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Make NIH Happy: Quick Tips for Avoiding Disreputable Journals when Publishing

Recognizing that NIH‐funded investigators have inadvertently published results in “predatory” journals, the NIH recently issued Notice NOT-OD-18-011 “encouraging” authors to publish in “reputable” journals.

While there are existing detailed guidelines for selecting good journals, here are two easy tips for instantly identifying a predatory journal:

  1. Look for the indexing statement and logos or icons. Accept only PubMed or MEDLINE, EMBASE, Scopus, Web of Science and other known research indices or databases. Ask an HSLS librarian if unsure. Also, avoid journals touting inclusion in Google Scholar! Predatory journals are retrieved by Google Scholar, making it a poor indexing benchmark.
  2. Look for the Journal Impact Factor, the h‐index, and other metrics such as CiteScore and SNIP in Elsevier products and the Relative Citation Ratio from NIH. These are validated research metrics backed by published research. Be alert for Google Scholar metrics disguised as Journal Impact Factors. Avoid Index Copernicus and other imposter impact factors. Visit the HSLS guide to Research Impact for more resources on impact metrics.

Test yourself: Is the following statement from a reputable journal?

“The journal has been indexed in Google Scholar, SCOPEMED, Tubitak Dergipark, Index Copernicus, Index Scholar, Index Journal, ISI Index, CiteFactor.”

Refer to the examples below:

Reputable Indices or Databases

Web of Science Web of Science
Scopus Scopus
Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) DOAJ Directory of Open Access Journals


Beware these Indices or Databases

Google Scholar
Warning! Predatory journals tout Google Scholar indexing!
Google Scholar
CiteFactor CiteFactor Academic Scientific Journals
ICI World of Journals ICI World of Journals
Scribd Scribd


Impact Metrics used by Predatory Journals

Google Scholar Metrics Google Scholar Metrics
Index Copernicus Index Copernicus International
Real-time Impact Factor
Research Journal Impact Factor (RJIF) Research Journal Impact Factor (RJIF)


As a final backup, Stop Predatory Journals is a useful new website maintained by a group of anonymous academics who resurrected Beall’s lists of predatory (or possibly predatory) journals and publishers. Journals and publishers are listed separately, and new sections have been added covering “Misleading and Fake Metrics” as well as “Hijacked Journals,” making it easy to track legitimate journals whose titles or URLs may have been co-opted by alternative or illegitimate management. This and more resources for assessing publishing quality can be found on the HSLS Scholarly Communication/Publishing Guide.

If you have any questions, or for more information, please e-mail Andrea Ketchum at or call 412-648-9757.

~ Andrea Ketchum

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Get to Know the TEC!

All of Us Research Program, NIH > NLM > NNLMThe All of Us Research Program Training and Education Center is a new UG4 cooperative agreement with the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in partnership with the All of Us Research Program (AoURP). The Training and Education Center (TEC) is the central repository for educational content and trainings related to the program. The TEC will be responsible for the development, design, implementation, and evaluation of a variety of educational deliverables targeted to key audiences, including AoURP participants, researchers, health professionals, and general consumer health. There will be four main staff working at the TEC—Jennifer Jones, Executive Director; Lydia Collins, Participant Engagement Lead; Program Manager (TBH); and Instructional Designer-Technologist (TBH).

The TEC uses a Team Science framework to collaborate with NLM staff and AoURP leadership to determine priorities and highlight expertise across the national AoURP consortium for material development. We will leverage existing NLM and AoURP resources, including the integration of NLM learning management system platforms to support the educational content and trainings developed. We will make sure that all projects meet federal standards to be 508-compliant with language and accessibility, and all of our participant materials will also be available in Spanish. The courses will have interactive instructional content and may include “Ask the Experts” and informative webinars aimed at AoURP participants.

In addition, the TEC will create an advisory team of professionals and consumers to assist in guiding the development, implementation and evaluation of the program. We like to think of our work as a “start-up”—there is a lot to learn and do, but we are an important part to the success and understanding of the overall program.

To learn more, and to follow what we are developing, visit the TEC website. More information about the All of Us Research Program can be found at

~ Jennifer R. Jones, Executive Director, Training and Education Center, All of Us Research Program

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Genomic Analysis is a Snap using SnapGene

SnapGene MapView
Image: Restriction Cloning ( by SnapGene

Would you like to…

  • easily plan and simulate your DNA manipulations?
  • visualize ORFs, reading frames, and primer binding sites?
  • automatically record the steps in a cloning project?
  • share annotated sequence files with other researchers?

You can do all of this and more with SnapGene. The HSLS Molecular Biology Information Service now provides access to this popular molecular biology software, making it that much easier for Pitt researchers to easily perform in silico DNA analysis, molecular cloning, and PCR. Continue reading

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Redesigned Mobile Apps Website Launched

The Mobile Apps website has a new look! The new website has a more user friendly design and provides easier access to all of the information you need in order to get started using the apps.

All of the apps are from HSLS licensed databases that work with our institutional accounts. You’ll find instructions for accessing the Micromedex, ClinicalKey, and UpToDate apps, among others. Each app is evaluated twice per year and the content is then updated.

The new website provides:

  • Instructions on how to create an account in order to access an app.
  • Information about app updates and expirations.
  • The content that is included in each app.
  • Directions on how to find help.
  • Direct links to the Google Play Store and Apple Store for easy app downloads.

Information about UpToDate app

The website is mobile optimized and can be accessed from any device.

If you have any questions, or would like further information, please send an e-mail to Ask a Librarian.

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Tracking down Datasets Using PubMed and PMC

PubMed and PubMed Central (PMC) now offer filters to limit a search to only those articles or citations that include related data links, supplemental material, data citations, or a data availability or data accessibility statement.

The filters, detailed below, can be combined with any search by simply adding the Boolean operator “AND” and the specific filter into the search box (see the screenshots below for example syntax; the filters are highlighted in yellow).


data[filter] in PubMed search box

Use data[filter] to find citations with related data links in either the Secondary Source ID field or the LinkOut – more resources field (both located below the abstract). Continue reading

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HSLS Staffer’s Experience at Pitt Day in Harrisburg

Pitt Day in Harrisburg travelers
Donna Perkins (front, left), Web Editor/Main Desk
Photo: Mike Drazdzinski, Office of University Communications, University of Pittsburgh

On May 23, 2018, I traveled to the state Capitol to serve as one of the enthusiastic ambassadors representing our university at Pitt Day in Harrisburg. Present for the event were Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, faculty, staff, alumni, students, plus Pitt’s mascot Roc the Panther. From departure to return I saw a number of familiar Pitt faces including Albert Tanjaya who is a student government board member and Chuck Staresinic from Academic Affairs in Pitt’s Health Sciences. The trip provides additional opportunities for forging new relationships with others who share Pitt as a common denominator. Sitting directly behind me on the motor coach were Tom Armstrong and Janet Gerster. It was lovely meeting them and learning about their very important roles as recruiters in the Office of Human Resources. Tom is a recruiter for Veterans and Individuals with disABILITIES. Continue reading

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NNLM MAR Staff Attend All of Us Launch

Flewelling and Milline (MAR) with Collins (NIH)
NNLM MAR Executive Director Kate Flewelling and All of Us Community Engagement Coordinator Veronica Leigh Milliner with NIH Director Francis Collins.

On May 6, 2018, the National Institutes of Health officially launched the All of Us Research Program. Launch events took place in seven cities across the country and online.

MAR All of Us Community Engagement Coordinator Veronica Leigh Milliner and I attended the launch event at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York City. The event consisted of a Community Education Fair and an impressive line-up of speakers. The event was organized by the All of Us Research Program NYC Consortium that includes Columbia University Medical Center, Weill Cornell Medicine, NYC Health + Hospitals Harlem and New York-Presbyterian.

At the fair, Veronica and I promoted the use of high quality health information resources such as MedlinePlus, encouraged attendees to think of public libraries as partners in a health community, and talked about our role with the All of Us Research Program. Continue reading

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Annual American Osler Society Meeting Held in Pittsburgh

Jonathon Erlen
Jonathon Erlen

American Osler Society

The 48th Annual American Osler Society (AOS) meeting was held May 13-16, 2018, in Pittsburgh, PA, and was co-hosted by the University of Pittsburgh and the C.F. Reynolds Medical History Society. Jonathon Erlen, History of Medicine Librarian, along with Georgia Duker, Professor of Cell Biology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, co-chaired the Local Arrangements Committee. The meeting attracted over 125 participants from around the world.

The final AOS program contained over fifty-five papers, an all-time high for an AOS meeting. Topics ranged from aspects of ancient history of medicine to current medical issues. The meeting officially began with several songs performed by part of the University of Pittsburgh Female Choir. Then the Chancellor, Patrick Gallagher, warmly welcomed the AOS, followed by welcoming remarks by Bernard Goldstein, President of the C. F. Reynolds Medical History Society. Continue reading

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Treasures from the Rare Book Room: Befriend That Bear!

Keogh Zoologia Medicinalis HibernicaJohn K’eogh (1681-1754) was an Irish naturalist and the author of Botanologia Universalis Hibernica (1735), an early Irish herbal, and Zoologia Medicinalis Hibernica (1739). His intent with both works was to show that his country was self-sufficient to produce all remedies to cure the locals of any sickness without the need to import foreign medicines.

Zoologia Medicinalis Hibernica, owned by Falk Library, is quite rare. It is bound in a modern Morocco leather, with gilded lettering on the spine. The paper used by the Irish printer might have come from the local mill, but one used by a binder has a clearly visible watermark of “Maid of Dort” which ties in to a Dutch master papermaker of the 18th century.

The book on the medicinal virtues of animals, written before the standardization of FDA regulations or the need to prove efficacy, offers information on remedies in a typical hearsay fashion for the times. K’eogh is familiar with medical classics. He cites Galen, Avicenna, and Rhases. He also refers to earlier naturalists such as Pliny the Elder, Albertus Magnus, Johann Hartmann, Jan Jonston, Ulisse Aldrovandi, and others. Continue reading

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HSLS Staff News

The HSLS Staff News section includes recent HSLS presentations, publications, staff changes, staff promotions, degrees earned, etc.


Jennifer Jones, MPH, joined HSLS on May 8 as the Executive Director of the All of Us Research Program Training and Education Center. Jen received her MPH from the Pitt Graduate School of Public Health, and earned a BS from Juniata College. She has worked at the University for 7 years. Prior to joining HSLS she was the Community Engagement Senior Coordinator at the Pitt Clinical & Translational Science Institute.


Author name in bold is HSLS-affiliated

C.G. Escobar-Viera, D.L. Whitfield, C.B. Wessel, Head of Research Initiatives, et al., published “For Better or for Worse? A Systematic Review of the Evidence on Social Media Use and Depression among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Minorities” in JMIR Mental Health, 2018. Continue reading

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Classes for July 2018

HSLS Classes

Trim Down Your Search: Focusing PubMed in on a Topic, Monday, July 9, 4-5 p.m.

Photoshop First Look: An Introduction to Image Editing, Tuesday, July 10, 10-11 a.m.

Painless PubMed*, Wednesday, July 11, 12-1 p.m.

EndNote Basics, Thursday, July 12, 9-11 a.m.

Introduction to the Pitt Data Catalog, Thursday, July 19, 1-2 p.m.

Presentation Zen: Effective Visuals and Design, Thursday, July 19, 3-4 p.m.

Box for Storing and Sharing Research Data, Tuesday, July 24, 9-10 a.m.

Painless PubMed*, Tuesday, July 24, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Molecular Biology Information Service

ChIP-Seq & Galaxy, Wednesday, July 11, 1-4 p.m.

Bioinformatics Data Analysis: Options 4 Rigor, Wednesday, July 25, 1-2 p.m. Continue reading