Predatory Publishing: It’s a Jungle Out There in the Wild West

OK, so I’m mixing metaphors here, but the new landscape of online publications does invite both the image of the predatory jungle (“Nature, red in tooth and claw,” as the poet Tennyson wrote) and the lawless American frontier West. Compliments of Edie Brous, nurse attorney——a compilation of recent reports on predatory open-access journals and scholarly conference scams.

Jeffrey Beall, 9/12/12

“Predatory Publishers Are Corrupting Open Access”

Declan Butler, 3/27/13

“Investigating Journals: The Dark Side of Publishing”

Declan Butler, 3/27/14

“Sham Journals Scam Authors: Con Artists Are Stealing the Identities of Real Journals To Cheat Scientists Out of Publishing Fees”

Kyle Crocco, 3/12/14

“Welcome To The Dark Side Of Academia:  Fake Conferences And Faux Journals”

Carl Elliott, 6/5/12

“On Predatory Publishers: A Q&A With Jeffrey Beall”

Martha Harbison, 4/9/13

Bogus Academic Conferences Lure Scientists

Gina Kolata, 4/7/13

“Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)”

Amy Novotney, APA 2014

“Watch Out For Faux Journals and Fake Conferences”

Be careful out there!

LAP Dancing

Please forgive the naughty (but, I hope, attention getting) subject line, but I want to draw your attention to a book publishing scam: LAP (Lambert Academic Publishing).

One of our recent doctoral graduates received a solicitation from LAP to publish in book from her dissertation.

Here is what Jeffrey Beall had to say about LAP back in 2012:

This publisher solicits from recent graduates, and its Web site invites the publication not only of doctoral dissertations but also master’s theses and even baccalaureate theses.

They offer a quick turnaround from the time of your ms submission to its acceptance (almost certainly guaranteed). There is no anonymous peer review, and LAP even acknowledges that copy editing would only add cost, so your ms is ready for print.

Trust me when I tell you: Reputable academic publishers rarely solicit book manuscripts (except from seasoned scholars or emerging scholars of conspicuous excellence), and even less rarely will they solicit a dissertation. Their in-boxes are already full of book proposals and sample chapters, and the successful publication of a book requires substantial revision of the dissertation. (For example, I chopped my 600-page behemoth dissertation down to a 300-page ms that was published as AIDS and American Apocalypticism.)

A couple of observations about scholarly book publishing. First, a reputable university or scholarly press will subject a ms to rigorous review: not only the acquisitions editor and a specialist series editor (usually a university professor with an active research program) but also two or more anonymous peer reviewers. In other words, a scholarly book (the gold standard for publishing in the humanities, for example) is as rigorously reviewed as a journal article ms.

However, in the discipline of nursing science, the peer reviewed journal article is generally the gold standard for disseminating new knowledge. So, doctoral students and recent grads, work on revising the dissertation in the form of one or more journal articles.

Current doctoral students or recent graduates should consult with their dissertation advisers in order determine the appropriate journals to which they should submit their mss.

Always check Beall’s website if you are uncertain:

More Effective Scientific, Technical Writing & Presentations

More Effective Scientific and Technical Writing and Presentations

Penn State’s engineering program provides a variety of media resources to help researchers make more effective presentations and write more clearly. A recently discovered sampling follows:

Writing: Student Guidelines

Writing: Resources for Faculty

Presentations: Student Guidelines

Presentations: Resources for Faculty

Rethinking Scientific Presentations: The Assertion-Evidence Approach

Creating Effective Slides in Engineering and Science

Effective Delivery in Presentations

Better Posters

Ah, the poster presentation, a genre with almost limitless possibilities, but more often than not a stepchild to the more prestigious podium paper presentation!

Designing an effective poster is an art, and, indeed, may be art.

Read more here:

Recommended Reading: Collaborative writing

You should include on your summer reading list, this recent article:

“A Formula for Collaborative Writing” by Cynthia Clark, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, Journal of Nursing Education, March 2014 – Volume 53 · Issue 3: 119-120, DOI: 10.3928/01484834-20140220-10

Warning: Predatory Publishers Gone Phishing

Reported today by Jeffrey Beall on the ScholarlyOA web site, a scam involving predatory open-access publishers posing as a distinguished publisher (e.g., Elsevier):

“Phishing” is the practice of attempting to secure information by posing as a reputable entity. In this case, the “phishers” do not direct you to the legitimate web site of the publisher and they insist on conducting business via email.

Always check the official web site of a publisher and the official email of the editor. Typically, most journals will require that you register for a manuscript account on their web site and that you submit your material on such a system.

Seductive Posters

Writing in the Chronicle’s Vitae section, Kathryn Everson summarizes guides for creating effective poster session posters:

She reviews the need for planning, attention to layout, typography, and color, and software tools. About the latter, she suggests that Microsoft’s PowerPoint, which is typically used by academics for posters but was designed for projection systems, is not ideal for the print medium of the poster. She suggests alternatives.


Write Ahead

One evidence-based method of increasing your writing productivity is to cultivate a daily writing habit. (See the extensive research literature of Robert Boice and his colleagues.) Writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Vitae, Joli Jensen has identified three techniques for “taming” a large writing “beast”:

And she has suggested a method of auditing your time to figure out where it goes (when you know it’s not going to writing):

Daily Writing

Ryan Cordell, writing for the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s ProfHacker section reminds us of the efficacy of cultivating a daily writing habit, which relies on accountability, scheduling, limits (at least 15 but no more than 30 minutes), and momentum. Details here:

Research Article on Facilitators/Inhibitors of Productivity

Research Article on Facilitators/Inhibitors of Productivity

Dowling, D. A., Savrin, C., & Graham, G. C.. (2013). Writing for publication: Perspectives of graduate nursing students and doctorally prepared faculty. Journal of Nursing Education, 52(7), 371-5.

Abstract: Publication is a common expectation for both faculty and graduate students in schools of nursing. Little is known about the perceptions of students and faculty regarding what supports or interferes with students’ success in writing for publication. Perceptions of supports and barriers to writing for publication and the differences in perceptions between graduate nursing students and faculty were examined. A descriptive comparative design was used to sample master’s (n = 62), Doctor of Nursing Practice (n = 66), and Doctor of Philosophy (n = 7) students and graduate faculty (n = 35) using two investigator-developed surveys. Students (71.1%) and faculty (57.6%) identified working with faculty and mentors as the greatest support. Students’ primary barrier was finding time (64.5%). Faculty identified not knowing how to get started (63.6%) as the students’ greatest barrier. Findings support that mentoring and finding sufficient time for writing are priorities for the development of a plan to support students in writing for publication. [Abstract provided by the journal.]


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