Medical journals face new threats, experts say

Medical journals are at a “crossroads,” says a team of top editors, and new ways are needed to address threats to their integrity, according to an editorial published September 22 in JAMA.

Lead author John Ioannidis, MD, of Stanford University in Stanford, CA, and editors of JAMA, the JAMA Network, and the BMJ noted that the COVID-19 crisis was a major quake that shook the way research is designed and published.

"Advances in AI and large language models may be another, potentially even larger, seismic force, with some viewing the challenge posed by these new developments as another hyped tempest in a teapot and others believing them to be an existential threat to truth and all of humanity," they noted.

The group laid out a range of topics for the type of research it hoped to be taken up at the 10th International Congress on Peer Review and Scientific Publication, to be held in September 2025.

Other “old” ghosts remain rampant --"publish or perish" pressures persist, outright fraud may be becoming more common, and deceptive, rogue actors, such as predatory and pirate publishers, fake reviewers, and paper mills continue to threaten the integrity of peer review and scientific publication, they wrote.

The range of topics on which the group is encouraging research to be conducted include bias, editorial and peer review decision-making, research ethics, and improving research design, conduct, and reporting.

"Research has never been needed more urgently to properly examine, test, and correct (in essence: peer review) scientific and nonscientific claims for the sake of humanity’s best interests," the authors concluded.

The anticipated deadline for abstract submission is January 31, 2025, the authors noted, with announcements appearing on the congress website.

The full article is available here.

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