Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)

The scientists who were recruited to appear at a conference called Entomology-2013 thought they had been selected to make a presentation to the leading professional association of scientists who study insects.

But they found out the hard way that they were wrong. The prestigious, academically sanctioned conference they had in mind has a slightly different name: Entomology 2013 (without the hyphen). The one they had signed up for featured speakers who were recruited by e-mail, not vetted by leading academics. Those who agreed to appear were later charged a hefty fee for the privilege, and pretty much anyone who paid got a spot on the podium that could be used to pad a résumé.

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Internet Searching

This highlights the problems of Internet searching in the sicences, rather than depending upon abstracting services such as Chem Abstracts or GeoRef or Mathematical Reviews. On the Internet, all publications are equal, even crazy ones from problematic journals.

Controlled indexing and abstracting fee-services in the sciences are confined to a number of peer reviewed journals. Although even this is not 100% effective, it is a good way to determine which articles are published in respected journals.

But patron generated searches are cheaper, and by-passing the respected and often society-produced indexing and abstracting services mean that the silly are mixed up with the good. Thus another problem in searching for keywords on the Internet, and doing away with the subject specialist reference librarians.

90% agreement

Agreed, except for the part that "controlled indexing and abstracting fee-services in the sciences are confined to a number of peer reviewed journals." In biomedicine, even the highest-quality database of all, MEDLINE, contains citations that are not coming from peer-reviewed journals. For a factsheet on MEDLINE journal selection, go here:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/pubs/factsheets/jsel.html

For a quick answer to "are they all peer-reviewed" go here:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/services/peerrev.html

Peer-review itself is a matter of context and can't be interpreted as an absolute synonym for "high quality", but I completely agree that it is a better idea to rely on gatekeepers like bibliographic databases than it is to rely on naive keyword searching.

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