Posted on 10 Jul 2020

Transatlantic collaboration of medical writing organisations in the struggle against predatory publishing

Predatory publishing is a global threat to research integrity and science. Seemingly “scientific” journals are established and maintained with the sole intention to derive profits from the publication fees authors have to pay after submitting their articles. Key aspects of scientific integrity, ethical conduct, and peer review practices are disregarded.

Medical writers and communicators worldwide support the dissemination of scientific and clinical data either in the format of regulatory documents or as scientific publications. The practices of predatory publishers undermine the credibility of science. This does directly affect medical writers and communicators because they are part of the scientific endeavour. Medical communicators make science accessible. If their sources are fouled with bogus science, the texts, documents, and summaries based on them will also be bogus and their work will be devalued.

To raise awareness of the issue and to support the fight against predatory publishers and journals AMWA and EMWA and ISMPP have issues a joint statement. This joint statement has been translated into many languages and is available on the organisations’ websites

In conjunction with the joint declaration, an article on the dangers of predatory publication practices was published in the MEW journal. The article was a result of an EMWA symposium and was jointly written by a journalist (Peter Hornung), an editor and publisher (Andrea Bucceri) and a medical writer (Thomas M Schindler) all with extensive knowledge of the topic. The article describes the extent of predatory publishing, mentions the characterizing features of predatory journals and provides help to medical writers by supplying checklists for the identification of predatory journals

As a sign of transatlantic collaboration among medical writers, this article was printed again in the journal of the American Medical Writing Association. Thus, EMWA and AMWA have joined forces to raise awareness about and to counteract of predatory publishers. In EMWA, the topic has given rise to a Special Interest Group that will continue to survey the field and engage in promoting scientific publication ethics.