21 December 2009

This page outlines the differences between good conferences, bad conferences and academic scams.

This page outlines the differences between good conferences, bad
conferences and academic scams.


The purpose of conferences


Why would anyone organise a conference?

To promote the exchange of ideas in a particular area


  • To promote networking by researchers

  • To generate funds for a non-profit organisation

  • To focus attention on a particular area

  • To promote the organisers' reputations

  • To make a profit for the organisers


Why attend a conference?



  • To learn about the area

  • To interact with other researchers

  • To add a publication to your CV

  • To have a holiday somewhere nice

Most of the motivations above are generally altruistic, but the last two in
each list are not. Promoting the organisers' reputations and adding to your CV
are not necessarily bad; this is how academia works. However, these four
motivations result in a lot of low-quality work being published.


Quality: If your motivation for attending a confernce is to have a holiday or to add (uncritically) to your CV the quality of the conference won't matter much. In
contrast, if you attend for the other reasons quality is a major concern.
Imagine attending a conference and not making any useful contacts or coming
across any good ideas: you would not have not gained much!

You might still consider this conference worthwhile because you got a
publication out of it. After all, having publications may help impress your
supervisor or thesis examiners or potential employers. Publications will also
help your career as a scientist: you will be more likely to get funding, to be
promoted, to attract students, to be invited to give talks and so on. However,
quality is vital and there is a huge range in the quality of conferences and
journals. These days it's possible to get anything published. In fact, in the
famous SCIgen affair a
computer-generated nonsense paper was accepted by a conference. As a result,
publications in themselves mean little; what matters is their quality. In fact,
if you publish in low-quality conferences, or, worse, junk conferences, you will
find this hurts your reputation more that it helps.


Spam and junk conferences

A spam conference (or spamference) is one which is advertised with
junk mail (spam). It is genuinely difficult to reach a large number of
researchers in a particular area to advertise a conference, and some organisers
of legitimate conferences are tempted into using junk mail. These conferences
tend, however, to be lower quality ones, or new (or one-off) events which need
to boost their attendence in this way. Well-established, high-quality
conferences are well-known in their area and don't need to resort to junk mail.
These are the conferences which count most on your CV.

The conferences which send the most junk mail tend to be junk conferences,
which have little or no academic value and are only run to make a profit for the
oraganisers. Some researchers participate to get a free holiday and a
publication but others participate in good faith, not realising the nature of
the event. The point of this page is to ensure that you are not one of hem.


Where the money goes

Most conferences charge a fee for attendance which is put toward the cost of
running the event. Some events also raise money for a non-profit organisation
with which they are affiliated. The Association for the Advancement of
Artificial Intelligence is an example of such an organisation, and it is a
legitimate one, although I don't know whether fees from their conferences
contribute to the association.

Some conferences, especially larger ones, subcontract some of the
non-academic organisational work. Many conferences, however, are organised
entirely by volunteers, although there may be concessions to the main organisers
such as free registration. Invited speakers generally get free registration, a
contribution toward travel costs, and possibly an honorarium (a small payment).
The details of these arrangements are not usually publicised and there is the
potential for dubious use of funds, but as each incarnation of a particular
conference series is generally organised by different people each year it is
difficult for misuse of funds to persist.

Although I see no reason why for-profit conferences cannot be of good quality
there are a number of junk conferences which are run solely for profit, and
where the quality of work is given little or no consideration.


Warning signs


Here are some warning signs but note that bona fide conferences may show some of
these warning signs; in particular many reputable conferences are held in nice
places.


  • The conference is advertised using spam

  • The conference has the same chair every year. (Bona fide conferences may
    have the same people on an executive committee for many years, but probably
    not the same chair.)

  • The call for papers emphasises repeatedly that it is a "reputable"
    conference with many "famous experts"

  • The call for papers, and subject of the conference, is very general

  • The chair has chaired dozens of other conferences but probably has few
    good publications and does not work at a reputable institution

  • The conference is in a very nice place

  • You are invited by a stranger to organise a special session, or to
    undertake some other activity for the conference which would normally
    require some stature in the area, when you in fact do not have this stature.
    For example if you are a PhD student it's unlikely you will be asked by a
    stranger to take a high-profile role. Having said that, invitations to serve
    on a programme committee are not that uncommon or that high-profile, and
    advertising for special session proposals is fine as long as they're not
    automatically accepted.
  • http://fakeconferences.blogspot.com/

Open access journal scams

Recently open-access journals
have begun to appear. These journals provide free access to readers on the web
and charge authors to publish. This is a big improvement over the traditional
model of subscribing to journals since it makes results freely available to all.
However, it allows for a new type of scam.

In August 2008 I was invited to join the editorial board of a journal, which
is normally quite an honour. I work in the area of the journal but didn't
recognise the editor and decided to check him out on the web before replying. It
soon turned out this was an open access journal scam, which was new to me. The
"publisher" was in fact a single individual at a private address who was
attempting to recruit academics to serve on his various editorial boards in an
attempt to make them look legitimate and so attract others to the editorial
boards and to submit papers. This is what a major publisher does when setting up
a new journal, but a major publisher has the resources to do this properly
(remember the section on quality!). This individual appeared to be working on
his own and apparently is not affiliated with any insitution and doesn't even
have a degree. This is something like trying to pass yourself off as a doctor
without having gone to medical school.


See also: http://academic-spam.blogspot.com/

07 December 2009

Nagib Callaos and his fake conferences are again in front of us

If you do not know who is Nagib Callaos, put this name into Google

Google: [ Nagib Callaos ]

or

Google: [Nagib Callaos fake conferences ]



Now, Nagib Callaos sent us again email for his bogus conferences



 


 


Announcement: KGCM 2010 will be held in two parts at two different times

=======================================================

The 4th International Conference on Knowledge Generation, Communication and
Management: KGCM 2010 will be held in two independent parts at two different
times: SPRING: April 6-9, 2010 and SUMMER: June 29-July 2, 2010; in Orlando,
Florida, USA

=======================================================

1. The SPRING event (http://www.2010iiisconferences.org/KGCMa)
will be held in the context of The International Multi-Conference on Complexity,
Informatics and Cybernetics: IMCIC 2010 (http://www.2010iiisconferences.org/IMCIC)



Deadlines: Submissions, January 6th; notifications, January 27th; camera-ready,
March 3rd; 2010

=======================================================

2. The SUMMER event (http://www.2010iiisconferences.org/KGCM)
will be held in the context of the The 14th World Multi-Conference on Systemics,
Cybernetics and Informatics: WMSCI 2010 (http://www.2010iiisconferences.org/WMSCI)



Deadlines: Submissions, January 7th; notifications, February 16th; camera-ready,
May 26th; 2010

=======================================================

Please, consider contributing to any of these two events and distributing this
Call for Papers among your colleagues.



Submissions for Face-to-Face or for Virtual Participation are both accepted.
Both kinds of submissions will have the same reviewing process and the accepted
papers will be included in the same proceedings.



Pre-Conference and Post-conference Virtual sessions (via electronic forums) will
be held for each session included in the conference program, so that sessions
papers can be read before the conference, and authors presenting at the same
session can interact during one week before and after the conference. Authors
can also participate in peer-to-peer reviewing in virtual sessions.



All Submitted papers/abstracts will go through three reviewing processes: (1)
double-blind (at least three reviewers), (2) non-blind, and (3) participative
peer reviews. These three kinds of review will support the selection process of
those papers/abstracts that will be accepted for their presentation at the
conference, as well as those to be selected for their publication in JSCI
Journal.



Authors of accepted papers who registered in the conference can have access to
the evaluations and possible feedback provided by the reviewers who recommended
the acceptance of their papers/abstracts, so they can accordingly improve the
final version of their papers. Non-registered authors will not have access to
the reviews of their respective submissions.



Registration fees of an effective invited session organizer will be waived
according to the policy described in the web page  (click on 'Invited Session',
then on 'Benefits for the Organizers of Invited Sessions'), where you can get
information about the ten benefits for an invited session organizer. For Invited
Sessions Proposals, please visit the conference web site, and go to the menu
option  and then to the menu sup-option



Authors of the best 10%-20% of the papers presented at the conference (included
those virtually presented) will be invited to adapt their papers for their
publication in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics.



Best regards,



Spring KGCM 2010 and Summer KGCM 2010 Organizing Committees

03 December 2009

Introductory Post

It's that time of year again. Suddenly, your inbox is filled with letters requesting that you submit a paper to the "The 14th World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics: WMSCI 2010" or "WESSEX INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY" or "The International Multi-Conference on Engineering and Technological Innovation: IMETI 2009", or the "IEEE Conference on Computational Complexity (that published many garbage papers last year)

Never heard of any of this because you are a philosopher getting the emails, too? Don't worry, serious computer scientists don't usually go to the conferences, although people do easily get impressed by all the names and submit a paper.

Strangely enough, all papers are accepted, as long as you have paid your registration fee. You don't actually have to come and give the paper, although the family will surely love following you to Orlando. The "Acceptance Policy" is spelled out in pseudo-scientific detail on the conference site. I paraphrase: We accept everything, because there might happen to be a good paper in there, and because a reviewer might plagiarize a paper they reject.

This conference accepted a paper back in 2005 that had been generated by a computer programmed by some MIT students, SCIgen. A nice blog discussion of that and the conference is found here. There was quite a row about this back in 2005, as one must question how scientific a conference is that accepts random (albeit well-worded) garbage and is willing to publish it. It is said that more than 1500 papers are accepted (at $ a pop that isn't chicken feed), and the "majority" are actually presented. That is not what a real conference is about, where you meet and discuss with peers working in similar areas.

How many of these thousands of papers ever get cited? That is perhaps an indication of how good the papers really are. I just searched the ACM Digital Library. There are 19 (nineteen) citations of the WMSCI conference. There have been 12 such conferences taken place.

That's not too many, so I went through the references for all 19 papers. Eleven of these papers were written by at least one of the authors of a WMSCI-published paper, so over half are self-citations. One paper is Peter G. Neumann's note of the acceptance of the fake paper in his "Risks to the Public" column in Software Engineering Notes.

As an aside, there's a fascinating paper on bibliometrics for discovering low-quality conferences published in 2007: Measuring conference quality by mining program committee characteristics.

Glancing down the lineup of invited speakers can cause quite some hilarity: Karl H. Müller, is given at CCCT2008 as being with the "University of Ljubljana (Austria)". I don't think that Austria has acutally annexed Slovenia, and a search of their web site turns up Mr. Müller as having given a talk therea few years back, but he is not listed as a teacher. He lists himself in his CV on the pages of his institute as teaching at any number of Austrian schools, but strangely, they don't list him.

Dr. Subhas C Misra is listed for this conference as being a visiting Scientist at Harvard, for another conference as being a visiting scientist at State University of New York. At another conference he is listed as the "NSERCPDF Scientist, Harvard University", but I find no mention of this program outside of his CV. Harvard includes CVs of its visiting scientists on its home page, there is no mention of Misra.

Who are these guys?

It seems that anyone can make up a fancy institute name and make themselves director, declare themselves teachers at University X (and may actually have taught there a semester or so before being put out on their ear), make up papers and fancy conferences and rush around finding themselves soooo important - but this has nothing to do with science! They can even pretend to be from some institution. Most are so large, no one can be sure that they are not actually from that place.

What can be done to stop this pseudo-science? Or do we just ignore them, but watch young people and unsuspecting colleagues pour departmental travel money into attending these conferences to present their papers? We do get a publication point out of it.....

In this blog, you will find many alerts for junk conferences i.e. conferences that you must not go. Conferences (like the IEEE Conference on Computational Complexity or the Conferences of Wessex Institute of Technology or the Nagib Callaos Conferences) that pollute our mailbox with much Spam every day.
A very good effort http://iaria-highsci.blogspot.com gave us the idea to creat our own blog.
Not to mention of course, the hundred fake conferences of IARIA, HIGHSCI, IASTED that pollute our academic world with junk or "almost" junk "conferences.
But, we will have all the academic winter 2009-2010 with many posts informing you this unacceptable situation where the first teacher was the IEEE and the IEEE Sponsored Events of IARIA, IIISCI (Nagib Callaos), WESSEX Institute of Technology and the other fruits of the academic basket!

Thanks

Have a nice winter!

Similar Blogs

http://academic-spam.blogspot.com

http://bogusconferences.blogspot.com

http://netdriver.blogspot.com