Scholarly Publishing Round-up August 2022

Learn more about keywords for titles and abstracts, hijacked journals, and more.

What makes for an effective title for your journal article? A title of the article is the first thing users view when searching citation databases or other resources. Using keywords and terms that describe the nature of your research minimizes the odds of being lost in a sea of generality and allows users to quickly discern if the article is relevant.

Along with an effective title, the choice of keywords and terms for an abstract is also important. Choosing keywords such as MeSH makes it easier for users to find your article when searching databases such as PubMed/Medline, EMBASE or Scopus. Using MeSH terms as keywords for titles and abstracts is now even more important for authors to consider. As of mid-2022, Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) will be assigned to works published in MEDLINE-indexed journals using an automated indexing process. The automated indexing is based on an algorithm using the title and an abstract of the work to produce a list of MeSH terms.


  • Use a descriptive and declarative title.
  • For the abstract, use terms that supplement your title and describes the nature of the research.
  • Include keywords from controlled vocabularies such as MeSH.
  • Include terms that you would use to find similar articles.
  • Check Research Profiles to find Fingerprint concepts related to the research.
  • Check resources such as PubMed, Scopus, or Google Scholar to confirm that the title is unique.
  • Choose phrases (2-4 words) for the abstract along with single keywords to help focus the results. Examples:
    • Genetics (broad)
    • Cancer genetics (more specific)
    • Breast cancer genetics (targeted keyword phrase)


  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH) Browser: The MeSH Browser allows for searching of MeSH
  • MeSH on Demand: MeSH on Demand identifies MeSH terms in your submitted text (abstract or manuscript). MeSH on Demand also lists PubMed similar articles relevant to your submitted text.


Brodman, Estelle, “How to write a paper.” Presented at a staff meeting for the Department of Dermatology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University. 1947. Paper 21.

Bowman D, Kinnan S. Creating effective titles for your scientific publications. VideoGIE. 2018 Aug 3;3(9):260-261. doi: 10.1016/j.vgie.2018.07.009. PMID: 30182084; PMCID: PMC6119233.

Rossi MJ, Brand JC. Journal Article Titles Impact Their Citation Rates. Arthroscopy. 2020 Jul;36(7):2025-2029. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2020.02.018. Epub 2020 Feb 26. PMID: 32109575.

Springer Nature. Writing a Journal Manuscript: Title, Abstracts and Keywords. 2022.

Shi I. All in a name: How research paper titles can make or break. Nature News, December 12, 2016.

Wordvice KH. How to Choose the Best Keywords for Your Research Paper. Wordvice, November 27, 2021.


Need to check a journal title? Not sure if the journal is credible or fake? Some journals contain very similar titles and websites to established journals and also use the same International Standard Serial Numbers, or ISSNs — eight-digit codes used to identify journals. Check out the new resource, Retraction Watch’s Hijacked Journal Checker, which contains more than 150 journals of so-called hijacked journals; the list is dynamic and updated on a regular basis.


Retraction Watch. The Retraction Watch Hijacked Journal Checker.

Else H. Hijacked-journal tracker helps researchers to spot scam websites. June 22, 2022.


Gabelica M, Bojčić R, Puljak L. Many researchers were not compliant with their published data sharing statement: mixed-methods study. J Clin Epidemiol. 2022 May 30:S0895-4356(22)00141-X. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2022.05.019. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35654271.

How we decline manuscripts. Nat Biomed Eng. 2022 Jun;6(6):677-678. doi: 10.1038/s41551-022-00908-z. PMID: 35725808.

Oransky I. Retractions are increasing, but not enough. Nature. 2022 Aug;608(7921):9. doi: 10.1038/d41586-022-02071-6. PMID: 35918520.

Else H. What makes an undercover science sleuth tick? Fake-paper detective speaks out. Nature. 2022 Aug 4. doi: 10.1038/d41586-022-02099-8. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35927492.