A consensus definition of predatory journals

10 January, 2020

With thanks to WAME, I learned about this new paper in Nature. Extracts below. full text here: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-03759-y


Predatory journals: no definition, no defence

Leading scholars and publishers from ten countries have agreed a definition of predatory publishing that can protect scholarship. It took 12 hours of discussion, 18 questions and 3 rounds to reach.

When ‘Jane’ turned to alternative medicine, she had already exhausted radiotherapy, chemotherapy and other standard treatments for breast cancer. Her alternative-medicine practitioner shared an article about a therapy involving vitamin infusions. To her and her practitioner, it seemed to be authentic grounds for hope. But when Jane showed the article to her son-in-law (one of the authors of this Comment), he realized it came from a predatory journal — meaning its promise was doubtful and its validity unlikely to have been vetted.

Predatory journals are a global threat...

One barrier to combating predatory publishing is, in our view, the lack of an agreed definition...

To hammer out such a consensus and to map solutions, we and others met in Ottawa, Canada, over two days in April this year. The 43 participants hailed from 10 countries and represented publishing societies, research funders, researchers, policymakers, academic institutions, libraries and patient partners (that is, patients and caregivers who proactively engage in research). Our focus was the biomedical sciences, but our recommendations should apply broadly.

Here we put forward our definition. We describe what it took to achieve consensus and how we’ll move forward.


The consensus definition reached was: “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.” [...]


Best wishes, Neil

Coordinator, HIFA Project on Access to Health Research - Supported by The Lancet and Elsevier


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