Analysis of Citation Patterns and Impact of Predatory Sources in the Nursing Literature.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


This study was undertaken to learn how predatory journal articles were cited in articles published in legitimate (nonpredatory) nursing journals. The extent of citation and citation patterns were studied.


A two-phase approach was used.


In Phase 1, 204 articles published in legitimate nursing journals that cited a predatory publication were randomly selected for analysis from a list of 814 articles with predatory journal citations. In Phase 2, the four predatory journal articles that were cited most frequently were analyzed further to examine their citation patterns.


The majority (n = 148, 72.55%) of the articles that cited a predatory publication were research reports. Most commonly, the predatory article was only cited once (n = 117, 61.58%). Most (n = 158, 82.72%) of the predatory articles, though, were used substantively, that is, to provide a basis for the study or methods, describe the results, or explain the findings. The four articles in Phase 2 generated 38 citations in legitimate journals, published from 2011 to 2019, demonstrating persistence in citation. An evaluation of the quality of these articles was mixed.


The results of this study provide an understanding of the use and patterns of citations to predatory articles in legitimate nursing journals. Authors who choose predatory journals as the channel to disseminate their publications devalue the work that publishers, editors, and peer reviewers play in scholarly dissemination. Likewise, those who cite these works are also contributing to the problem of predatory publishing in nursing.

Clinical relevance

Nurse authors should not publish their work in predatory journals and should avoid citing articles from these journals, which disseminates the content through the scholarly nursing literature.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Oermann, MH; Nicoll, LH; Ashton, KS; Edie, AH; Amarasekara, S; Chinn, PL; Carter-Templeton, H; Ledbetter, LS

Published Date

  • May 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 52 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 311 - 319

PubMed ID

  • 32346979

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1547-5069

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1527-6546

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/jnu.12557


  • eng