Skip to main content
Log in

Avoiding predatory publishing for early career neurosurgeons: what should you know before you submit?

Acta Neurochirurgica Aims and scope Submit manuscript

Cite this article



Scientific research can offer the joy of discovery. For many graduating neurosurgeons, often, a seminar, class, or instructional module is their first and only formal exposure to the world of conducting research responsibly, to write down and report the results of such research. The pressure to publish scientific research is high, but any young neurosurgeon who is unaware of how predatory publishers operate can get duped by it and can lose their valuable and hard-fought research. Hence, we have attempted to provide an overview of all potentially predatory neurosurgery publications and provide some “red flags” to recognize them.


A suspected list of predatory publications was collected via a thorough review of the Neurosurgery journals listed in 4 major so-called blacklists, i.e., Beall’s list, Manca’s list, Cabell’s blacklist, and Strinzel blacklist and then cross-referenced with UGC CARE whitelist to remove any potential legitimate journals. All journals with a scope of the Neurosurgery publication were searched using terms in the search bar: “Neurosurgery”, “Neuroanatomy”, “Neuropathology”, and “Neurological disorder/disease”. Since all predatory journals claim to be open access, all possible types of open access journals on Scimago were also searched, and thus a comparison was possible in terms of publication cost and number of legitimate open access journals when compared with predatory ones. In addition, methodologies by which these journals penetrate legitimate indexes like PubMed was investigated.


A total of 46 predatory journals were found and were enlisted along with their publishers and web addresses. Sixty of the 360 Neurosurgery journals listed on Scimago were open access and the fee for the predatory journals was substantially lower (< $150) when compared with legitimate journals ($900–$3000). Six types of open access types exist while a total of 26 red flags in 7 stages of publication can be found in predatory journals. These journals have penetrated indexes by having similar names to legitimate journals and by publishing articles with external funding which mandate their indexing.


These 46 journals were defined as predatory by 4 major blacklists, and none of them was found in the UGC Care white list. They also fulfill the 26 red-flags that define a predatory journal. The blacklist detailed here may become redundant; hence “whenever in doubt” regarding a journal with “red-flags”, the authors are advised to refer to whitelists to be on the safer side. Publishing in predatory journals leads to not only loss of valuable research but also discredits a researcher among his peers and can be hindrance in career progression. Some journals are even indexed on PubMed, and they have sophisticated webpages and high-quality online presentations.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Institutional subscriptions

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Anonymous (2018) Beall’s list of predatory journals and publishers. Accessed 2 February 2020

  2. Beall J (2015) Predatory journals and the breakdown of research cultures. Inf Dev 31:473–476

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Bisaccio M (2018) Cabells’ journal whitelist and blacklist: intelligent data for informed journal evaluations. Learn Publ 31:243–248

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Cabell’s International. Available from: Accessed on 2020 Jan 20

  5. Deora H (2020) Authorship for early scientific researchers: ethics and responsibility. World Neurosurg 134:510–511

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Deora H, Tripathi M, Yagnick NS, Deora SP, Mohindra S, Batish A (2019) Changing hands: why being ambidextrous is a trait that needs to be acquired and nurtured in neurosurgery. World Neurosurg 122:487–490

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Deora H, Yagnick NS, Tripathi M (2019) Letter to editor: the career of an academic neurosurgeon: back to the future. J Neurosurg 15:1–2

    Google Scholar 

  8. Deora H, Yagnick NS, Tripathi M (2020) Mentor-mentee relationship in neurosurgery. World Neurosurg S1878–8750(20):31179–31177

    Google Scholar 

  9. Goel A, Kothari M (2013) Academics and Indian neurosurgery. World Neurosurg 79:632–635

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Grgic HI, Guskic M (2019) Croatian scientists’ awareness of predatory journals. Int J Educ Integr 3:1–5

    Google Scholar 

  11. Grudniewicz A, Moher D, Cobey KD et al (2019) Predatory journals: no definition, no defence. Nature. 576(7786):210–212

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Lincare S (2019) Hiding in plain sight: the sinister threat of predatory publishing practices. Eon 12:3

    Google Scholar 

  13. Manca A, Martinez G, Cugusi L, Dragone D, Dvir Z, Deriu F (2017) The surge of predatory open-access in neurosciences and neurology. Neuroscience 353:166–173

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Manca A, Martinez G, Cugusi L et al (2017) Predatory open access in rehabilitation. Arch Phys Med Rehabil 98:1051–1056

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Manca A, Moher D, Cugusi L, Dvir Z, Deriu F (2018) How predatory journals leak into PubMed. CMAJ. 190(35):E1042–E1045

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Moher D, Shamseer L, Cobey KD, Lalu MM, Galipeau J, Avey MT et al (2017) Stop this waste of people, animals, and money. Nature 549:23–25

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  17. National Academy of Sciences (ed) (2009) On being a scientist: a guide to responsible conduct in research. National Academies Press, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  18. Pearson GS (2017) Avoiding predatory journals with “Think. Check. Submit.”. J Am Psychiatr Nurses Assoc 23:239–240

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Principles of transparency and best practice in scholarly publishing. Hamp- shire (UK): Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE); 2018. Available: (accessed 2019 June 24)

  20. Roberts J (2017) Predatory journals: know thy enemy-what editorial offices can do to educate their stakeholders. Eon 10:4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  21. SCImago Journal & Country Rank on Jan 30, 2020)

  22. Shen C, Björk B (2015) ‘Predatory’ open access: a longitudinal study of article volumes and market characteristics. BMC Med 13:230

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Strinzel M, Severin A, Milzow K, Egger M (2019) Blacklists and whitelists to tackle predatory publishing: a cross-sectional comparison and thematic analysis. mBio 10(3):e00411–e00419

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Teixeira da Silva JA, Tsigaris P (2018) What value do journal whitelists and blacklists have in academia? J Acad Librariansh 44:781–792

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. University Grants Commission of India. Whitelist of journals- CARE list,2019. (Accessed Jan 30, 2020)

Download references

Availability of data and materials

Data is provided in the manuscript.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations



Harsh Deora is responsible for planning and collection of data and writing of the manuscript; Manjul Tripathi is responsible for writing the manuscript; Bipin Chaurasia and Andre Grotenhuis are responsible for critical review and editing.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Harsh Deora.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

This article is part of the Topical Collection on Neurosurgery Training

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Deora, H., Tripathi, M., Chaurasia, B. et al. Avoiding predatory publishing for early career neurosurgeons: what should you know before you submit?. Acta Neurochir 163, 1–8 (2021).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: