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Welcome to the World of Pseudo-Academia: Pathology-2013

Posted Apr 18 2013 12:00am

A recent article detailed a conference and journal scam that is being foisted on gullible academics in search of publications and lecture appearances, probably to pad their CVs (see: Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too) . Here is an excerpt from the article from the NYT. I am only quoting part of it so link to it for more details.

[Some] scientists [have recently] stumbled into a parallel world of pseudo-academia, complete with prestigiously titled conferences and journals that sponsor them. Many of the journals and meetings have names that are nearly identical to those of established, well-known publications and events....The number of these journals and conferences has exploded in recent years as scientific publishing has shifted from a traditional business model for professional societies and organizations built almost entirely on subscription revenues to open access, which relies on authors or their backers to pay for the publication of papers online, where anyone can read them....The phenomenon has caught the attention of Nature, one of the most competitive and well-regarded scientific journals. In a news report published recently, the journal noted “the rise of questionable operators” and explored whether it was better to blacklist them or to create a “white list” of those open-access journals that meet certain standards..... [A research librarian] estimates that there are as many as 4,000 predatory journals today, at least 25 percent of the total number of open-access journals....One of the most prolific publishers on Beall’s list, Srinubabu Gedela, the director of the Omics Group, has about 250 journals and charges authors as much as $2,700 per paper. Dr. Gedela, who lists a Ph.D. from Andhra University in India, says on his Web site that he “learnt to devise wonders in biotechnology.

As luck would have it, the same day that this NYT article was published, I myself received an email invitation to speak at Pathology-2013, a " conference " hosted by Dr. Gedala's Omics Group. Here is an excerpt from it copied verbatim:

We are inviting you to avail the speaker opportunity at the 2nd International Conference and Exhibition on Pathology (Pathology-2013). This conference will be held on August 05-07, 2013 at Embassy Suites Las Vegas, USA. The main theme of the conference is “To Stimulate the Technology in Pathology for Scientific Excellence.” Pathology-2013 is Supported by Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology and Journal of Plant Pathology and Microbiology. Pathology-2013 is designed to offer comprehensive sessions like Anatomic Pathology, Pathology Immunohistochemistry, Surgical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Pathology and Parasitology, Pathology of Gastrointestinal Tract, Osteopathy and Dermatopathology, Pathology of Chronic Disease, Forensic Pathology, Clinical Pathology and Diagnostic Tools, Advanced Diagnostics Modalities, Areas of Current Research in Pathology, Plant Pathology and Disease Management; which would lay a platform for the interaction between experts around the world and aims in accelerating scientific discoveries.

Here's a quote from the Pathology-2013 conference web site: Pathology-2013 is comprised of 12 tracks and 77 sessions designed to offer comprehensive sessions that address current issues in the field of Pathology. So that no human pathologist would leave the conference disappointed for lack of coverage of plant pathology, the topic is covered in Track 10. Here's a link to the twenty different conferences that the Omics Group has planned for this year. The only way that I can describe this conference enterprise, putting aside the journals, is comprehensively audacious. Do registrants actually show up at these conferences or is the audience just faculty members?  Aside from some grammatical slips and the misstep into plant pathology for Pathology-2013, the web content does have a semi-authentic feel. The biggest clue, of course, is the grandiosity of it all. It seems to be an example of pseudo-academia writ large.

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