A systematic review involves the identification, evaluation, and synthesis of the best-available evidence to provide an answer to a specific question. The “best-available evidence” is, in many cases, a peer-reviewed scientific article published in an academic journal that details the conduct and results of a scientific study. Any potential threat to the validity of these individual studies (and hence the resultant synthesis) must be evaluated and critiqued.
Systematic reviews can and do shape professional practice. This includes clinical practice and other practices where lives and well-being can be affected. So the inclusion in a review of research that might be flawed or without merit can be a serious issue. We need people who compile systemic reviews to be alert for publications that are genuinely predatory/questionable, and if they are, not include them in the review
In 2020, a subgroup of the JBI Scientific Committee was formed to investigate this issue. In this overview paper, we introduce predatory journals to systematic reviewers, outline the problems they present, their potential impact on systematic reviews, and some alternative strategies for consideration of studies from predatory journals in systematic reviews. Options for systematic reviewers could include: excluding all studies from suspected predatory journals, applying additional strategies to forensically examine the results of studies published in suspected predatory journals, stringent search limits, and applying analytical techniques (such as subgroup or sensitivity analyses) to investigate the impact of suspected predatory journals in a synthesis.
evidence synthesis, evidence-based practice, journals, predatory publishing, systematic reviews
Munn, Z., Barker, T., Stern, C., Pollock, D., Ross-White, A., Klugar, M., Wiechula, R., Aromataris, E. & Shamseer, L. (2021) Should I include studies from “predatory” journals in a systematic review? Interim guidance for systematic reviewers. JBI Evidence Synthesis: June 28, 2021. doi: 10.11124/JBIES-21-00138
Publisher (Free): https://journals.lww.com/jbisrir/Abstract/9000/Should_I_include_studies_from__predatory__journals.99622.aspx