To help protect research, experts agree on a definition of predatory publishing

January 15, 2020

Wolf disguised as a scientific journalIllustration courtesy of Nature Leading scholars and publishers from The Ottawa Hospital’s Centre for Journalology, the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management, and other institutions from around the world have agreed on a consensus definition of predatory publishing. Led by Drs. Agnes Grudniewicz, David Moher, Kelly Cobey, and Manoj Lalu, their commentary was published in Nature.

Predatory journals are a global threat to quality science that was largely unknown a decade ago. There are now an estimated 8,000 predatory journals collectively publishing more than 400,000 research studies each year.

One of the challenges of solving this problem was that there was no agreed-upon definition of predatory publications— until now.

At a recent international meeting in Ottawa, the team of experts reached this consensus definition: “Predatory journals and publishers are entities that prioritize self-interest at the expense of scholarship and are characterized by false or misleading information, deviation from best editorial and publication practices, a lack of transparency, and/or the use of aggressive and indiscriminate solicitation practices.”

This definition will let researchers track predatory publishing, and develop educational resources and interventions to help fight this growing problem.  

Local collaborators: Gregory L. Bryson, Samantha Cukier, Ian Graham, Marc Rodgers

Patient partners: Marvelous Muchenje, Laurie Proulx

Other authors: Kristiann Allen, Clare Ardern, Lesley Balcom, Tiago Barros, Monica Berger, Jairo Buitrago Ciro, Lucia Cugusi, Michael R. Donaldson, Matthias Egger, Matt Hodgkinson, Karim M. Khan, Mahlubi Mabizela, Andrea Manca, Katrin Milzow, Johann Mouton, Tom Olijhoek, Alexander Ommaya, Bhushan Patwardhan, Deborah Poff, Anna Severin, Michaela Strinzel, Mauro Sylos-Labini, Robyn Tamblyn, Marthie van Niekerk, Jelte M. Wicherts, Manoj M. Lalu

Source: Nature

Funding: The Summit received funding from the President’s fund, Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR); Institute of Health Services and Policy Research, CIHR; Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, CIHR; National Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Swiss National Science Foundation, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Office of Vice President of Research, University of Ottawa. Research at The Ottawa Hospital is possible because of generous donations to the hospital.

Core Resources: Ottawa Methods Centre, Centre for Journalology

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Tags: Journalology