Category Archives: Education

Democratizing the Conversation for Greater Good: Social Media Usage at Academic Conferences

By Chris Morley, PhD, Ben Miller, PsyD,  and Mark Ryan, MD

Recently, there has been some discussion about whether the sharing of information presented during academic conferences via social media is appropriate, taking form in both peer-reviewed literature1–4 and in online blogs5 and social media, with a particular focus on Twitter.

Predictably, there are arguments presented against the sharing of material via social media that frequently center on the protection of copyrights, patents, intellectual property, or simply ideas-in-formation. Other arguments tend to fret over whether the sharing of a table, figure, or text, presented in a conference, may somehow represent prior publication that might interfere with the ability to later incorporate the same text into a formal journal publication. The crux of either argument tends to be that the presenter has shared information in one form, but that any sharing of that information beyond that context without the presenter’s express permission infringes upon intellectual property rights and/or future publication possibilities.

This antiquated view of information sharing is in need of disruption. Academia, of all, should learn a thing or two about the need to stay relevant in a day and age where people learn of their news from Twitter. It really puts things in perspective when one considers that most academicians wait 8–12 months (or longer!) for a peer-review process to be complete to allow them to share their findings. Conferences have long been one of the best ways to allow for academicians to share their findings with a broader audience while waiting on the laborious and lengthy peer-review process to complete.

However, should we take it as far as to tell people to not tweet what they hear or see at a conference?

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Notes on the Ethics of Reflection

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Sharon A. Dobie MCP, MD

It is important that we reflect and write about the work we do with patients. As we reflect, we create a narrative that sometimes becomes a written piece. We cannot really tell our stories without including the patients because it is actually our perception of the patients and their stories. And yet, we also have a covenant of confidentiality with our patients. Beyond what HIPAA says, we live within ethical considerations that must protect our patients.

What then can we do when we write and then want to share that writing with a friend, in a blog, or for a journal submission?

When writing about patients, we must respect these ethical considerations. In an evolving set of guidelines, the best practice remains to show what we write to the person about whom we wrote. That is what I encourage writers to do whenever possible. It can be scary and it is always fruitful. You might learn more about the story, about the person, about yourself, and the bias inherent in your viewpoint. That information might lead you to add to or edit your reflection. Then what you have is a co-creation, and your patients will feel valued and respected. Alternatively, these conversations may also clarify reasons to not publish the piece.

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“Dear Esteemed Author:” Spotting a Predatory Publisher in 10 Easy Steps

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Christopher Morley, PhD

If you read the title and had some idea what it meant, you have probably received a letter from a dubious-looking publisher, asking you to submit your work. Often, it comes with an appeal to your ego and probably left you with a sense of wondering if this was a real solicitation.

In short, that solicitation was probably not “real.” What does that mean? To use current parlance, it means that such an invitation probably came from a “predatory publisher.” Predatory publishers1-3 are called as much because they:

  • Charge the author to publish in their usually online-only journal.
  • Connect that charge to the publication decision (this is key).
  • Do only a cursory review, if any at all (and many can be easily “pranked” into accepting garbage)
  • Appear to be “legitimate” superficially but will often not pass muster with promotion and tenure committees, agencies or accrediting bodies, or other interested parties.

It should be noted that not all “author-pays” models are illegitimate or predatory, and I will comment on that point further down. However, those that are will leave your paper “published” in a non-reputable journal that will not get you or your department/program the credit it needs. It also cuts off other publishing options and may leave you with a very expensive bill that may or may not have been fully disclosed at the outset. At the end, predatory journals are generally viewed as “vanity presses,” with the added problem that they take efforts to look legitimate from an academic standpoint, and authors do not realize they have submitted their work to a vanity press until it is too late.

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