Sound familiar? As a researcher you will likely get many (hundreds of) emails starting off like this one, inviting you to:
- Submit your best work to a dubiously-titled journal
- Join the editorial board of a journal in a field in which you have zero expertise*
- Serve as an eminent ‘keynote’ speaker at an even more dubiously-named conference
- Grace some other odd gathering in a weird location with your presence
(* I work in public health – but I’ve been flattered for my expertise in countless fields, including Forensic Science; Forestry; Gynaecology; Gerontology; Plant Biology; Water Science and Engineering, among others).
These invitations often praise your work, but it’s usually easy to spot the blanket compliments and poor grammar. These are predatory publishers and events, and you should run a mile from them.
There are some excellent resources out there on why to avoid them and how to spot them:
- The famed Beall’s list (archived version)
- Advice from the Research Whisperers
- Think Check Submit site for helping choose trustworthy journals in which to publish (see also @Thinkchecksub on Twitter)
- This empirical paper reporting on features that help you distinguish legitimate from predatory journals
Rather than reiterate the excellent messages already included in sites such as these, in the interests of a lighter blog post this month (and for a few laughs/to help alleviate my frustration at yet another spam invitation), I’ve collated a few recent memorable correspondences I’ve received.
My honourable invitations…
“I am a huge fan of your research – and the way you are so impressive at that thing you do – and would be so excited if you would join us”
“I’m pleased to inform you that, I need only two article to release the upholding issue successfully, my intention is the two article should be yours. We glad to announce you that we will publish both articles in only one payment.”
“We have gone through your abstract entitled “XXX ” which was exceptionally fascinating and will be an extraordinary source for other researchers.”
“We are waiting for Your Amazing Research”
“We pray for your brilliance and accomplishments”
“You are passionately invited to join hands with XX Literature”
“Your research article titled, “XXX” peaks my interest and the way you are so impressive would be fruitful if you would join us and share your comprehension and we believe your address would stand as an inscription to future young scientists of the world.”
“Based on your expertise in Electromagnetics, we would like to honour you by giving the position as an Organizing Committee Member”
“Myself managing editor of Journal X, I am once again here to contact you with a hope of response after going through your profile. I have dropped you an invitation previously but disappointed with lack of response”
“As you are an eminent expert in gynaecology fields, we are planning to release a new issue for which we are in lag of only 2 articles and we hope that one article will be yours”
“Hope your days are going great. We are delighted to inform you about the success of our journal. We have successful released 60 Articles up to now with the support of our eminent personalities in our editorial board members. Hope their assistance will be with us in the same way in the nearer future”
“We feel pleasurable if you can submit any kind of article and let this even become more successful. Hope your contribution will boost us to generate more records for our journal”
Generally you can avoid predatory publishers/events by being proactive rather than reactive in your research dissemination and service activities. When publishing or presenting, seek out and aim for the most reputable journals and conferences in your field, reaching readers you want to see your work. If you want to serve on an editorial board, consider approaching reputable journals through your networks and enquiring about opportunities to review/serve, rather than responding to ad hoc requests from questionable sources that turn up in your mailbox.
Have you been caught out by predatory publishers/events? I’d love to hear how you’ve dealt with these, or if you have received a particularly amusing invitation, either in comments below or on Twitter @KylieBall3.
(Happy Academic is taking long service leave! I’ll be back in a couple of months)