Authors beware: How to avoid falling prey to predatory journals and bogus conferences

Authors beware: How to avoid falling prey to predatory journals and bogus conferences

Hi, I am Donald Samulack, President,
US Operations, of Editage. And I am here today at Wolters
Kluwer in Philadelphia talking with Dr. Anne Woods, Chief
Nurse, and Shawn Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief of the
American Journal of Nursing. – Thank you for being here.
Hello! Hi there! This is a – one of a series
of video vignettes that we’ve been exploring different
aspects of publishing. And – so, we thought
we’d sit down today and talk in this video
a little bit about the deceptive practices that are
taking place in publishing. Whether it be on the publisher
side of things or on the – actually the author
services side of things and things that authors
should be worrying about when choosing a journal to
publish in or in choosing an author service to help them
work on their manuscript. And so, let’s start
by discussing how to identify a good valid,
ethical publisher. Well, I just want
to say, you know, back in the days when
journals were print-only, you didn’t really seem
to have this issue. Because the journal was not as
discoverable, the content wasn’t as discoverable, the author’s
name wasn’t as discoverable. Now that everything is digital,
anyone can find your name if you’re an author and I
think that’s where a lot of these dishonest, deceitful
publishing houses or – or conferences have really been
able to get into and – and take advantage of people when
they shouldn’t be doing that. So, I’m going to ask Shawn because
she has had some experience with some of these deceitful
publishers – her experience. Yeah, at AJN, we do get a lot
of submissions from papers from different authors, and
we also get a lot of queries. I get a lot of invitations
to write articles in botany, in subjects that I know nothing
about, and we’ve had a lot of authors who publish in
AJN and then they say, “Oh, someone called and asked
me if I would publish a similar article. Is that okay with you?” and I
say, “Well, where is it going to be?” And they say some strange journal
like the Journal of Nursing and Care or something that has
just – the title seems off. And I will ask, “Well, who
publishes it, I never heard of it? And does it have an impact
factor and where is it listed?” And it turns out
that many of these journals that no one
ever heard of belong to what people call, you know,
either predatory publishers which are really deceptive
and irresponsible, publishers who are really
taking advantage of new authors who don’t know the ropes and
don’t know the journals. So, the open access model that
now has changed the publishing business model
where authors are paying really kind
of drove this. And people found a way to make
some money off this without having to really participate in
appropriate publishing and – and moving academic
publishing forward. So, what I would
say to new authors who are looking to figure
out where to publish their paper is number 1,
go to a university librarian. Librarians know the journals,
know the works, and will help you figure out which
journal is the best place for your content, because if you’re
looking for research, you don’t want to perhaps do a
clinical practice journal. If you are looking for a clinical
review article, then you might stay away from research, but
again, seek out the librarian. The other place that people
can go to is – this is a movement that came out to
counteract some of these deceitful publishers called
Think. Check. Submit and it’s and
that has a listing as well. The International Academy of
Nursing Editors has a page on their site which is
that lists publishers – that lists the credible
journals I should say, journals that are listed in
the index, the Thompson Index certainly have impact factors;
those are reputable journals. But, again, you have to be careful
because some of these deceptive journals now have these fake
impact factors and fake metrics. So, I would say the first choice
is go to the librarian and then do the homework
on you know who the names on the editorial board,
who are the other authors, see if you can know anybody else
who has published with them, and really do lots of
homework on these sites. Yeah, so in – the sad thing is –
is that publishing historically has been built on a foundation
of trust, and the academic trust is now being chipped away
and eroded by scams, spams, and email spam and deceitful
people who are, quite honestly, corrupt in their intent in that
they are trying to solicit money from authors and lead them down
a path where they are either publishing in a bogus journal or
they are being taken advantage of in one way or another
financially or career-wise. This erosion of trust is
literally turning into an erosion of trust in the
literature in the sense that we now have papers alongside
other papers and is very hard to tell whether – which
paper is real research. Because it has either
been fraudulently derived data or it has been a
– just a pure bogus machine-generated paper
that snuffed through peer review and has not
yet been retracted. So, there is a – an erosion
of trust in the literature, an erosion of public trust
which is very concerning. And so like Think. Check.
Submit as a – as a movement, there are other
movements as well. The Coalition for Responsible
Publication Resources is a recent and upcoming
initiative that is a coalition of publishers and author
services and other stakeholders in the publishing realm,
including universities. So, the – I guess the
take-home message, and we can talk a little bit
more about is that the author really now needs
to be guarded and be very aware that they’re not
being taken advantage of. If, in fact, they get an
email that praises them on a recent paper that they
submitted somewhere else, they should really take a
step back and question why this company or this publisher
actually sent this email. Is the email real?
Is the publisher real? Is there a misintent
behind this? Is there corruption involved?
And really start asking questions that they haven’t
had to ask before. And Don, I think it goes even
more beyond – further beyond publishing, it goes into
conferences, in different symposia. I know Shawn and I both speak
at conferences and we both have been solicited by conferences
that are not true conferences. And as you read what
they’re giving you, they ask you to – invite
you to present, they want you to pay them
$5000-6000, and a reputable conference doesn’t
ask you to do that. So, I think it really behoves
anyone, whether they’re an author or speaker – and many
authors are speakers – to really do their homework
and look to make sure it’s a reputable conference before
they agree to any of this. Yeah, so in fact, I’m
aware that there are actually ghost conferences
where you have a corrupt intent company
setting up five or six conferences in a hotel room
at a given day… -Right …and they say you don’t have
to come to present, you just have to submit
your paper, all it costs is A, B, C and the
question is whether these conferences ever
actually take place. And it is really just
a money-making scheme on behalf of someone’s…
Right. That’s right. Well, they take registrations
and get people to, you know, send in money and
they – and there’re – there’re a couple of
telltale ways that I think – that if you really start to
understand conferences where we have some experience with
conferences or even publishing. For example, if an author
gets an invitation that says – that talks about rapid peer
review with 2-week turnaround or we can publish your
manuscript within a month, there’s no way a good solid
peer review and vetting and clinical checking and revising
can happen within a month. I had an invitation and I
use it when I do a talk. I had an invitation, it was
January 15th and they said they could publish it February 1st,
and I was just amazed at that. The other thing with the
conferences is that the most reputable conferences are built
around a theme or a specialty. And these deceptive conferences
seem to be a smattering of all sorts of specialties
and they pick and choose the articles or
titles that are really very specialized and having no
relation to one another. So, that’s one of the ways that
people can look and see if this is – it just
doesn’t feel like a real conference because
it’s – it may have a neonatal topic with
an oncology or geriatric topic
and it just is – they’re trying to
appeal to everyone, and real conferences
don’t do that. So, in the end, it’s author
beware… Yes, very much. And… And speaker beware [Laughs]
and speaker beware. The sad thing is careers
are really being hurt by this. There are studies now about
predatory publishers and analyzing where the
authors are within these bogus journals, where these
papers are being submitted from. And surprisingly
well, a lot of it is from India and China
and Asia in general. There is a surprising
percentage – 20% to 30% that comes from North
America, Europe, and so these are people who you
would assume not to be taken advantage of
and that they should be aware but they are
not and the pride gets in the way in that
you are being asked to submit your research to a
journal that – especially for a young researcher,
that’s attractive. And we haven’t talked about
bogus editorial boards and… Right. …these bogus journals
actually use your name whether you – you
know of it or not. And the editorial board
that they portray as being real or the peer review
processes they portray as being real is pure smoke
and mirrors and… Um-hmm. We just had and
– and I have had experience with some very – very
significant – people in very significant positions
here in the US whose – whose names are well known
to nursing circles. One of whom emailed me and said,
“Gee, I was just asked to be the editor of this special
issue on – on such and such. And I knew that there was
no such journal and when I looked to see who the
publisher was and the – and – and did some checking,
I realized that they were trying to traffic
on this person’s name. And we just had a reviewer
who had agreed to be editor of a special edition of the
journal and we said, you know, do you know this publisher and
we looked and it was a publisher that had been listed or
suspected of – of being what they called
“predatory publisher.” So, people in key positions here
in the US aren’t really aware of this, and I think the
word is just getting out. The International Academy
of Nursing Editors did a special project to write
editorials, and many of the editors wrote editorials
in their journals. And they have a site now on
the INANE website that does list the journals and does talk
about the different practices that people should be aware
of, but it’s really we still need to get to the faculty who
can then talk to their students. But it’s still at
that level where even faculty members don’t
really understand that. And what happens that people
don’t realize is you can be submitting to one of
these deceptive journals. These deceptive journals
don’t archive their work. They can disappear tomorrow and that paper vaporizes, and
because it has technically been in the literature, it
can’t be republished… -Right.
…and so that research has… The researcher is basically
hand-tied that they can no longer disseminate…
-Right. …that paper any other
way and quite honestly these deceptive and/or
predatory journals are not… We were talking about earlier
in one of the other videos about dissemination and
discoverability, your… These journals are not spending
the effort and the time and the money in order to ensure
search engine optimizations and other things in order to
make your work discoverable. So, it’s a lose-lose-lose
scenario…-It is. …as opposed to a win-win
scenario for the author that is caught up
in one of these scams. And even if the paper
gets published in some of these journals, because
some of these journals have maintained some longevity
in our publishing. The author in attempting
to use this as a, “Here’s my work citations,
here’s where I published.” Publishing in these journals
aren’t going to account for anything, because it’s
just kind of a rubberstamp. So, for people who are looking
to publish to enhance career advancement or to get
tenure, this isn’t going to do it, a rapid publication
in these places. And at first, it might seem
attractive because it seems, “Oh I can get it out
there quickly and it’s not going to – it’s easy
and I’m guaranteed they – they will publish, they
will work with me on it. And – and we had – as an
example of this, I had an email last week where
we were chuckling because they offered
authorship services and creative content enhancement
as appropriate. So, as an editor, I wondered
what that actually meant but it was little
scary to read that. So, these are deceptive
places offer services. Not only are they trying
to publish the paper but then they proclaim that
they can offer services to help the author and
they are basically either rewriting it or just, you
know, leaving it as is. But I think it goes
all back to the idea that if you’re an
author, you need to look for a reputable
journal, a reputable author service to help
you and make sure you’re working with a
reputable publishing house such as like a
Wolters Kluwer, and only then are you
really protected and your intellectual
property is protected. And – and notably
Wolters Kluwer also has an author service at So, with that, I
will bring closure to this segment of
our discussion. And again, I will mention
that I am Donald Samulack, the President
US Operations of Editage. And I am here at Wolters
Kluwer in Philadelphia talking with Dr. Anne Woods, the Chief
Nurse, and Shawn Kennedy, Editor-in-Chief, the
American Journal of Nursing. Thank you. Look
for more videos.

One thought on “Authors beware: How to avoid falling prey to predatory journals and bogus conferences

  1. I have been writing my autobiography for the past two years, Now, I'm ready to get it published. I have been warned about so many publishers !! I have done my research and I'm hearing some horror stories !!! Three publishers want my story, but, so afraid to make a decision. Is there any advice you can offer to HELP!! I would really appreciate any knowledge in this matter. Thank You.

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