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.
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Contributors All authors contributed to drafting this manuscript, with FN taking a lead role. All authors provided intellectual input to improve the manuscript and have read and approved the final version. CL is the guarantor of the manuscript.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
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