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The ICMJE recommendations: challenges in fortifying publishing integrity


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

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The author has used the PubPeer platform for post-publication commenting, and has been critical of, and also been criticized on, this platform.

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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).

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