Legitimate conferences provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange between people from similar fields or different fields with similar interests. They allow researchers to get feedback on work in progress, network and connect with people with whom they might collaborate, seek advice, share data, etc. Conferences also present the opportunity to stay up-to-date on research trends in a particular field or area of interest. They typically come with presentation and sometimes publication opportunities. As a bonus, they may take place in an interesting location. Typically, there is a registration fee to offset the cost of venue, catering, logistical support, etc.
Predatory or scam conferences charge a fee that allows the organizers to realize a substantial profit. They often take place in an appealing travel destination and may promise publication (which is inconsistent with rigorous peer review). Such conferences are not well organized around a theme or field to facilitate productive interactions and lack the benefits described above.
For more information on this tool, consult: Emme Lopez & Christine S. Gaspard. (2020). Predatory publishing and the academic librarian: Developing tools to make decisions. Medical Reference Services Quarterly, 39(1), 1-14, https://doi.org/10.1080/02763869.2020.1693205
Lopez, Emme; Gaspard, Christine (2018): Conference Assessment Tool. figshare. Figure. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.7342787.v1
Predatory journals are pseudo-academic journals that exist for the sole purpose of collecting fees from authors. They have emerged to exploit the Open Access publishing business model whereby authors pay a fee to make their work freely available to the public. Predatory journals are a concern because they are sometimes difficult to identify. They pose as high quality Open Access journals but fail to deliver meaningful editorial and peer review.
Predatory journals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and difficult to identify. They can have ISSNs, assign DOIs, and have slick, professional-looking websites. This page links to several checklists and tools to help authors think critically about places they might submit their work. Beyond these, critical things to consider when evaluating a journal include:
Look for lies:
Look for "fluff":
Look at publications:
Here are two "white lists" of journals/publishers considered legitimate and one "black list" of journals/publishers to avoid. The methods of composing these lists are not perfect and inclusion or absence is not a guarantee. For more information, consult: Strinzel, M., Severin, A., Milzow, K., & Egger, M. (2019). Blacklists and whitelists to tackle predatory publishing: A cross-sectional comparison and thematic analysis. MBio, 10(3), e00411-19.