(Translation of the report “Cientistas ‘turbinam’ trabalhos apresentados em evento da Unicamp”, Folha de S. Paulo, March 19).
At least 30 Brazilian researchers “embellished” their resumes with papers presented at an event held by a Chinese publisher, accused of violating academic publishing standards, in partnership with UNICAMP (Universidade Estadual de Campinas).
Held in Campinas in August 2014, the 3rd International Conference of Civil Engineering and Architecture was organized by the publisher IACSIT (International Academy of Computer Science and Information Technology).
Since 2012, the IACSIT is in the list of “predatory publishers” elaborated by Jeffrey Beall, professor at the University of Colorado at Denver (USA). This list is considered an international reference.
The list indicates publishers that charge to publish articles and have flexible criteria for accepting them.
Instead of gathering the 31 works of the conference as Congress annals, standard procedure in the academy, IACSIT published them as articles in one of its journals.
In the evaluation of curricula for contests, promotions, scholarships and grants for research projects, studies accepted by scientific journals count more than studies presented at conferences.
The works of the event were published in the “International Journal of Engineering and Technology” in 2014, but are available in online editions dated June to December 2015. They are not anticipated drafts versions, usual in some prestigious journals. They are in final format, with numbered pages, allowing them to be referenced in curricula. And with no mention of the UNICAMP event.
Professor Gladis Camarini, from FEC (College of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Urbanism of UNICAMP), was organizer of the conference along with the board of IACSIT. She herself was co-author of six studies presented at the event.
Camarini has registered the works as “full papers published in journals” in her curriculum in the Lattes electronic platform.
Unlike the professor, two students and coauthors reported the studies done with her as event work in their Lattes curricula. The professor did not respond to questions about her way of registering the works.
The event received $ 3,000 USD from CNPq, federal agency for research support, and $ 5,500 USD from CAPES, Ministry of Education agency.
Without clarifying how much was spent with the meeting, UNICAMP said it paid the usual costs of scientific events, such as travel and per diem of national and international speakers.
UNICAMP also pointed out that 14 professors of FEC were members of the scientific committee of the event, made up of 41 researchers. Did not answer, however, if the group knew of some of the various negative information about IACSIT on the Internet, including the publisher event disqualification in 2012 by the prestigious IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), founded in 1884 in the USA.
Just as the CNPq, CAPES said that its scrutiny and approval of support to the event did not find anything negative about the Chinese publisher in question.
The IACSIT did not respond to questions sent by the journalist.
Although the Chinese publisher is in the list of “predatory publishers”, its “International Journal of Engineering and Technology” is classified in Qualis Periódicos, of CAPES, which serves to guide researchers, Brazilian professors and graduate students to choose scientific journals to publish their articles.
Although irregular, the record of events’ works as journal articles in curricula is becoming common, according to the geographer Marcos Pedlowski, professor at the Universidade Estadual do Norte Fluminense.
“The relation of this practice with predatory publications is only the tip of an iceberg with many other serious aspects linked to the increasing academic pressure for productivity of researchers with journal articles”, Pedilowski said. “We are growing in quantity but stagnating in quality”.
The IACSIT event with UNICAMP would not have happened if the “International Journal of Engineering and Technology” and others of its journals were not in the Qualis, the researcher said.
UNICAMP said that the conference was attended by internationally recognized speakers and that the event was very successful, had important works within the civil engineering and architecture fields.
On the Beall’s list of “predatory publishers”, the university said in a statement that does not consider that an academic librarian “with only two years in the professor career, as specified in his own blog, has more competence to rank journals than the evaluation traditionally recognized in the scientific world, which in the case was made by professors who advise CAPES”.
Regarding the ranking of the “International Journal of Engineering and Technology” in the Qualis, CAPES said that every new assessment, from triennial it will be quadrennial, “the procedures are updated, modified and improved depending on the learning of each process”.
The CNPq did not answer whether it will take actions on how the event’s works were recorded in at least 30 curricula in the Lattes platform.