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BMJ Open. 2020 Feb 9;10(2):e035561. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035561.

Defining predatory journals and responding to the threat they pose: a modified Delphi consensus process.

Author information

1
Centre for Journalology, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
2
Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, The Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
3
School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa Faculty of Medicine, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
4
Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
5
Centre for Journalology, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada dmoher@ohri.ca.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To conduct a Delphi survey informing a consensus definition of predatory journals and publishers.

DESIGN:

This is a modified three-round Delphi survey delivered online for the first two rounds and in-person for the third round. Questions encompassed three themes: (1) predatory journal definition; (2) educational outreach and policy initiatives on predatory publishing; and (3) developing technological solutions to stop submissions to predatory journals and other low-quality journals.

PARTICIPANTS:

Through snowball and purposive sampling of targeted experts, we identified 45 noted experts in predatory journals and journalology. The international group included funders, academics and representatives of academic institutions, librarians and information scientists, policy makers, journal editors, publishers, researchers involved in studying predatory journals and legitimate journals, and patient partners. In addition, 198 authors of articles discussing predatory journals were invited to participate in round 1.

RESULTS:

A total of 115 individuals (107 in round 1 and 45 in rounds 2 and 3) completed the survey on predatory journals and publishers. We reached consensus on 18 items out of a total of 33 to be included in a consensus definition of predatory journals and publishers. We came to consensus on educational outreach and policy initiatives on which to focus, including the development of a single checklist to detect predatory journals and publishers, and public funding to support research in this general area. We identified technological solutions to address the problem: a 'one-stop-shop' website to consolidate information on the topic and a 'predatory journal research observatory' to identify ongoing research and analysis about predatory journals/publishers.

CONCLUSIONS:

In bringing together an international group of diverse stakeholders, we were able to use a modified Delphi process to inform the development of a definition of predatory journals and publishers. This definition will help institutions, funders and other stakeholders generate practical guidance on avoiding predatory journals and publishers.

KEYWORDS:

medical education & training; medical journalism; statistics & research methods

PMID:
32041864
DOI:
10.1136/bmjopen-2019-035561
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Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: None declared.

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