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Invitations received from potential predatory publishers and fraudulent conferences: a 12-month early-career researcher experience
  1. Eric Mercier1,2,3,
  2. Pier-Alexandre Tardif2,
  3. Lynne Moore2,
  4. Natalie Le Sage1,2,
  5. Peter A Cameron3
  1. 1 Département de Médecine Familiale et Médecine d’Urgence, Faculté de Médecine, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  2. 2 Axe Santé des Populations et Pratiques Optimales en Santé, Unité de recherche en Traumatologie - Urgence - Soins Intensifs, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Université Laval, Québec, Canada
  3. 3 School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Dr Eric Mercier, Département de Médecine Familiale et Médecine d’Urgence, Faculté de Médecine, Centre de recherche du CHU de Québec, Université Laval, Québec G1J 1Z4, Canada; eric.mercier.2{at}


Purpose of the study This 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 design Unsolicited invitations received at an institutional email address and perceived to be sent by predatory publishers or fraudulent conferences were collected.

Results A 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.

Conclusions Young 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.

  • predatory journals
  • predatory conferences
  • publication ethic
  • young researcher
  • dissemination of research

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  • Contributors EM has had the original idea. EM, P-AT and NL conceived the study’s design and protocol with support, input and oversight from LM and PAC. EM performed the data extraction. P-AT prepared the data for statistical analysis with oversight from LM and PAC. EM and P-AT wrote the manuscript first draft. All authors contributed to the manuscript revision and they all approved the final submitted version. EM is accountable for all aspects of this study.

  • Funding EM has received a grant from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec en Santé (FRQS) for his fellowship in clinical research.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Unpublished data regarding the name of the potential predatory publishers, journals, conferences and conferences organising groups included in our study are available upon request to the corresponding author.