Invitations received from potential predatory publishers and fraudulent conferences: a 12-month early-career researcher experience

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Purpose of the studyThis study aims to describe all unsolicited electronic invitations received from potential predatory publishers or fraudulent conferences over a 12-month period following the first publication as a corresponding author of a junior academician.Study designUnsolicited invitations received at an institutional email address and perceived to be sent by predatory publishers or fraudulent conferences were collected.ResultsA total of 502 invitations were included of which 177 (35.3%) had subject matter relevant to the recipient’s research interests and previous work. Two hundred and thirty-seven were invitations to publish a manuscript. Few disclosed the publication fees (32, 13.5%) but they frequently reported accepting all types of manuscripts (167, 70.5%) or emphasised on a deadline to submit (165, 69.6%). Invitations came from 39 publishers (range 1 to 87 invitations per publisher). Two hundred and ten invitations from a potential fraudulent conference were received. These meetings were held in Europe (97, 46.2%), North America (65, 31.0%), Asia (20.4%) or other continents (5, 2.4%) and came from 18 meeting organisation groups (range 1 to 137 invitations per organisation). Becoming an editorial board member (30), the editor-in-chief (1), a guest editor for journal special issue (6) and write a book chapter (11) were some of the roles offered in the other invitations included while no invitation to review a manuscript was received.ConclusionsYoung researchers are commonly exposed to predatory publishers and fraudulent conferences following a single publication as a corresponding author. Academic institutions worldwide need to educate and inform young researchers of this emerging problem.

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