Almost as often as invitations to submit manuscripts to predatory journals, I receive invitations to attend predatory meetings. You probably are receiving them as well. So what exactly are predatory meetings and how do you know whether a meeting is real or from some bogus organization?
Predatory meetings and conferences
Predatory meetings are organized by companies that have no interest in science but are just after your money. These companies, mostly located in Asia, make money from the registration fee and the hotel packages they sell. They will generate a conference website and put names of speakers on their website that will make them look trustworthy. Most of these speakers have however not agreed to speak at these conferences, but their photos and biosketches are pasted on the site anyway. Once you arrive at the meeting the promised reputable speakers are not there, the interesting sessions announced on the website are not taking place, there are very few conference attendants, and the overall organization is terrible. In some cases, once you arrive, you find out that there is no conference and no hotel has been booked, leaving you stranded. Especially inexperienced researchers and researchers from developing countries fall prey to these scams.
Because the number of predatory meetings currently outnumbers the legitimate scientific meetings you need to think and check before you register. Unfortunately, Beall´s list of Predatory Conferences has been discontinued (he was sued by one of the predatory conference organizers, not sure if that is the reason) and I have not found a replacement list yet. So below is a list of points to check.
How can you tell a predatory meeting from a legitimate one?
• Does the topic of the conference you are invited to have anything to do with your expertise?
• Does the website of the meeting have a contact email, telephone number, or address? Many predatory meetings do not or have free email accounts (yahoo, gmail, etc.).
• Look up the website of the professional society in your field, is the meeting announced on their website?
• Is it organized by a well-known institute or professional society?
• Can you easily find the actual location of the conference on the website?
• When you click on sample abstracts, do they have anything to do with the conference topic?
• Did you receive an invitation to be a speaker at the conference just weeks or a few months before the convention?
• Session topics that appear too generic, or not relevant, for the conference
• The wording of the website seems computer generated, generic, or not relevant.
• Have you been to previous meetings of this organization before?
• Many predatory conferences promise publication of your manuscript.
• Are the review or committee members named on the website? If so, are they actually working in this field?
• Is your abstract accepted very quickly after submitting it (within hours or days)? In that case, no committee actually reviews the abstracts. You can check the review process by submitting a bogus abstract, something Christoph Bartneck did for a nuclear physics meeting. His abstract was accepted within 3 hours…
Companies that organize predatory meetings:
- BIT Congress
- BIT Life Sciences
- Conference Series – see some of the reviews on trustpilot
- Event Series
- Life Science Events
- Meetings International
- OMICS International
- PSC Conference
- Pulsus Group
- Scientific Federation
- Scientific Serve
- Scientific Tree Group
Note: this is not a complete list!!
Please let me know if you spot any others