Checklists to Detect Potential Predatory Biomedical Journals: A Systematic Review

5 October, 2019

(with thanks to WAME newsletter)

Below are the citation of a new paper in medRxiv, the preprint server for the health services

It starts with the statement: 'This article is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed. It reports new medical research that has yet to be evaluated and so should not be used to guide clinical practice.'

Checklists to Detect Potential Predatory Biomedical Journals: A Systematic Review

Samantha Cukier, Lucas Helal, Danielle B Rice, Justina Pupkaite, Nadera Ahmadzai, Mitchell Wilson, Becky Skidmore, Manoj Lalu, David Moher



Background: We believe there is a large number of checklists to help authors detect predatory journals. It is uncertain whether these checklists contain similar content. Purpose: Perform a systematic review to identify checklists to detect potential predatory journals and to examine their content and measurement properties. Data Sources: MEDLINE, Embase, PsycINFO, ERIC, Web of Science and Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts (January 2012 to November 2018), university library websites (January 2019), YouTube (January 2019). Study Selection: Original checklists used to detect potential predatory journals published in English, French or Portuguese, with instructions in point form, bullet form, tabular format or listed items, not including lists or guidance on recognizing "legitimate" or "trustworthy" journals. Data Extraction: Pairs of reviewers independently extracted study data and assessed checklist quality and a third reviewer resolved conflicts. Data Synthesis: Of 1528 records screened, 93 met our inclusion criteria. The majority of included checklists were in English (n = 90, 97%), could be completed in fewer than five minutes (n = 68, 73%), had an average of 11 items, which were not weighted (n = 91, 98%), did not include qualitative guidance (n = 78, 84%) or quantitative guidance (n = 91, 98%), were not evidence-based (n = 90, 97%) and covered a mean of four (of six) thematic categories. Only three met our criteria for being evidence-based. Limitations: Limited languages and years of publication, searching other media. Conclusions: There is a plethora of published checklists that may overwhelm authors looking to efficiently guard against publishing in predatory journals. The similarity in checklists could lead to the creation of evidence-based tools serving authors from all disciplines.

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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: