Potential Predatory vs. Legitimate Journals: Can You Tell the Difference?

Scholarly publishing has undergone a significant transformation with the rise of the Internet. Scholarly journals are now predominantly available in electronic format rather than in traditional print formats.

This shift prompted the introduction of open access publishing – a movement that aims to provide scholarly research to researchers and the public at no cost to the reader, thus removing the cost barrier to access research.

However, this movement has also opened the door for “predatory” journals to use open access model to profit from researchers and faculty who are pressured to publish in order to receive promotion and tenure.  A comparison of the similarities and differences in characteristics of both predatory and legitimate journals could help readers and potential authors spot predatory journals more easily.

A recent article published in the March 2017 issue of BMC Medicine provides the results of just such a comparison. A cross-sectional comparison of potentially predatory, presumed legitimate open access, and presumed legitimate subscription-based biomedical journals was conducted. Roughly 100 randomly selected journals in each category was selected for this review. Each journal was evaluated on criteria within specific characteristics including:

  • Aims & scope
  • Journal name & publisher
  • Homepage integrity (look & feel)
  • Indexing & impact factor
  • Editors & staff
  • Editorial process & peer review
  • Publication ethics & policies
  • Publication model & copyright
  • Journal location & contact

The results are summarized in this infographic:


Shamseer, L., Moher, D., Maduekwe, O., Turner, L., Barbour, V., Burch, R., & … Shea, B. J. (2017). Potential predatory and legitimate biomedical journals: can you tell the difference? A cross-sectional comparison. BMC Medicine, 15(1), 28. doi:10.1186/s12916-017-0785-9

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Construction updates

5193112579_628ba1d941_bHimmelfarb Library’s elevator will be replaced from September 11 through November 29, 2017.
This project means that the elevator will be out of service during this period.  The project will also cause some noise disruptions in the library although the noisiest times will be from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. on the B2 level on weekdays only.
Air handlers on the library’s roof will be replaced between September 15 and October 15, 2017.  This project will cause some noise on the 3rd floor rooftop on weekdays.
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New: MedOne Neurosurgery



MedOne Neurosurgery is now accessible via Himmelfarb Library.  MedOne Neurosurgery is the updated interface and full-text neurosurgery library that was previously known as Thieme eNeurosurgery.  MedOne Neurosurgery features:

  • 183 premier full-text neurosurgery books including Handbook of Neurosurgery (Greenberg, 8th ed.)
  • Training center with 2,300 review questions linking to Handbook of Neurosurgery
  • Step-by-step instructions for 400+ surgical procedures
  • Case presentations with management and follow-up tips
  • Extensive video and image collections including image comparison and PowerPoint download functionality
  • Updated interface with improved e-book viewing, printing options, note-taking functionality, and responsive design

MedOne Neurosurgery is available from on- and off-campus locations via Himmelfarb Library.  If you have any questions, please contact Laura Abate (leabate@gwu.edu).

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Lexicomp: new Drug Reports search option

lexicompLexicomp‘s new Drug Reports search option is designed to improve your drug search by providing information on if medications should be ruled in or out based on a specific condition or contraindication.
Drug Reports can also search for drugs that may or may not cause a specific adverse reaction.  Drug Reports is accessible from Lexicomp’s blue toolbar.
For more information on Lexicomp‘s Drug Reports search tool, please access this training video: Play Video (2:10).
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New WEPA Interface

wepaThe WEPA print stations are being upgraded Saturday night and will have a new user interface when you next print!   The new screens will be more intuitive and offer more options.  You will be able to quickly add files to your list from other sources and release them all and cancel all documents or cancel individual documents during printing.  You will also have faster access to your cloud storage.  As always, if you have any questions about printing, please stop by the circulation desk on the first floor for assistance.

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Announcing Launch of the Historical Collection!


Himmelfarb Library Artist Rendered Model

Himmelfarb Library announces the launch of a new digital collection in June 2017 in the Health Sciences Research Commons, the Historical Collection. The focus of the collection is the people, places, and events that make up the evolution of the George Washington University School of Medicine.

Items in the collection include, but are not limited to, photographs, newsletters, publications, and newspapers.  Some highlights include a telegram sent to a newly-accepted medical student, course catalogs from the 19th century, and images of buildings from the Columbian College, the predecessor of today’s George Washington University.


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Epocrates Essentials App – Important Update Information

epocrates2Due to changes at Epocrates, Inc., Himmelfarb Library was not able to renew our license to the Epocrates Essentials app beyond June 30, 2017.

If you use the Epocrates Essentials app, please renew it now:


  1. Access Himmelfarb’s Epocrates page and provide information regarding your GW affiliation then click Get it Now.
  2. Login with your existing Epocrates login/password.
  3. Epocrates Essentials will appear in your Shopping Cart with charge for $174.99 and credit for $174.99 (you should not pay or be asked for any credit card information because the balance due will be $0); click on Checkout and complete ‘purchase’.
  4. On your phone or iPad, open the Epocrates app and login with your Epocrates login/password; your app will automatically upgrade with the premium content.


We realize that Epocrates Essentials is a valuable and popular resource for our users and will continue to work with Epocrates, Inc. to provide it to our users.  If you need assistance with the app, please ask us.

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