additional fees.1 3 4 The number of OA journals has dramatically risen over the past 15 years,6 reaching 11 376 journals, indexed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) in 2018 (available at This expansion was parallel to the increase in the number of predatory publishers.7 8 Predatory journals have become more prevalent than ever due to massive internet expansion and extensive spam email soliciting.2 4 9 Since 2011, when Jeffrey Beall launched his first list of potential predatory OA publishers and journals, predatory journals have come into focus.3 4 Recent studies have highlighted the significant burden of potentially predatory journals in several biomedical specialties, including neuroscience/neurology, urology, emergency medicine, physical medicine, orthopaedics, rehabilitation, as well as anaesthesiology.7 8 10–13 No study on predatory journals in pathology has been conducted so far.

As previously suggested, we explored Beall’s list of predatory journals as an initial database of suspected journals related to pathology.2 8 The term predatory was only applied after assessing each journal separately. The assessment was based on the recommended …

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  • Handling editor Runjan Chetty.

  • YMA and IA contributed equally.

  • Contributors SV conceived the study, analysed the data, wrote and drafted the manuscript. YMA and IA collected and analysed the data and also wrote the manuscript. FSC, SA and FS critically appraised the data and wrote the manuscript.

  • Funding This study was supported by the student grant number (#QUST-1-CMED-2018-10) provided by the College of Medicine, Qatar University. The preliminary data from the study were presented at the XXXII Congress of the International Academy of Pathology (IAP), October 2018, Amman, Jordan.

  • Competing interests SV serves as an editor-in-chief of the Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences, an academic editor at PLOS One, an associate editor at Cancer Cell International and an editorial board member of the Annals of Translational Medicine. SA is an editor-in-chief of the Journal of Drug Targeting. FS is a managing editor of the Bosnian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences. The other authors declare no competing interests.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.