Tuesday, August 21, 2018

22 August 2018: How to determine if a journal or conference is "legitimate"

By Debra Zynger, M.D., Associate Professor, The Ohio State University Department of Pathology and Editor-in-Chief, PathologyOutlines.com and Nat Pernick, M.D., President, PathologyOutlines.com

Congratulations! You have been invited to submit your publication to a journal, speak at a conference, join a conference organizing committee or be on an Editorial Board. How can you tell if it is legitimate or just an attempt to deceptively take your money?

Here are some tips to spot a scam:

Journal article or editorial board invitation:
The journal:
* is on this list of predatory journals
* is unknown to you or your colleagues
* has no editors listed on its website or many editors but includes a random mix of medical specialties and degrees, few of which you recognize
* has no stated qualifications for editorial board members other than providing a CV and a photo
* sent you an invitation with poor English grammar

The publishing company: 
* has no apparent physical address
* has numerous very new online only journals across many different medical specialties
* has only journals which charge a fee to publish and are not indexed in PubMed

Conference speaker or organizing committee invitation:
The conference:
* is unknown to you or your colleagues
* is only advertised via email (i.e. there is no paid advertising for the conference)
* has no agenda or it is vague or unavailable unless you provide an email
* has platforms / seminars which are unrelated to each other
* includes a group photo
* has a website listing numerous other conferences across a large number of medical specialties and non-medical fields
* has a website with poor English grammar

The speaker invitation:
* is surprising because the meeting topic is outside your area of expertise or your role is inappropriate for your current qualifications (e.g. keynote speaker, organizing committee)
* indicates that speaker spots are still available
* is offered 6 months or less from the date of the conference
* allows any topic of your interest to be presented and no stated qualifications
* does not indicate that you will be provided meeting registration, travel expenses, lodging or an honorarium (almost all legitimate speaking engagements at conferences provide travel assistance, lodging, meeting registration or an honorarium)
* has poor English grammar

* Note that even if you decline, some conferences will list your name as a speaker to attract other speakers


* Kolata, G: Many Academics Are Eager to Publish in Worthless Journals. New York Times, 30 October 2017
* Wikipedia: Predatory conference
* Pai M and Franco E: Predatory Conferences Undermine Science And Scam Academics. Huffington Post, 13 October 2016

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