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I have always done my best to not publish in scam journals or fake conferences (even though I was working as a lecturer and was penalised for not having enough publications, the institution didn't care where the work is published as long as it was).

At one point I have submitted a paper to the internal conference of the institute, at that time I was told that there was going to be a new section at this conference which my work was suitable for. The abstract was accepted, the paper for the post conference publication submitted; but on the day of the conference I was told that my presense was not needed, and that the protocol of the conference was already being written, and my presentation was "discussed" and that I have answered all the questions.

I must admit, I did not raise the fuss. I was swamped with other work, so I thought that I would just build on that work and at least the publication would appear, I'd link to it, but no longer publish something in this institute internally.

I no longer work there. But, low and behold, on their site, where the publication must have appeared, in that conference there's not even a section to which I have submitted. My questions about the situation are unanswered.

I do not want to abandon the attempt to publish (in the true sense of the word, i.e. making it public).

Now the questions.

  • Do I consider that particular paper published as a part of this conference? Can I reference it as published, since I was clearly told that it would be?
  • If I consider it to be unpublished, can I resubmit it somewhere else? Do I explain the whole situation during the submission?

P.S. Yes, I do feel quite stupid about the situation. I will be more careful in the future.

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I am sympathetic to your situation, but I don't fully understand it: you were scammed by a research institute? Is this a real institute, with any kind of reputation? If so, I would think that they have much more to lose than you by treating you in this way. –  Pete L. Clark Jul 15 at 6:45
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Wait. So the publication you submitted was fake? Fake as in mathgen fake? Because that's what the title says, but the body text doesn't seem to confirm this. –  Moriarty Jul 15 at 6:52
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@PeteL.Clark This situation is in Russia. Unfortunately i doubt that many people will care in this country of something like this happening (the scam journals and fake conferences outnumber real ones). –  Volodya Jul 15 at 7:08
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You wrote: "I have submitted a paper to the internal conference of the institute." I can understand scam journals and fake conferences. But is the institute itself fake? (That sounds harder: does it not claim to exist at some specific geographic location?) –  Pete L. Clark Jul 15 at 7:22
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Can you go there and meet with the contact person? If not, can you ask some of your former colleagues top do this for you? I suspect it wasn't a scam but somebody messed up and tried to cover their mistake. In this case it is unlikely they will provide you with any explanation in writing but you might be luckier if you speak with them in person. –  greenfingers Jul 15 at 9:26

1 Answer 1

up vote 16 down vote accepted

First of all, it seems like a good thing you moved on. That does sound like a rather toxic research environment. Especially that:

The abstract was accepted, the paper for the post conference publication submitted; but on the day of the conference I was told that my presense was not needed, and that the protocol of the conference was already being written, and my presentation was "discussed" and that I have answered all the questions. (...) I no longer work there. But, low and behold, on their site, where the publication must have appeared, in that conference there's not even a section to which I have submitted. My questions about the situation are unanswered.

That does sound quite shady. However, I am not even sure why they would do this. You do not mention having to pay something (and, honestly, if they asked for a registration payment or somesuch when submitting to an internal conference, you really should have turned and fled immediately), and I am not sure what other gains they would have from accepting and then silently discarding a paper. Maybe this was after all an ill-handled organisational issue - for instance, maybe they indeed planned to have this "special section" but did not receive enough submissions to hold it, so they decided to just never speak about the "special section" again. I am in no way saying that this is the proper way to handle such an issue, but I could see this happening in some places.

Do I consider that particular paper published as a part of this conference? Can I reference it as published, since I was clearly told that it would be?

As I understand it, your paper did not appear anywhere. It is quite officially unpublished. You can not reference it (at least without putting it up on a preprint server or something like that), and I would definitely not list it on my CV.

If I consider it to be unpublished, can I resubmit it somewhere else? Do I explain the whole situation during the submission?

Yes, you can (and should) certainly submit somewhere else. I see no reason to explain the situation during submission.

Let me re-iterate my main point. Your ethical concerns seem to stem from your understanding that this paper is "kind of" already published, and that submitting it again would be a double submission / self-plagiarism. In my understanding, this is absolutely not the case. Your paper was under consideration at another venue, but for one reason or another (does not even really matter why) it never appeared there. Hence, the paper is unpublished and you are completely free to do whatever you see fit with it. Essentially, the situation is the same as if your paper was rejected at the earlier conference. That they sent you an acceptance is not the important part, the important part is that your paper is nowhere published.

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I agree with this answer. Something strange happened for sure, but viewing this as a "scam" and a "publication" seems -- at least at the moment -- to be wrong. The problem is that someone told the OP they would publish his paper and then didn't follow through with it. So the OP got a very-badly-implemented rejection and should feel free to submit again. Still, that they won't contact him at all -- at a place where he used to work! -- seems distressing. –  Pete L. Clark Jul 15 at 8:11
    
This answers all of my concerns, I will add to more recent work to the paper and attempt to get it published elsewhere. I will try to contact some of my coleagues asking them to inquire about this again, just in case. –  Volodya Jul 15 at 12:19
    
@xLeitix My experiments are little odd, so forgive me if it may sound naive. About the registration payment for internal conference in your answer, you meant it for both students and professors? –  user263485 Jul 15 at 18:21
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@user263485 I am not sure if I understand, but, yes, if any member of an institute/department is supposed to pay to participate in an internal event, I would be very wary. –  xLeitix Jul 15 at 18:49

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