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The ICMJE recommendations: challenges in fortifying publishing integrity

Abstract

In December of 2019, the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) updated its recommendations. As occurs regularly with the ICMJE recommendations, this document was edited and tweaked, and thus fortified and verified. At least one new fortifying positive element was introduced, namely that peer reviewers who relied on the assistance of others during peer review need to declare this to editors. This fortifies publishing integrity, via transparency, in the peer review process in biomedical science. However, a new clause was introduced: “Authors should avoid citing articles in predatory or pseudo-journals.” This is controversial because the precise nature of “predatory” publishing venues, either journals or publishers, is unclear and several parameters used by existing blacklists are unreliable and thus debatable. It is concerning that these edited recommendations were simultaneously published in 13 medical journals.

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Notes

  1. http://www.icmje.org/recommendations/; http://www.icmje.org/icmje-recommendations.pdf (December, 2019; last accessed: April 1, 2020).

  2. http://www.icmje.org/journals-following-the-icmje-recommendations/ “Although these journals are not “members” of the ICMJE itself, nor does their inclusion indicate “certification” by the ICMJE, maintenance of such a list may help to promote improvements in the quality of medical science and its reporting by indicating the standards many editors indicate they work to uphold.” “The ICMJE cannot verify the completeness or accuracy of this list.” “There may be some journals that follow the ICMJE recommendations, but have never requested listing.” “There may be some listed journals that do not follow all of the many recommendations and policies in the document.” (last accessed: April 1, 2020).

  3. https://www.springer.com/journal/11845/submission-guidelines (last accessed: April 1, 2020).

  4. https://publicationethics.org/predatory-publishing-discussion-document (last accessed: April 1, 2020).

  5. https://www.councilscienceeditors.org/resource-library/editorial-policies/cse-policies/approved-by-the-cse-board-of-directors/predatory-deceptive-publishers-recommendations-caution/ (last accessed: April 1, 2020).

  6. https://www2.cabells.com/about-predatory “In response to the growing number of predatory publishers, the Blacklist aims to shine a light on the deceptive practices that threaten to undermine quality research.” (last accessed: April 1, 2020).

  7. https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2019/05/01/cabells-predatory-journal-blacklist-an-updated-review/ (last accessed: April 1, 2020).

  8. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2759826 (January 27, 2020; last accessed: April 1, 2020).

  9. https://www.pubpeer.com/ (last accessed: April 1, 2020).

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Acknowledgments

The author thanks the thoughtful advice and suggestions provided by Prof. Panagiotis Tsigaris (Thompson Rivers University, Canada).

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Teixeira da Silva, J.A. The ICMJE recommendations: challenges in fortifying publishing integrity. Ir J Med Sci 189, 1179–1181 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11845-020-02227-1

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Keywords

  • Blacklists
  • Exceptionalism
  • Fake
  • Integrity
  • International Committee of Medical Journal Editors
  • Predatory publishing