Overton Blog

Do articles from predatory journals make their way into policy?

The short answer: yes - everywhere from clinical guidelines to food and drug safety reports to Interpol bulletins.

Predatory publishers are a growing phenomenon in academia and there is concern that their publications are being used in policymaking. These publishers adopt an 'author pays' model, do not conduct peer reviews on their articles and often charge authors for alterations which discourages corrections. Their journals often have names that are very similar to non-predatory publications and can be easily confused.


After a super interesting chat with @ManojLalu and @KDCobey at @_Journalology, who are doing excellent work studying the influence of predatory journals (see their paper here for background) we took a quick look at just one such publisher, OMICS Publishing Group.

You can read about some of the controversies around OMICS on its Wikipedia page. They publish a lot of journals and their papers crop up everywhere.


Es5hz-AXMAMkmGSWe searched the Overton database for policy documents that cite papers from OMICS Group journalsand found 1340 results. We found that these papers not only appeared on the fringes; they pops up in documents from big IGOs like the World Health Organization and in clinical guidance from most of Europe, the US and Australia.





It's worth pointing out that all of this cited research may well be excellent - but a potential issue for policymaking is that these journals may lack the safeguard we assume (rightly or wrongly) comes from peer review.

Of course, this isn't an in-depth study by any means... it's a 5 minute search of our database! But it's a topic we're definitely interested in investigating further so if you have a question about predatory journals that you'd like to explore within our data, let us know

What is Overton

We help universities, think tanks and publishers understand the reach and influence of their research.

The Overton platform contains is the world’s largest searchable policy database, with almost 5 million documents from 29k organisations.

We track everything from white papers to think tank policy briefs to national clinical guidelines, and automatically find the references to scholarly research, academics and other outputs.