Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)

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The scientists who were recruited to appear at a conference called Entomology-2013 thought they had been selected to make a presentation to the leading professional association of scientists who study insects.


But they found out the hard way that they were wrong. The prestigious, academically sanctioned conference they had in mind has a slightly different name: Entomology 2013 (without the hyphen). The one they had signed up for featured speakers who were recruited by e-mail, not vetted by leading academics. Those who agreed to appear were later charged a hefty fee for the privilege, and pretty much anyone who paid got a spot on the podium that could be used to pad a résumé.

“I think we were duped,” one of the scientists wrote in an e-mail to the Entomological Society.

Those scientists had stumbled into a parallel world of pseudo-academia, complete with prestigiously titled conferences and journals that sponsor them. Many of the journals and meetings have names that are nearly identical to those of established, well-known publications and events.

Steven Goodman, a dean and professor of medicine at Stanford and the editor of the journal Clinical Trials, which has its own imitators, called this phenomenon “the dark side of open access,” the movement to make scholarly publications freely available.

The number of these journals and conferences has exploded in recent years as scientific publishing has shifted from a traditional business model for professional societies and organizations built almost entirely on subscription revenues to open access, which relies on authors or their backers to pay for the publication of papers online, where anyone can read them.

Written By: Gina Kolata
continue to source article at nytimes.com

6 COMMENTS

  1. This is the result of universities demanding their professors publish night and day. I think university professors should be hired for their teaching ability, not for the length of their publication list. Researchers should work in research labs instead of wasting their time in class. I think we can also expect lots of religious and climate change denying cranks to claim they have been published somewhere, and it will be difficult for the layman to know whether the research is legit.

    • In reply to #1 by prietenul:

      This is the result of universities demanding their professors publish night and day. I think university professors should be hired for their teaching ability, not for the length of their publication list. Researchers should work in research labs instead of wasting their time in class. I think we can also expect lots of religious and climate change denying cranks to claim they have been published somewhere, and it will be difficult for the layman to know whether the research is legit.

      You are right about “publish or perish”. But there are a number of problems with hiring only for teaching. If university academics don’t do research they don’t keep up with the latest knowledge to teach students. They certainly can’t train graduate students. What do you mean by a research lab ? Are you thinking of commercial research labs ? That’s a pretty limited range of disciplines. Whose doing the fundamental research ?

      Michael

  2. I get a request to be on the editorial board of or submit a paper to some low reputation journal (always open-access) about once a month. They are basically spam to a large list of mathematicians as my colleagues get them as well. Often they are right outside my area of expertise. Some are obvious scams because they mimic the name of a reputable journal (some kind of evolution going on there). Others just journals with low or zero reputation whose existence adds nothing to the academic world. Many have highly dubious sounding peer-review processes.

    Kudos to Jeffrey Beal for his list.

    Michael

    • In reply to #3 by mmurray:

      I get a request to be on the editorial board of or submit a paper to some low reputation journal (always open-access) about once a month. They are basically spam to a large list of mathematicians as my colleagues get them as well.

      This is to be expected when it comes to Western academics. Many of these phony journals are actually based in Asia or the Middle-East (perhaps with addresses in the West) and having Western-sounding names on their editorial boards adds unimaginable credibility to their journals as far as academics from other regions are concerned. This in turn results in huge numbers of submissions (mostly not from the West but they don’t care) and therefore income. Mark as spam. Simple.

  3. I am mystified as to why people who are presumably educated should need reminding that reputation is an essential part of human interaction.

    I find it difficult to feel sympathy for anyone who deals on-line with a virtually unknown third party as if they knew them. Do these people also lend money to anyone who walks up to them in the street and asks?

    When the Net was first launched on the General Public one of the commonly used descriptions was that meeting someone on the Net was like meeting someone on the street – not like the street right outside your home, but in a strange place a few miles away. Would you let your children play there unsupervised? Would you agree to buy a car there, sight unseen? Would you give someone there your credit card number AND your billing address? Perhaps we should revive that warning.

    When submitting work for publication I always agree the terms and conditions in writing – in advance. They are selling me access to a market, so caveat emptor !

    But admonishing the foolish aside; this seems to me to equate to a market opportunity.

    Why are academic and professional institutions not exploiting this niche?

    Peace.

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