Medical Resident Awareness of Predatory Journal Practices in an International Medical Education System

Halah Ibrahim, Shahad Abasaeed Elhag, Salma M. Elnour, Sawsan Abdel-Razig, Thana Harhara, Satish Chandrasekhar Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Learning research methodology is increasingly becoming an essential part of graduate medical education worldwide, with many regulatory and accreditation bodies requiring residents to participate in scholarship. Research methodology workshops have become a standard part of medical curricula; however, there is limited data on how much training on journal selection and the publication process trainees receive. The alarming growth of predatory journals has made it increasingly difficult for researchers, especially trainees and early career physicians, to distinguish these publications from reputable journals. The purpose of this study is to assess the knowledge of reputable and predatory publishing practices amongst medical trainees in an international medical education setting in the United Arab Emirates. Methods: A survey on credible journal practices based on the ‘Think. Check. Submit’ initiative was sent to all graduate medical education trainees at two large academic medical centers in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Descriptive statistics were used to tabulate variable frequencies. Results: Over half of the 160 respondents reported receiving prior research methodology training and 42.5% had at least one publication. The majority of the trainees selected impact factor and the quality of the peer-review process as characteristics of reputable journals. Ambiguous editorial board and rapid publication process were recognized as characteristics of predatory journals by >65% of trainees, however, 95% of all trainees were unaware of Beall’s list or other resources to help select a journal for publication. 15.2% of trainees who received unsolicited emails from publishers submitted their manuscripts to the unfamiliar journals, citing peer recommendation and pressure to publish from their training programs as reasons. Conclusion: Trainees in the United Arab Emirates were mostly unaware of reputable publication practices and are vulnerable to publishing in predatory journals. Policy and educational reform are necessary to maintain the credibility and integrity of the scientific process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2139169
JournalMedical Education Online
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • Predatory journals
  • medical education
  • predatory publishing
  • research methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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