“This can include organising events at a similar time or location, or using a name with has some similarities with a reputable event.
“Researchers and academics need to be on the lookout for their names being added to lists of editorial boards, conference programme committees and speakers without their consent.“Low-quality publications and events pose a threat to the credibility, long-term professional standing and overall quality of care.”
The move to online events, as part of the response to COVID-19, has also seen an increase in predatory events and the Times Higher Education has questioned whether the volume of COVID-19 publications indicates a new phase of predatory publishing.
Physiotherapists are becoming more aware of predatory events and journals but it is important to scrutinise and reject approaches from unofficial journals and commercial conferences promising high-profile opportunities.
International events associated with predatory publishers are often held at the same time, or close to, legitimate events in attractive locations across North America, Western Europe, Japan and China. Conferences have been promoted with detailed programmes, but have been proven to use speaker biographies and photographs without permission, confirmation or prior contact.
Websites and publicity for predatory events often omit or conceal official contact information, and are quickly taken offline following key dates. Particular criticism has been directed at the OMICS Group, which has expanded to buy medical journals in Canada and Australia.
Predatory journals often use spam emails to ask for contributions from a range of researchers and academics, including physiotherapists. They promise quick and prestigious publication, but do not offer the traditional services provided by reputable publishers, such as peer-review, editing, archiving and marketing.
What to look out for
• Is the event organised by a reputable organisation?
• Do you and/or your colleagues know the event organisers?
• Is it difficult to find out the contact details for the event organisers?
• Does another event with a very similar name already exist?
• Is another event already due to take place at a similar location?
• Is the programme content very broad, maybe too broad?
• Are the event organisers charging higher-than-usual fees?