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Authorship in exchange for payment: new study into predatory journals and publishers

Predatory publisher and journals

Predatory journals and publishers are characterised by questionable, often unethical, publication practices. This was confirmed by results of a new survey-based study, which were presented at the 8th international congress on peer review and scientific publication last month, and reported in Times Higher Education.

The study author, Pravin Bolshete, emailed 327 publishers and standalone journals that had been included on the now-defunct Beall’s list of potential, possible or probable predatory behaviour. He asked if they would consider adding his name as a coauthor to any medicine-related article, explaining he did not have the time to write any articles himself but needed such publications for promotion.

Of the 152 responses he received, over half (n=80) were considered unethical and not generally what one would expect from a legitimate journal. This included 22 publishers and journals who agreed to add Bolshete as a coauthor to an article without any specific contribution, and 14 who said they would write and publish an article on Bolshete’s behalf, in some instances in exchange for payment of publication charges or other fees. Bolshete’s study adds to the growing evidence base on the issues and challenges associated with predatory publishing, which continue to blight the field of medical publications.

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Summary by Alice Wareham, PhD from Aspire Scientific

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