U of O releases statement warning against publishing research in fake databases

According to an article published by the Ottawa Citizen on Jan. 5, the University of Ottawa, along with many other Canadian post-secondary institutions, have been publishing in predatory journals.

The news comes to light as one of the largest fake publishing groups, OMICS International of India, has an improved search engine for over 700 journals. The new search engine makes it easier to search and see how many Canadians have fallen prey to these types of journals.

Predatory journals are a recent problem in academia, with the term coined in 2010 by librarian Jeffrey Beall to refer to exploitive open access publishing which provides no peer review. Predatory journals lack credibility because anyone can publish an article in them without the necessary peer-review.

For example, in March 2017, the Ottawa Citizen submitted a fake research paper titled “The biomechanics of how pigs fly” to OMICS, to show how easy it is to get published in these types of journals, and found that it was accepted after paying a fee.

Even with sound research, publishing in a predatory journal is often expensive and discredits the validity of the researcher’s work. Predatory journals are often used to provide people lacking qualifications with perceived research credentials.

Several research papers coming out of the U of O and the U of O Heart Institute have been published in the OMICS journal. Other Canadian universities involved include the University of Toronto and McGill University.

On Friday, Jan. 5, the U of O sent the Fulcrum a joint statement with the Ottawa Hospital stating, “We regularly provide training to help our researchers publish their work responsibly and avoid predatory journals. But no institution is immune to this problem and we continue to investigate new and better ways to address it.”

According to the U of O, “The Ottawa Hospital’s Centre for Journalology is dedicated to studying and promoting best practices in research publishing, and is the first centre of its kind in the world. The Centre has also linked to resources on their website, including a checklist to help researchers identify predatory journals, and has taken the lead on proposing solutions to the problem. The Centre also includes a full-time Publications Officer, who is an expert in predatory journals and takes the lead on training.”

Further, the U of O has said that if they learn of a researcher publishing in one of these predatory journals, they make them aware of the nature of the publication right away. They also advise them to remove any publications in predatory journals from their C.V.s.