64 Responses to Oncotarget’s Peer Review is Highly Questionable

  1. Jeffrey, I disagree with your prediction.
    Oncotarget is here to stay. Mikhail Blagosklonny founded another journal before Oncotarget, and it’s Cell Cycle, which does quite well it seems (it is a subscription journal, and this is where Blagosklonny publishes many of his own papers, as I did my PhD just on his own field). That letter by Blagosklonny is very worrying, one wonders: is this how he runs Cell Cycle as well?
    Thing is, it is not like anybody can count on Cell Cycle or Oncotarget to bend peer review for them. In fact, Blagosklonny himself decides whether you are influential enough for him to send your paper out for peer review (rigged or not).
    I suggest a new term therefore: luxury predatory publisher, open to exclusive circle of friends only. Makes me think of Frontiers ;-)
    Leonid Schneider

    • Yurii says:

      “Thing is, it is not like anybody can count on Cell Cycle or Oncotarget to bend peer review for them. In fact, Blagosklonny himself decides whether you are influential enough for him to send your paper out for peer review”

      Just out of curiosity, do you really believe that it is not like this in any other journals? Do you seriously think that a paper submited by, say a Nobel Laureate (or simply a full professor with whom a Nature’s edditor happend to drink beer during the last meeting) and a paper coming from, say a mid-range brazilian university would get equal consideration?

      • Yurii, I am not naive or clueless. Of course you are right. But the situation is not black and white, it hardly ever is. The issue here: is Oncotarget an extreme case, a luxury predatory journal where editors’ buddies can load off anything they can’t get publish elsewhere (again, comparison with Frontiers)?

    • Yurii says:

      Can’t say about editor’s buddies. I recomended this journal twice – in 2013 and in 2014. I think Oncotarget does not or at least did not have much of a pre-review screening – they sent either everything or close to everything to reviewers. To me that was the major selling point of this journal – I have a thing about editorial rejections. In both cases the manuscripts were reviewed. One of those manuscripts was rejected with three reviews that made sense. The other was accepted but the reviewers asked for a numbers of changes and additional experimetns. Based on this experience (N=2) I did not feel that these reviews were in any way compromised. I cannot obviously say that about 100% of submited manuscripts but, frankly, I don’t think that that the evidence presneted in the original post (n=1) are strong enough to make this claim either.

  2. bronsen says:

    the supposedly redacted link only says “oncotarget.msub” but still points to the paper in question.

  3. Ah, and yes, Carlo Croce is surely an author every journal must be very proud of: https://pubpeer.com/search?q=carlo+croce
    Again, Frontiers in Medicine has Croce’s partner Alfredo Fusco as associate editor: https://pubpeer.com/search?q=fusco
    Blagosklonny also names Arnold Levine: https://pubpeer.com/search?q=arnold+levine

    Finally, the email Jeffrey quotes was not a one-off: https://twitter.com/Gene_Regulation/status/722487286273863680

  4. Mikhail Blagosklonny says:

    All papers are reviewed by 3-7 reviewers. I do not know any journals with more peer-reviews than Oncotarget, although I served on 15 Journals as Editorial Board Member. The only papers that were reviewed more freely are from the University of Colorado. Because you put a pressure on us, the only University we were eager to be positive more than necessary was your University. However, we agree to reconsider and review all papers from Colorado University again. Because we do not know any other Universities with special treatment. If you think that the reviews were not strong enough, it might be applied only to the University of Colorado, where two reviewers instead of 3-7 were sufficient to make a decision for the Editorial Board. If you wish, we can reconsider all these publications upon your request.

    Please make this comment public

    • Dear Dr. Blagosklonny, many thanks for joining the discussion. I am sure you are always very careful when evaluating peer reviews even if these only contain one sentence or heavy COIs.
      Since you take pride in your editorial board, what is your esteemed opinion of the PubPeer accusations of data manipulation against the publications of your senior editors Carlo Croce, Arnold Levine and Ronald De Pinho? How about the Oncotarget papers flagged there for suspicions of data manipulations: https://pubpeer.com/search?q=oncotarget

      • Maria G Castro says:

        Dear Leonid:

        I will state some facts related to the points you made above

        1- In other very well established and prestigious journals, the fee to get your papers published, can range from 2,000 to 3,800usd, more so if the paper includes color figures, so the point about the cost of publishing in Oncotarget, in my view is mute.

        2- In my experience, the manuscripts I have submitted to Oncotarget have undergone stringent peer review by 2 of more reviewers. Who all asked for additional experiments, which we had to perform before resubmiting the revised version of our manuscript.

        3- The statement about: “if you do not have time for a full review, a general opinion regarding suitablity for publication will be acceptable”. I myself have received requests of the same sort from other reputable journals. This includes rejection, without full review. So this is quite common practise.

        4- The issue about publishing questionable data, that has happened with many reputable jurnals, including Nature, Science, Blood, Journal of biological Chemistry, to name a few. In these jurnals, numerous papers have had to be retracted on several ocasions! Cheating is part of the human nature, and we can only do our best to prevent it from happeneing for the peer review systerm is not bullet proof!

        5- The publishing system is far from perfect, but Oncotarget does not veer away from the most reputable journals in the biomedical field.


        Maria G Castro, PhD

    • From Morocco says:

      How about spamming? …. “We also can reconsider papers rejected from other high-impact journals based on previous peer-reviews and rebuttal. Such paper can be accepted in 2-3 days after submission and published rapidly in PubMed and open access.” …
      For more information see the blog of Rédaction Médicale et Scientifique/Medical and Scientific Editing, entitled: Danger, danger : les revues prédatrices sont bien faites et piègent facilement les naïfs… je rencontre trop d’experts naïfs.


    • MC says:

      I don’t understand. You review papers “more freely” when they come from CU campuses? You published papers from there with fewer reviews in Oncotarget, because pressure was put on your by Mr Beall? And now you are suggesting (threatening?) to re-review those papers only? I don’t think that is even a remotely close way of addressing the criticisms brought up here.

      Please clarify.

      And, why has no one else pointed out that this is a ridiculous comment purporting to be from the editor?

  5. Guido says:

    Honestly in my experience I can say that, at least, oncotarget send all the manuscripts out for review… it is surely more ethical than an initial rejection based on a simple look by a single editor… Moreover, the reviewers raised reasonable points and went through the manuscripts very carefully… Thus I can’t support the criticisms to the journal

    • Guido Berens says:

      What is unethical about a “desk rejection” by the editor? As a reviewer, I don’t want to waste my time reading papers that have such obvious ‘fatal’ flaws that anyone can spot them within ten seconds. Likewise as an author, I don’t want to wait two months for a set of reviews just to be told that my paper doesn’t fit the scope of the journal. In my field (management), I believe the rate of desk rejections by top journals is increasing, and I think that is a good development. Of course some editors can abuse their power by desk-rejecting their rivals or enemies, but the author can then resubmit to another journal without wasting much time (provided that the rejection by the editor occurs quickly after submission).

  6. Ken Lanfear says:

    Three years in a row the Impact Factor varies by only 0.03??? Has anybody verified this?

    • Wim Crusio says:

      Just had a look: from 2011-2014, the IFs were 4.784 – 6.636 – 6.627 – 6.359. Equally interesting is the number of “citable items”: 121 – 114 – 198 – 979 (!)

      • Ken Lanfear says:

        They triple the citable items in one year and the IF barely changes? Curiouser and curiouser.

    • Harvey says:

      Its a total scam – they charge ~$2000(?) or something similar to publish an article, and have an awesome editorial board to get good initial articles submitted, then only published a couple of hundred articles in the first year or two. Now they have dramatically increased their output, to thousands of articles a year (basically by accepting almost EVERYTHING), because people were attracted to the high impact factor which was partly a function of the low number of citable items. This year it looks as though they might publish TENS of thousands of articles.

      The IF calculations take into account the last 2 years, but this year I think it will dramatically drop, due to the number of citable items in 2015. So people will not find it such an attractive journal any more due to the lower IF, but the publishers won’t care, they’ve made their millions in profit. And they are saying they’re going to split the journal into different sub-journals based on field, so once the Oncotarget IF drops, they’ll be able to say it is due to the splitting into the different journals.

      • Harvey says:

        Update: The IF did drop, not as much as I thought, but down to 5 (>20% drop), but next year, when the ever increasing number of articles this year is counted, it should drop even more precipitously. And notice their website has updated news and other items, but they haven’t updated their IF, even though it has been 5.0, rather than 6.4, for a few months now. And to correct my previous cost of publishing (which this article did quote but I missed), being about $2900 per article – compare this to 2 other prolific open access publications – PLOS One and Scientific Reports – $1500.

  7. OffHours says:

    As a flippant side note, the co-editor’s family name sounds so likeable, Blagosklonny literally means benevolent or favourable in Russian.

  8. ferniglab says:

    If one has a reasonable number of peer reviewers, then for some of them a paper may well be on the edge of their technical / scientific knowledge, but a peer may have a deep fundamental interest in the ‘model’ that is deduced by the authors or in some small technical aspect. So a more general review may well also be useful to the editor in making a decision.

    This is certainly better than:
    (i) An editorial decision on whether to review or not

    (ii) using too narrow a range of reviewers, who may therefore miss a simple, yet fundamental flaw.

    A good example of (ii) is the arsenate DNA paper in Science (still to be retracted). While an organic chemist is not an obvious reviewer and would probably only accept to review such a paper if they had the sort of invite that stated ‘“general opinion” of the manuscript is acceptable instead of a full peer review.’, because otherwise they would refuse, on the grounds their expertise is well outside the scope of the paper. In fact it is not and a rejection by an organic chemistry 9arsenate esters being unstable in water) would have saved a lot of people a lot of time and effort.

    As for the english, it is not so bad, it just happens to be the Russian flavour and in science we are used to 1001 flavours of the language; if we were not, communication with the lingua franca would be impossible. After all, a N. American would doubtless consider that I have made some spelling errors, e.g., flavour, yet from my perspective I have not.

    • MC says:

      “Flavour” and other “our” forms are widely used in Canada.

    • OffHours says:

      “As for the english, it is not so bad, it just happens to be the Russian flavour and in science we are used to 1001 flavours of the language; if we were not, communication with the lingua franca would be impossible.”

      I have to say that from what I have learnt from Russian textbooks on English stylistics this is a poor excuse. They teach that the language of science tends to be precise, exact, unambiguous, impersonal, the use of tropes and figures of speech is restricted. Shouldn’t a scientific journal hire an editor to make sure that every submitted scholarly paper is grammatically correct and stylistically consistent with a certain standard variety of English – and thus unambiguous for its readers? While introducing the readership to “1001 flavours of the language” brought to them by non-native speakers sounds as an appropriate objective for a fiction publisher.

  9. Happy says:

    Is “Asia Pacific Management Review” a good journal?? It’s websit: http://apmr.management.ncku.edu.tw/
    Thank you!

  10. […] Beall has a lot of questions about peer review at Oncotarget, a journal with a relatively high impact […]

  11. Anonymous says:

    K..thn how come Oncotarget got indexed in Medline and PubMed???

  12. Michael says:

    How come OncoTarget gets indexed in PubMed and Medline? I suggest the questioner look up the Special Section on Scientific Discourse that appeared in Science a few years ago (Science, 342: 57-77, 2013). So many garbage journals get listed in these indexes. Pick and choose a journal (Jeff Beall calls them predatory journals); All you need to do is pay the “bribe”/publication fee, submit something that represents a manuscript, assign a few fake reviewers – you can assign a few of your friends, or make your own with a few e-mail addresses – that way you can write your own critiques, and within a few weeks (sometimes within 24 hrs) you have a PubMed or Medline listed publication.

    As for OncoTarget, you still can see 24-48 hr submission-to-publication windows for some articles; how is that possible unless you rig the system? Also, their Editorial Board is listed as the”founding editorial board”. Hello? who is there now?

    • YC says:

      “As for OncoTarget, you still can see 24-48 hr submission-to-publication windows for some articles; how is that possible unless you rig the system? ”

      This question alone suggests to me that you either never published anything yourself or simply very unfamiliar with the process. In many journals (in fact in most) the submission date is typically the date of the final revision. In other words you have no idea how many reviews a manuscript underwent before that “submission” date. Journals do it to decrease the reported “review time”. In many cases a manuscript undergo 2-3 rounds of revision before the editor put the date of the final revision as a “submission” date. It is actually quite common. I have seen it with many crystal structure papers because in this case final revision is rather technical and often does not need additional re-submission to the reviewers.

      • This information is completely wrong. It’s clear that a shill for Oncotarget is leaving comments here. Is everything about the journal fake?

      • herr doktor bimler says:

        In many cases a manuscript undergo 2-3 rounds of revision before the editor put the date of the final revision as a “submission” date. It is actually quite common.

        I call Bullshit. A Submission date has many purposes, but one of them is to stake out priority. An author wants it on record that she first submitted her results on Date X — not on some later post-revision Date Y, by which time someone else might have published something similar.

      • Riaz Uddin says:

        Nope! I disagree. Usually submission date implies the date the manuscript has been submitted in a journal. Acceptance date is the date when the auricle was accepted in principal and publication date is the date when it was made available (some journals make the article available online ahead of publication). However, it’s not unlikely for some articles to be accepted by the editorial office within a short period of time. In such cases it can be argued that the manuscript was submitted to a journal, subsequently was reviewed and was transferred (or was submitted by the authors) to another journal as it deemed “not up to the mark” for that particular journal. The other journal might have a relatively “easy going” editorial policy and accepted the manuscript based on previous review reports.

    • Wim Crusio says:

      Getting into PubMed is relatively easy, as any article published as OA can be uploaded into PubMed Central and then automatically gets into PubMed. However, MEDLINE is much more selective and journals only are included after a serious vetting process. It’s pretty serious, but like any vetting process, I assume that it is not infallible.

      • Wim Crusio says:

        The link you cite is for publishers who wish to add their whole journal to PMC. However, if you or I publish an article in some OA journal, even a bogus one, we are required to upload it into PMC (if you’re NIH funded, that is), regardless of whether the journal itself is included in PMC or not. In the latter case, if I search PMC or PubMed for the bogus journal in which I published, it will pop up and display my article (and any others uploaded by other authors). So the journal will seem to be included in PMC, even though it has not been vetted by them. As an aside, PMC does include several confirmed predatory journals, too, so their vetting process is not all that rigorous…

  13. Anonymous says:

    What would be d future of PubMed and ISI indexing ? And why it’s needed??

  14. Morty says:

    Please note that there is a very high frequency of self citation (Oncotarget papers cite other Oncotarget papers) and the relatively new journal Oncoscience (from the same publisher) have an artificial high citation of Oncotarget papers. This is probably some of the explanation to explain the high impact factor for Oncotarget (I used Web of science to analyze the citations).

    Please also note that most of the papers are published by Chinese authors. Could there be a citation ring here to boost the citations and impact factor for Oncotarget and Oncoscience?

  15. Uli Schweizer says:

    Dear Prof. Beall,

    are there more evidences for fraud or predatory Journal practice?

    Have you a check list which can be used to compare traditional and OA journals?

    Why do you consider that the “open access movement is a Euro-dominant one, a neo-colonial attempt to cast scholarly communication policy according to the aspirations of a cliquish minority of European collectivists”* ?

    May be it is time to disclose your conflicts of interests.

    *quoted from Wiki

  16. PPP says:

    I have personal experience with publishing in OncoTarget. My group and others in my University have published a few papers there. In all cases the paper was accepted for review (which is something that, as Yurii said, I appreciate). In most cases the reviewers asked for improvements (more or less exhaustive) and commented in a way indistinguishable from other journals with similar impact factor. But in one surprising case, the manuscript was accepted “as is”. Maybe we were lucky to have referees who “did not have time for detailed review, and expressed their general opinion”. My feeling (and it is only a feeling) is that even if the referees do their job as usual, the editor does not meddle too much. I really don’t know how many editors are working there, since in all cases Dr. Blagosklonny seemed to be in charge.

  17. […] suspeitas sobre o peer review (revisão por pares) do Oncotarget foram apontadas pelo blog Scholarly Open Access. Em seu post, o professor de biblioteconomia Jeffrey Beall, da Universidade do Colorado em Denver, […]

  18. Paolo Vezzoni says:

    I found some comments unwarranted.
    The real problem in scientific publishing is that most papers are rejected by the Editorial Staff without any review. The same paper can be immediately rejected or sent out for review by Journals of similar relevance (as quantified by their I.F.).
    With regard to the relatively high IF of Oncotarget, it can be explained by its politics of accepting papers based on reviews from other Journals. But this procedure is shared also by other very high impact Journals. If you accept papers rejected by Nature, Science or Cell only because “they do not fit in the top 5% papers” , but without any technical bias, you will be rapidly publish many very good papers.
    With regard to the price, today it can cost several thousands dollars to publish a paper in most Journals.
    Finally, accepting a paper as it is, which rarely happens, might simply menas that the reviewers reached a high level of maturity, without bothering his colleagues with minimal points.

  19. Mano says:

    We all know from experience in or own fields that top tier journals such as Science and Nature often publish papers that apparently did not receive rigorous peer review. Such papers are particularly misleading to the general readership which tends to trust these elite journals more than other journals and also relies on name recognition of the authors. Oncotarget is clearly an author friendly journal with a good impact factor. The papers published in it are typically relatively large bodies of work. Most authors and reviewers appear to be serious about ensuring the quality of the papers, which should ultimately be judged on an individual basis for publications in any journal. As far as I know, authors receive multiple reviews from Oncotarget, even if it is from reviewers suggested by them (all the more reason for authors to want to impress the reviewers) and revise their papers accordingly. It would be extremely naive to think that Nature and Science proportionally have any fewer misleading papers than Oncotarget. All journals are abused by people who know how to do it but why not focus on the good work that is published instead?

  20. Adam Hurlstone says:

    I am dismayed by many of the negative comments here demonizing OncoTarget and cheering on its demise. I think its doing a valuable service and meeting a need in allowing more work to be made public. I can’t speak for the motivation of the Editors but I don’t think it too appalling if they do also include making profit. Profit making entities are a fairly universal feature of market economies and do a lot of social good (employ people, add value, provide choice to consumers, and in the case of publishing disseminate knowledge). The cost of publishing in OncoTarget is toward the low end and offers good value for taxpayers and donors everywhere.

    Regarding my own involvement with OncoTarget and motivation, we have published a couple of studies recently with them which I am very proud of, which have taken many years and dollars to generate, and are sound studies with potential for impact. I greatly resent the accusations that OncoTarget is a dumping ground for low quality work form the editors’ friends (I have never met any of the editors or had any contact with them before publishing) or for Chinese (How racist! Is it so difficult to accept that an ancient people with a flare for scholarship might be able to produce quality science too and not just Americans and Europeans) with minimal/no review for the sole purpose of profiteering. Having had our work cursorily dismissed by editors at other journals and returned with crass and uninformative comments, it was pleasant to have the studies sent out for review so promptly (if nothing else we would get some expert feedback to improve our work). Publishing with OncoTarget was very efficient but I don’t think any less rigorous than anywhere else I’ve published (including journals with both higher and lower IF). In both cases, reviewers’ comments were objective and largely constructive. Having rebutted the comments and revised the manuscripts, the studies were re-reviewed before being finally accepted by the editor (i.e. standard practice).

    I was drawn to OncoTarget by it’s reasonable IF. Unfortunately, IFs have become a critical consideration in the metrics-driven world of Academic publishing. The Editors of OncoTarget aren’t responsible for this culture even if they feed off it. There is a crisis in publishing just as there is in funding. There are too many of us chasing a limited amount of space to publish in (or dollars for funding). A lot of decent ideas are not enjoying the attention they deserve and a lot of manipulating and falsifying is going on at the high IF end because the stakes have become so high. Despite what many seem to think on this blog, modest people who don’t want to over-egg their findings and people with integrity who don’t want to falsify their data are looking to journals like OncoTarget to get their work out there too. My only hope is that OncoTarget with its pragmatic approach to publishing doesn’t become a victim of it’s own success nor of groundless smear campaigns .

  21. Sandy says:

    I feel disappointed about this journal too. At least at the reviewing process, the manuscript was sent exactly to those people, naming preferred reviewer, for peer-review. I received once but declined. That manuscript was from a lab I knew very well. I can tell the quality of their data simply by reading their abstract, because they used the same idea for more than ten years. They usually publish their results at journals with IF around 2-4. They have published two paper on oncotarget already. The third one, I declined for review, was accepted soon.

  22. darteg says:

    Predatory journals are as a cancer – the consequences are devastating. I cross fingers to JB’s effort!!!

  23. MC says:

    As first author or , lately, corresponding author I published three papers in oncotarget. Those papers have received a conspicuous number of citations and were, in all cases, rigorously reviewed by three-four reviewers. in all cases their comments were deep, interesting and never superficial. Nothing else to add.

  24. M Aboagye says:

    The status quo want to discredit any journal that gives access to the majority of scientists to publish their works. First it was PlosOne. Now it is oncotarget. But the so-called prestigious journals with so-called rigorous peer review publish more papers with a few zip codes or post codes. Count the number of universities that publish in the so-called top ten scientific journals and you will realize that those so-called top journals are also an old boy’s club! Open access publishing is the future of science. Why are people so afraid of information being published? If the science is bad and published anyway, it does not matter because science is self-correcting and soon we will know that it is bad science. What what good is it to society to block publication of works that could be good science but prevented from being published because it does not come from a prestigious university or the authors are not connected?
    The world does not need a few opinionated people to tell the millions of scientists what is good science and what is not. So stop your crusade of trying to suppress the free publication of information and scientific censorship!

    But you can’t convince me that all the other papers in other journals that are citing papers published in oncotarget are doing so because of some grand conspiracy. concentrate on your own research and advance science, rather than waste time criticizing people who want to give scientists the platform to publish their works.

    I can give you several examples of papers published in Science and Nature that were retracted because it was junk science. Do you remember the paper about Arsenate in DNA. Of course editors and peer reviewers make mistakes so lets not waste our time always criticizing every mistake journals or editors make.

    Why don’t we all publish our works without any “gatekeepers” and then let the public decide what is good science and what is not via citations and paper downloads and reproducibility?

  25. MG says:

    OncoTarget solicited peer review from a fell grad student. That’s all I need to know about their practices.

  26. Graddy says:

    Ha ha!!!!
    I got a similar email asking me to review a paper. I though exactly the same as you. I have never received such solicitation before, this clearly bends the peer-review process.

  27. Attila says:

    From what I can see of this meandering discussion there is confusion between popular science and quality science. Impact Factor is more a measure of the popularity of a paper than of its quality, although the two quite often do go together. Publications on important and familiar subjects by big names tend to get selected as being of more value and importance for other scientists, the press, and the general public. While this has benefits it also has a negative effect on the pursuit of novel research or provocative ideas, which may later become breakthroughs. Another problem with IF is that it is a rigged game to which everyone has become shackled by the need to obtain recognition and future funds. IF favours well-connected research leaders who already have extensive funds and connections. Often these individuals are very good researchers but the converse, that poorly connected scientists are always inferior, is not true. How does this relate to Oncotarget? in my opinion most of the criticisms on this board are unfounded and sound like sour grapes or a desire to bring down a good journal that is working for many. As a journal editor myself I can say that it is the job of the editor to work with the authors, the reviewers and the publication team to get the best out of the science that is being produced. If some reviewers return blatantly biased or inadequate reviews it is the job of the editor to intervene. By having many reviewers it is possible to mitigate some effects of bad or biased reviewers. As already said by another commentator, and as should be clear to all research professionals the process of science is self-correcting. Bad research always gets exposed and in this regard the elite journals have quite a share of such kinds of papers, which don’t seem to have done them too much harm. Good scientists should be assisted in publishing their papers and obtaining recognition for their work in whatever way they can. The editors of elite journals who reject papers in an offhand fashion because they are deemed to not appeal to an elite audience are doing good for the journal but not doing any favours for science as a whole.

  28. I wonder who peer reviewed this.

    Any manuscript containing such a figure should have been rejected immediately, with a stern warning not to try this again, to the very least.
    Source PubPeer commenter: https://pubpeer.com/publications/C781E405DA8E8333FE81DB4D5FFC31#fb58733
    Journal already reacted: https://twitter.com/ONCOTARGETJRNL/status/768849844182061056

  29. Jen says:

    My colleagues submitted a manuscript to Oncotarget. They were asked to cite two articles published in Oncotarget. Honestly, what they submitted was a poorly written article. Quality or impact factor? I think it’s totally personal choice. For me, science is a thing could not be compromised.

  30. Rod MacLeod says:

    I was surprised by these criticisms which clash with my own. Having recently published in Oncotarget for the first time I found all reviews cogent and perspicacious. They spotted weaknesses, errors and omissions and the resubmitted articles significantly improved as a result. Colleagues’ experiences match my own. The IF (now down to about 5) seems about right. Recent expansion from monthly to weekly may well stress the editorial process, however, at least initially resulting in a reviewer chokepoint.

    • Borris says:

      I have recently published my major work in Oncotarget and the peer-review was comprehensive enough. 2 reviewers participated and an associate editor gave comments on how to facilitate the revision according to the reviewers’ comments. The overall experience was speedy and the discussion on whether or not some experiments were needed for improvement was exhaustive. After being published, I have received a number of invitations for review and have accepted to review for 2 papers. From my experience as an author and a reviewer in the journal, I have noticed that Oncotarget does not have an effective initial QC process. Even some of the poorest data/images are getting the chance of being peer-reviewed which should not be the case in the first place (authors of such poor papers can always resubmit if they wish to improve the papers), but because of the allowed entrance to the system, so is the chance of being published because Oncotarget’s acceptance really depends on the reviewers and associate editor/s (and their competence, proficiency to articulate their constructive suggestions). I also don’t like that the Editorial and Review Papers don’t have HTML page versions in the website.

      • Rod MacLeod says:

        My experience with poor quality images – my own, that is – is that these are rarely identified up front. If problems arise, this is either at review or by production staff, particularly the latter, irrespective which journal is concerned.

  31. Rob says:

    I have served as reviewer for a couple of paper submitted to Oncotarget in the last year. The papers were from people I didn’t know. I did my best to give my honest opinion and comments to them.

    • Okay, did you recommend that either of the papers be rejected, only to see them published anyway still containing the flaws?

      • Rod MacLeod says:

        Hot off the press: we just had a paper rejected by Oncotarget. The reviewers said the work was scientifically sound and interesting enough but additional supporting clinical data were essential. In the rebuttal letter we, perhaps stubbornly, stuck to our guns and the paper was quickly rejected. In short, Oncotarget’s editorial behaviour was typical of other journals with comparable IFs which increasingly demand validation of lab findings by clinical studies. In conclusion, I would repeat that Oncotarget feels kosher and your criticisms unfounded.

      • Wow, now you’ll have to submit it to a Frontiers or MDPI journal.

      • Rod MacLeod says:

        FYI we have already submitted to another kosher journal with less clinical emphasis.

      • Paolo Vezzoni says:

        Dear Dr Beall, your attention should better focus on the real problem: papers rejected by high-impact journals by very young postdoc acting as editors. Best wishes P Vezzoni

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