Publication by association: how the COVID-19 pandemic has shown relationships between authors and editorial board members in the field of infectious diseases

Authors : Clara Locher, David Moher, Ioana Alina Cristea, Florian Naudet

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rush to scientific and political judgements on the merits of hydroxychloroquine was fuelled by dubious papers which may have been published because the authors were not independent from the practices of the journals in which they appeared.

This example leads us to consider a new type of illegitimate publishing entity, ‘self-promotion journals’ which could be deployed to serve the instrumentalisation of productivity-based metrics, with a ripple effect on decisions about promotion, tenure and grant funding, but also on the quality of manuscripts that are disseminated to the medical community and form the foundation of evidence-based medicine.