Protect yourself and your research work from potential scams or frauds that will cost you time, money and scientific integrity
Tips to avoid Predatory (fake or fraud) Journals and Congresses
Following a recent contact by a colleague, someone who was ”tricked by a scientific congress scam” , I decided to write this article in order to try to clear some thoughts and help junior researchers. Within the next lines I will try to describe my experience with fraud scientific journals and offer tips to junior scientists on how to avoid scientific scams and future missteps in their career.
As a researcher, I do receive one or two invitations on a daily basis from predatory (fake or fraud) journals or conferences. They usually ask me to become an invited speaker, publish my work or even become their lead editor. Before you get yourself all excited, you should first THINK and protect yourself.
In this way you will avoid losing a significant amount of #effort,#time and #money.
So let’s go back to the invitations. The invitation emails can be straightforward or not. This means that they can be in your field of interest or not. I still remember receiving an invitation to become a lead editor in an International Journal of Dentistry (but..I am a psychiatrist?!).
A Screenshot of my Junk e-mail folder
Thus, before taking any action, here are some #Tips in order to protect yourself from Scientific Scams
For #congress invitations do a quick fact check of the invitation. At first, look at the website design and name of the congress.
Do they look like a pro website? If not – skip.
Is the congress in your field of interest? If not, then again avoid.
Check the syntax, the spelling and the grammar of their English thoroughly. I once received an invitation from a ”World Class Congress”, that in their title mistyped the word Alzheimer’s and another that referred to me as a ”SHCIENTIST”. The last one was kind enough to even offer me a fee waiver. I was clearly the bait for my colleagues.
A third step is to check who is inviting you, if they have any scientific background or whether a well known organization is supporting them.
If their use of proper English is inconsistent, then again just avoid. This will probably help you get protected from registering and paying for a non existent event (fake website/event).
Now some #Journal publishing Tips
You have gathered all your data, you might even had received one or two rejections from well known journals and you are desperate and eager to publish your work.
You might have also received an email asking you to become a lead editor or to publish your work in a journal that you did not know it even existed.
Again, before taking any action do a fact check who the publisher is. Are they included in a list of predatory(fake) journals? If yes, again skip. In order to do so, you need to go through the famous Beall’slist. https://beallslist.weebly.com
When I was in a more junior state and received such an email I always went through that list and used these tips. Now that I have ”trained my eyes” I can spot them in an instance, without going though the list and I immediately add them to my spam e-mail folder.
Last but not least, remember that publishing in a predatory journal affects others. Their main goal is to get your money. They do not promote science nor really care about your research effort. If you bite the bait, others might follow. In the long-term, this affects your integrity as a researcher.