Academics Duped into Bogus Technical Conferences

An ECS editor recently shared a peculiar, but not uncommon, experience in the world of publication. He and a colleague were chatting, when she began to share details of a recent experience she had. She had been invited to speak at an international conference in Europe. Before she accepted, she looked at the plenary speaker, who was advertised extensively, and was a Novel Laureate. She was told the registration fee of $800 and travel expenses would not be covered, however, after reviewing the event, she decided to accept. When she arrived, she soon realized the only “name” person at the meeting was the Nobel Laureate and attendance was very low.

According to Physics Today, it’s not unusual for speakers invited to give keynote addresses to be tricked for the organizer’s profit.

Jim De Yoreo, a chief scientist for materials science in the physical and computational sciences directorate at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, spoke of described his experience with a phony conference scheme, when he was asked to speak at a conference in Germany.

“It was clear that first morning I was there that there were virtually no students,” he says. “I had the feeling that it was little more than a money-making scheme.”

Reporters and curious researchers found that conference organizers sent emails indiscriminately, including to academics with no expertise in a particular meeting’s topic, and accepted virtually anything, including a paper written using the Apple iOS autocomplete feature. Mistakes like these and other misleading information are telltale signs of conferences with alternate motives.

Read more on predatory conferences and what the Federal Trade Commission is doing about it.

One way to avoid bogus conferences is to attend those with an already well-established reputation. Organizations like ECS have been around since 1902 and offer a long history of credibility. ECS offers biannual meetings, with the ECS and SMEQ Joint International Meeting coming up September 30–October 4, 2018, in Cancun, Mexico. Author and presenter’s information, events, the program, and more, can all be found online.

We hope to see you there!


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