Watch out for faux journals and fake conferences
About a year ago, Robert Calin-Jageman, PhD, noticed
an uptick in email solicitations requesting manuscripts
for journals he wasn’t familiar with or inviting him to
academic conferences he hadn’t heard of before.
Upon further investigation, the Dominican
University psychology professor traced
the journals and conferences —
all of which had seemingly
legitimate websites — back
to OMICS Publishing
Group, an India-based firm that has
been accused of
practices, such as
authors to submit
informing them of pricey
author fees, or fraudulently
listing academic editors who have
nothing to do with the journal.
Calin-Jageman also found that the group was one of more
than 300 publishers on a blacklist of “potential, possible or
probable predatory scholarly open access publishers.” This
list of suspected predatory publishers is maintained by Jeffrey
Beall, an academic librarian and researcher at the University of
Colorado in Denver. Beall estimates that these publishers now
disseminate 5 percent to 10 percent of all open-access articles.
They often specifically target their solicitations to graduate
students, postdocs and junior faculty, all of whom may be
anxious to find ways to get their work published, Calin-Jageman says.
“You can imagine the temptation of seeing a journal where
it looks like you can get published rapidly and quite easily to
add to your CV,” he says. “But it’s really important to avoid
submitting to these journals because they’re not just poor,
they’re actually fraudulent.”
Beall says it’s usually pretty easy to spot a potentially
predatory journal solicitation. Most of their email messages
use poor grammar and include typos, and are often signed by
a generic term, such as “managing editor.” But Calin-Jageman
warns that some publishers have begun personalizing their
correspondence further, praising earlier work published by the
recipients and requesting another article on the topic.
To avoid getting inadvertently involved with or citing
research from a suspicious publisher, Beall recommends
seeking advice from your advisor, consulting his list or
conducting a Google search with the journal title and adding
the word “scam” or “bogus” to the search. It’s also a good idea
to search the journal’s website for full contact information,
including the publisher’s address, as well as full affiliation
listings for all members of the publication’s editorial board.
In the event you submit a manuscript to a publication
you later suspect as being less than trustworthy, get your
university’s counsel involved in demanding the publication be
retracted, Calin-Jageman says.
“Even if it seems embarrassing, it’s best to wipe it out
quickly with a letter from university’s counsel,” he says. “That’s
what they’re there for — to protect the school’s reputation —
and that includes helping students with these types of issues.”
— AMY NOVOTNEY