Integrity in academic dissemination and publishing

Members of the group


Irene Glendinning


Marco Cosentino
Salim Razı
Shiva Sivasubramaniam
Ansgar Schäfer
Julius Kravjar
Harun Serpil
Laura Ribeiro
Sumayyia Dawood Marar
Muawiyah Ahmad H. Ahmed
Milan Ojstersek
Fatih Gungor
Sonja Bjelobaba

Terms of reference

Name of working group

Integrity in academic dissemination and publishing (IN_A_DIP / INADIP)

Group email –

Mission of the working group

To reduce the impact of disreputable publishers and fraudulent academic events

Aims and objectives

  • Identify, define and characterise questionable editorial, publishing and dissemination practices
  • Promote institutional academic integrity, using existing checklists to identify disreputable publishers and conferences
  • Disseminate good practice – perhaps with reference to COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics)
  • Highlight the threats from disreputable publishers and conferences
  • Provide support to students and scholars for developing knowledge and skills in distinguishing reputable from disreputable publications / journals / events
  • Conduct research about this phenomenon, for example – explore where / how / to what extent academic progression and promotion depends on the predatory industry
  • Network/collaborate with institutions, working groups, other people interested in this topic

Working Group Scope

This working group’s remit is potentially vast, covering types of malpractice in academic publishing and events, underlying factors encouraging fraud, misconduct and corruption and how they could be reduced. Even reputable publishers and event and conference organisers can have questionable processes and practices. It is easy to spot the obvious predatory and fake journals, but harder to know with some, who, for example pretend to offer peer review, but in reality accept everything submitted for payment of a fee, or reject for the targeted journal but offer to publish in an expensive Open Access alternative. We can consider the experiences from perspectives of authors, peer reviewers, editorial board members, editor, engaging with or working for various journals. Then there is scope for studies and research in consideration of different funding models for publishing and implications arising from that, including identifying and avoiding retractions and appreciating the potential limitations of preprints. Making science accessible to all. It is a huge scope. Please join us if this interests you.

Opportunities and actions

  1. Providing training. To distinguish IN_A_DIP from similar projects and working groups in the same field, our main activities will be to offer to provide training and education on this subject for anyone interested. We agreed those with most benefit would be PhD students, perhaps master’s level, but may be interesting to some postdocs and researchers. Geographically anywhere would be applicable, this is a global problem. The Balkans region would be a good area to target, as there are a lot of poor quality and potentially predator publishers in Slavic languages. We welcome contact from anyone who is interested in this offer.
  2. Developing training materials. IN_A_DIP members already have access to a range of teaching and training materials developed by different members of the working group, individually and collectively; we must keep these up to date and continue to develop new materials.
  3. Networking. We plan to invite people with specific expertise and experience in related topics to talk to our working group about their work and projects, with a view to forging relationships and gaining new knowledge and ideas.
  4. Critiquing literature. Members of the group share and critique relevant literature that we come across and have started to develop an annotated bibliography to record the body of knowledge that relates to research and development in this area.
  5. Conducting research. A set of research questions is being collected that could lead to the establishment of consortia, research proposals and funding bids from interested members of the working group, for example
    1. developing a set of metrics that signalled integrity factors for journals, rather than a check-list of negative factors.
    2. submit a project proposal under Horizon involving “citizen science”, concerning malpractices in publishing.
    3. look for similarities in submitted work to a list of predatory journals, to determine how often journal papers published by them are referenced as genuine, reputable research.
  6. Collecting intelligence. Although we generally agreed it was not a good idea to build our own white list or black list, it would be interesting, for our own reference, to maintain a list of publishers and journals that members of this working group come across.
  7. Raising awareness. IN_A_DIP members will raise the profile of the WG, for example through publishing articles about the problems we find, attending and presenting conferences and other events such as summer schools; this will ensure that those in need of our help can take advantage of the expertise we have between us. The IN_A_DIP Web site is a key forum to make contact with interested parties. This needs to be kept up to date and relevant.