Impact of Predatory Journals in Plastic Surgery Literature: Researchers Beware

Malke Asaad, Rami Elmorsi, Sebastian Winocour, Alexander F. Mericli, Edward Reece, Jesse C. Selber, Charles E. Butler, Carrie K. Chu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Predatory journals have exploited the open access publishing model and are considered as a major threat to the integrity of scientific research. The goal of this study was to characterize predatory publishing practices in plastic surgery. Methods: To identify potentially predatory journals in the field of plastic surgery, the authors searched the Cabells' Predatory Reports and Beall's List using preidentified keywords. For presumed legitimate open access journals, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) was queried. The characteristics of potentially predatory journals were compared to those of legitimate open access plastic surgery journals. Results: The authors identified a total of 25 plastic surgery-focused journals. Out of the 25 potentially predatory journals, only 15 journals had articles published within the last 5 years, with a mean number of articles of 33 ± 39 (range, 2 to 159 articles). The mean number of predatory violations according to Cabells' criteria was 6.8 ± 1.4 (range, 3 to 9). Using the DOAJ database, the authors identified a total of 24 plastic surgery-related journals. Compared to potentially predatory journals, journals from the DOAJ were more likely to be indexed in PubMed (0 versus 50 percent, respectively, p < 0.0001). Time to publication was significantly higher in journals from the DOAJ (17 ± 7 versus 4 ± 1 weeks; p = 0.006). Despite higher article processing charges in the DOAJ group, this difference was not statically significant ($1425 ± $717 versus $1071 ± $1060; p = 0.13). Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1234E-1243E
JournalPlastic and Reconstructive Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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