Predatory publications in evidence syntheses
Keywords:Periodicals as Topic, Review Literature as Topic, Publishing, Bibliometrics
Objectives: The number of predatory journals is increasing in the scholarly communication realm. These journals use questionable business practices, minimal or no peer review, or limited editorial oversight and, thus, publish articles below a minimally accepted standard of quality. These publications have the potential to alter the results of knowledge syntheses. The objective of this study was to determine the degree to which articles published by a major predatory publisher in the health and biomedical sciences are cited in systematic reviews.
Methods: The authors downloaded citations of articles published by a known predatory publisher. Using forward reference searching in Google Scholar, we examined whether these publications were cited in systematic reviews.
Results: The selected predatory publisher published 459 journals in the health and biomedical sciences. Sixty-two of these journal titles had published a total of 120 articles that were cited by at least 1 systematic review, with a total of 157 systematic reviews citing an article from 1 of these predatory journals.Discussion: Systematic review authors should be vigilant for predatory journals that can appear to be legitimate. To reduce the risk of including articles from predatory journals in knowledge syntheses, systematic reviewers should use a checklist to ensure a measure of quality control for included papers and be aware that Google Scholar and PubMed do not provide the same level of quality control as other bibliographic databases.
Beall J. “Predatory” open-access scholarly publishers. Charleston Advisor. 2010 Apr;11(4):10–7.
Bartholomew RE. Science for sale: the rise of predatory journals. J R Soc Med. 2014 Oct;107(10):384–5.
Singh Chawla D. The undercover academic keeping tabs on ‘predatory’ publishing. Nature. 2018;555(7697):422–3.
Harnad S. The dot-gold rush for open access. Open Access Archivangelism [Internet]. 15 Jul 2008 [cited 29 Mar 2018]. <http://openaccess.eprints.org/index.php?/archives/432-The-Dot-Gold-Rush-for-Open-Access.html>.
Brown C. Alleged predatory publisher buys medical journals. CMAJ. 2016 Nov 1;188(16):E398.
Brown C. Medical society journals face publishing woes. CMAJ. 2016 Nov 1;188(16):1143.
Masic I. Predatory publishing - experience with OMICS International. Med Arch. 2017 Oct;71(5):304–7.
Molteni M. The FTC is cracking down on predatory science journals. Wired [Internet]. 19 Sep 2016 [cited 27 Sep 2018]. <https://www.wired.com/2016/09/ftc-cracking-predatory-science-journals/>.
Complaint for Permanent Injunction and Other Equitable Relief, Federal Trade Commission v. OMICS Group, (2016), no. 2:16-cv-02022 (Nev. Dist. Ct. Aug. 25, 2016). (Available from: <https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/cases/160826omicscmpt.pdf>. [cited 27 Sep 2018].)
Munn Z, Moola S, Riitano D, Lisy K. The development of a critical appraisal tool for use in systematic reviews addressing questions of prevalence. Int J Health Policy Manag. 2014 Aug;3(3):123–8.
Moja LP, Telaro E, D’Amico R, Moschetti I, Coe L, Liberati A. Assessment of methodological quality of primary studies by systematic reviews: results of the metaquality cross sectional study. BMJ. 2005 May 7;330(7499):1053.
Pluye P. Critical appraisal tools for assessing the methodological quality of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies included in systematic mixed studies reviews. J Eval Clin Pract. 2013 Aug;19(4):722.
Katrak P, Bialocerkowski AE, Massy-Westropp N, Kumar S, Grimmer KA. A systematic review of the content of critical appraisal tools. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2004 Sep 16;4:22.
Higgins JPT, Green S, eds. Cochrane handbook for systematic reviews of interventions [Internet]. Version 5.1.0. The Cochrane Collaboration; 2011 [updated Mar 2011; cited 27 Sep 2018]. <http://www.handbook.cochrane.org>.
Aromataris E, Munn Z, eds. Joanna Briggs Institute reviewers’ manual [Internet]. Adelaide, Australia: Joanna Briggs Institute; 2017 [cited 27 Sep 2018]. <https://reviewersmanual.joannabriggs.org>.
Laine C, Winker MA. Identifying predatory or pseudo-journals. Biochem Med (Zagreb). 2017 Jun 15;27(2):285–91.
Beall J. Criteria for determining predatory open-access publishers [Internet]. 2015 [updated 1 Jan 2015; cited 27 Sep 2018]. <https://beallslist.weebly.com/uploads/3/0/9/5/30958339/criteria-2015.pdf>.
Dadkhah M, Lagzian M, Borchardt G. Questionable papers in citation databases as an issue for literature review. J Cell Commun Signal. 2017 Jun;11(2):181–5.
Bramer WM, Giustini D, Kramer BM. Comparing the coverage, recall, and precision of searches for 120 systematic reviews in Embase, MEDLINE, and Google Scholar: a prospective study. Syst Rev. 2016;5:39.
Boeker M, Vach W, Motschall E. Google Scholar as replacement for systematic literature searches: good relative recall and precision are not enough. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2013;13:131.
Halevi G, Moed H, Bar-Ilan J. Suitability of Google Scholar as a source of scientific information and as a source of data for scientific evaluation-review of the literature. J Informetr. 2017 Aug;11(3):823–34.
Fagan JC. An evidence-based review of academic web search engines, 2014–2016: implications for librarians’ practice and research agenda. Inf Technol Libr. 2017;36(2):7–47.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.