INNOVATION FUND The Future of Academic Medicine New Technology, Therapies, eHealth & mHealth SHOWCASE 2023

A digital authenticator for clinicians, researchers and patients to identify potential predatory journals

New Technology, Therapies, eHealth & mHealth

Manoj Lalu



TOH – The Ottawa Hospital Academic Medical Organization


In this era of misinformation we need to help patients/public, clinicians, researchers, and health care institutions identify trustworthy sources of medical information. Our project is tackling the problem of ‘predatory journals’ – these are fake medical journals that have infiltrated the biomedical literature. We have found they have been used to inform patient care, and even health care policy. In order to address this problem we are creating educational tools and a ‘journal authenticator’ to help stakeholders easily identify these fake journals.


Predatory journals (‘fake medical journal’) pose a serious threat to the integrity of medical research and can have significant consequences in healthcare. We previously identified the extensive scale of the problem (Moher et al Nature 2017) and subsequently produced an international consensus to define predatory journals and developed strategies to combat them (Grudniewicz et al Nature 2019).

The infiltration of predatory journals into patient care, clinical systematic reviews, and even health care policy is a growing concern. These journals are untrustworthy and often contain fabricated information, which can have serious implications for patient outcomes and health policy decisions. IFPOC funding has helped to establish a ‘one-stop-shop’ resource that provides comprehensive information on predatory journals and how to avoid them, educational materials, policy briefs, and other tools to address the problem of predatory journals. These resources are designed for various stakeholders, including clinicians, researchers, policymakers, and institutes. By targeting a broad range of audiences, these resources can have a significant impact on reducing the burden and threat of predatory journals.

One exciting development supported by IFPOC funding is the creation of a digital journal authenticator. This tool will be freely accessible and will help stakeholders identify how trustworthy a particular source of medical information is. We have assessed both patient/public and clinician preferences for this tool, and a prototype is currently being developed. By providing a simple and accessible method for authenticating sources medical information, this tool has the potential to revolutionize the way that stakeholders source and verify information, and help to address the problem of predatory journals.

In conclusion, the multi-pronged approach supported by IFPOC funding is crucial in addressing the problem of predatory journals. By providing comprehensive resources, educational materials, and tools for authentication, stakeholders will be empowered to identify and avoid predatory journals, reducing the impact that these entities have on healthcare. The development of a digital journal authenticator has the potential to transform the way that stakeholders source and verify information, and we look forward to seeing the impact of these initiatives in the years to come.


Publicly accessible “one-stop-shop” to educate patients/public, researchers/clinicians, funders/institutes about ‘predatory journals’ (i.e. fake medical journals). It has been highly accessed (

Assessing patient preferences for a tool to help identify predatory sources of medical information.

Patient partner led article:

Themes & Abstracts


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