Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Omics Group, ACM, BIT Life Sciences, SIAM, Eureka Science, Eureka Conference, IEEE, IADIS, Nagib Callaos, IARIA are the STARS of the Fake, deceptive, Science Journals and Conferences.

Omics Group, ACM, BIT Life Sciences,  SIAM, Eureka Science, Eureka Conference, IEEE,  IADIS, Nagib Callaos, IARIA are the STARS of the Fake, deceptive, Science Journals and Conferences.

“Fake, deceptive, Science Journals and Conferences”  describes conferences and journals whose organizers and publishers have no background of involvement with actual scientific work or institutions; they are parasitic, in it only for the money. The racket is very successful because many researchers find themselves fooled, unable to distinguish fake from genuine — because the purpose of “genuine” as well as “fake” is status-enhancement and profit-making rather than truth-seeking and intellectual intercourse.

Consider conferences. On several counts, the parasitic ones are not readily distinguishable from traditional mainstream conferences, certainly not at first sight. Receiving an announcement or invitation to attend, one would first look at who is on the organizing committee, and if they or the keynote speakers are prominent senior researchers, one presumes that this is a regular scientific conference. But the fake conferences could pass muster on those counts. Spend a bit of time checking names at the parasitic conferences organized by Omics Group (“Accelerating Scientific Discovery”), BIT Life Sciences (“Your Think Tank”), or Eureka Science  or Eureka Conference. You find some very well known names among the speakers and committee members, including quite a few Nobel Laureates: Karl Barry Sharpless,   Robert Huber, Jean-Marie Lehn, Hartmut Michel, Ferid Murad, Avram Hershko, Luc Montagnier, Richard J. Roberts, Rulf M. Zinkernagel.

Some of the junk conferences have registration fees of several hundred dollars ($600-$700 for Academic Journals & Conferences), not out of line with “genuine” conferences like those of the International AIDS Society whose 2013 get-together lists registration fees  of $440 and $680 for middle/low and high-income countries respectively. The for-profit BIT’s conferences are a bit more pricey, for example $1400 for speakers and $1500 for others,  and Eureka Conferences also have rather high fees of $990 for academics and $1690 for speakers from corporations. These higher fees are indeed clues to the nature of these conferences, and what’s really suspicious with Eureka is to see the same fees listed for “Invited Speakers”; I’ve never elsewhere experienced registration fees being charged to invited speakers, typically all their other expenses are also borne by the conference. Nevertheless, just the high registration fees are unlikely to outweigh the validating presence of Nobel Prize winners

Why do senior, distinguished people including Nobel Laureates accept invitations from these for-profit entities? I suppose they ask themselves, “Why not spend a bit of time in an interesting place like Dubai, or an enjoyable city like Boston?” After all, no matter how high the registration fees, it all comes free from one’s grants even if it doesn’t come from the conference organizers.
Then too, if you’ve had a distinguished career, you owe it to the next generations to let them hear you and meet you. On the other hand, if you’re on the way up — which entails having grant funds to pay for conference junkets — then associating with those VIPs can only help.

That academics have become accustomed to perpetual global junketing was noted several decades ago already by David Lodge in Small World: An Academic Romance, a novel first published in 1984 and remaining so pertinent that it was brought back into print in 1995 and remains up-to-date even now.

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