Predatory Publishing in Evidence Synthesis is everyone’s problem

Date & Time
Wednesday, September 6, 2023, 12:30 PM - 2:00 PM
Location Name
Session Type
Research integrity and fraud
Pollock D1, Barker TH2, Stone J3, Aromataris EC3, Kluger M4, Scott A5, Stern C6, Ross-White A7, Whitehorn A3, Wiechula R8, Shamseer L9, Munn Z2
1Health Evidence Synthesis, Recommendations and Impact, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide, Australia
2Health Evidence Synthesis, Recommendations and Impact, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide, Australia
3JBI, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide, Australia
4Masaryk Czech National Centre for Evidence-Based Healthcare and Knowledge Translation (Cochrane Czech Republic, Czech EBHC: JBI Centre of Excellence), Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biostatistics and Analyses, Czech Republic
5Bond University Institute for Evidence-Based Healthcare, Bond University, Australia
6JBI, School of Public Health, University of Adelaide, Australia
7Queen's University, Bracken Health Sciences Library, Canada
8The University of Adelaide, Adelaide Nursing School, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Australia
9Unity Health Toronto, Knowledge Translation Program, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, Canada

Background: Predatory publishing is a blemish on research and academia and employs dangerous practices that value profit over scientific reputation. Studies published within predatory journals contain information that may be more prone to error and misinformation. Therefore, their inclusion in evidence syntheses may be problematic and have a ripple effect throughout the translation of evidence in guideline development and clinical practice.
Objectives: To explore the thoughts, opinions, and attitudes regarding the inclusion of studies from predatory journals in evidence synthesis.
Methods: Focus groups were held with participants who were experienced evidence synthesisers from the JBI (formally Joanna Briggs Institute) Collaboration.
Results: Participants within this study discussed the individual, structural, and methodological challenges of predatory publishing practices, and how these impact evidence synthesis. We found the insidious nature of predatory publishing practices affects not just the whole academic community, but also the general public by increasing mistrust through the legitimization of bad science. Evidence synthesisers within this study were challenged with the conduct and reporting in identifying and managing predatory journals, and the decision as to if these articles should be included within evidence synthesis. Furthermore, the ‘publish or perish’ mentality that is caused by organisational pressures to succeed in academia was seen as a potential driving factor in the perpetuation of predatory journals. Methodologically, for evidence synthesisers, the lack of current consensus on the management of studies from predatory journals regarding their inclusion within evidence synthesis remains problematic.
Conclusions: Predatory publishing is everyone’s problem. There is a need for further research, education, guidance, and clear processes to assist evidence synthesisers in the management of studies in predatory journals. However, this can only be achieved through consensus and an understanding of the individual and structural challenges endured by researchers when managing predatory publishing in the context of evidence synthesis. Patient, public, and/or healthcare consumer involvement: No.