Predatory publishing: spotters guide
Purpose: The goal of this guide is to provide a clear overview of the topics of predatory journals and questionable conferences and advice on how to avoid them. This guide intentionally adopts a plain language approach to ensure it is accessible to readers with a variety English language proficiency levels. Methods: Electronic searches were conducted manually using Google and Google Scholar, along with a search of the University of Calgary library research databases. Search terms included "predatory journals", "predatory publisher", "predatory conference", "questionable conference" and "vanity conference". Three primary types of sources informed this report: (1) scholarly peer-reviewed articles; (2) reputable popular media such as established newspapers; and (3) grey literature such as blogs written by experts and scholars. Findings: Plain-language overviews of predatory publications and questionable conferences are provided to help researchers understand what these are and how to avoid them. A discussion of how to figure out where an aspiring author should publish their work is included, as well as a checklist for determining if a conference is worth the prospective presenter's time and resources. Implications: There are implications for mentors of graduate students and early-career stage academics, as well as for institutions as a whole. The issue of questionable conferences and publications is so complex that early-stage academics require support and mentorship to cultivate a deeper understanding of how to share their work in a credible way.
Since 2011, awareness was raised about predatory publishers, pirated websites, and bogus conferences among other fraudulent academic and publishing practices. Unlike academic publications that exist to communicate and document research via transparent and peer-reviewed/refereed processes, fraudulent practices run exploitative business. Their tactics include reprinting articles without the authors’ approval or knowledge, publishing and/or presenting articles under false pretences, collecting fees without delivering the promised services, and related fraud
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