Traditional, subscription-based, peer-reviewed journals have been a go-to for veterinarians to find new, cutting-edge information for decades. However, with the advent of the internet and the rise of “open access” journals, there is some confusion on how to determine which articles are legitimate.
Open access journals are free, so academic authors tend to pay to be published—which is helpful for career advancement. These pay-to-play publications may not review their articles heavily before publication, leading to a credibility issue. These publications are dubbed “predatory journals” for their high-pressure sales tactics and their lack of transparency about their practices.
It can be difficult for veterinarians to determine what publications are producing quality or unreviewed information and techniques. In addition, veterinarians must also deal with clients who are requesting a particular treatment or drug based on internet searches or reports that are unreliable.
Veterinarians should act as the reviewers when reading an article to determine if it is reliable, reports EquiManagement. The authors, as well as their credentials, will be clues as to if an article is reputable. Looking at how data was gathered is also important. EquiManagement suggests looking for the following red flags when reading a journal article to determine if it is reliable:
- minimal instructions included
- information about copyright ownership of a submitted article
- no or hard to find contact information
- misspellings, grammatical errors or broken links
- multiple articles written by the same author
- advertising that is obtrusive
Read more at EquiManagement.
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