Evaluation of Predatory Journal Publications in Systematic Reviews in the Top Five Otolaryngology Journals: A Cross-Sectional Analysis

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review


Introduction: Predatory journals are a form of deceptive publishing that allow authors to pay a fee to bypass quality and legitimacy checks. They are created by for-profit entities that falsely report to publish high quality academic research, but do not follow accepted scholarly publishing guidelines. Thus, authors can easily publish their work without the need for editorial services or peer-review. This deceptive publishing diminishes the credibility of the findings and puts uninformed readers at risk of accepting biased information. The aim of this study was to examine the prevalence of predatory journals within systematic reviews and meta-analysis published in the top 5 otolaryngology journals.

Methods: Using a cross-sectional design the authors systematically searched PubMed for systematic reviews and meta-analyses published in the top 5 otolaryngology journals based upon h-5 indices. Hindices were obtained using Google Scholar Metrics. The first ten systematic reviews were included from the following journals: The Laryngoscope, Head & Neck, Hearing Research, Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, and Ear and Hearing, so that a final sample size of 50 systematic reviews were obtained. A study was excluded for the following reasons: 1) the study was not a systematic review, 2) the study was not available in English, or 3) the study was not accessible. Ultimately, 45 systematic reviews met the criteria for inclusion and were independently screened by the authors. The primary studies included in each review were extracted and were then examined using Beall’s List of Predatory Journals to determine if they were published in a predatory journal. If a systematic review included a primary study was published in a primary journal, then additional data were extracted from both the systematic review and the predatory publication using a pilot-tested Google Form. Data were extracted in masked, duplicate fashion by investigators B.S. and C.W. Disagreements between data sets were resolved by group discussion.

Results: A total of two systematic reviews were found to contain a predatory publication (2/45). Two journals, The Laryngoscope and Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery, both contained a single systematic review which included a predatory journal. The systematic review published in The Laryngoscope had an influence on clinical practice guidelines (Table 1). The predatory journal publication referenced in a systematic review published by Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery was referenced six times (Table 2).

Conclusion: Evidence of predatory publications has been discovered within the top otolaryngology medical journals. Further research must be done to examine the accuracy of these predatory publications and their implications on clinical practice guidelines.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 22 Feb 2021
EventOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Days 2021: Poster presentation - Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Campus, Tulsa, United States
Duration: 22 Feb 202126 Feb 2021


ConferenceOklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences Research Days 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • Otolaryngology
  • Predatory Journals
  • Systematic Review
  • Cross-Sectional Analysis


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