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Outside the Lab Profession, Training and education

Anatomy of a Predator

At a Glance

  • Predatory journals and conferences often take advantage of academics pressured by the common “publish or perish” mindset
  • These groups often overcharge those presenting or publishing without delivering the scientific rigor and stature they promise
  • To avoid falling victim to predatory groups, always check journals’ and conferences’ credentials (ideally with respected researchers you know personally) and examine predatory publishers to ensure your identity is not used without permission
  • This kind of predation is a symptom of a larger problem; we need to reconsider how academic science and medicine are incentivized

Academia’s “publish or perish” mindset is one that drives productivity and competition. And that can be a good thing – inspiring hard work, broad collaboration, and rigorous scientific quality control. But sometimes, it can lead to the opposite – a sense of urgency in publishing and presenting that may make some look less carefully at the journals and conferences accepting their work. This, in turn, opens the door to predatory organizations who take advantage of the perceived urgency.

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About the Author

Benjamin Mazer

Benjamin Mazer is Resident in Anatomic and Clinical Pathology in the Departments of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Yale-New Haven Hospital and the Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, USA.

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