Almost as often as invitations to submit manuscripts to predatory journals, I receive invitations to attend predatory meetings, and you probably receive them as well. So what exactly are predatory meetings, and how do you know whether a meeting is real or organized by 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, primarily located in India, make money from the registration fee and the hotel packages they sell. They generate a conference website and put names of speakers on their website, which will make them look trustworthy. However, most of these speakers have not agreed to speak at these conferences, but their photos and biosketches are posted 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 few conference attendants, and the overall organization is terrible. In some cases, once you arrive, you find out that there is no conference at all and no hotel has been booked, leaving you stranded. Especially inexperienced researchers fall prey to these scams.
Because predatory meetings currently outnumber legitimate scientific meetings, you need to think and check before registering. 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?
- The topic of the conference you are invited to has little to do with your expertise
- The website of the meeting lacks a contact email, telephone number, or address. Or if an email address is posted it is a free email account (yahoo, gmail, etc.)
- The meeting is not announced on the website of the professional society in your field
- The meeting is not organized by a well-known institute or professional society
- It is difficult to find the actual location of the conference on the website
- When you click on sample abstracts, they have nothing to do with the conference topic
- You received an invitation to be a speaker at the conference just weeks or a few months before the convention
- The session topics appear to be too generic or not relevant to the conference
- The website’s wording appears AI generated, generic, or irrelevant
- You and your colleagues have not been to previous meetings by this organization before
- They promise publication of your manuscript
- Multiple conferences on entirely unrelated topics are organized at the same time at the same place?
- If review or committee members are named on the website, check whether these people are actually working in your field
- If your abstract is accepted quickly after submission (within hours or days) no committee is actually reviewing the abstracts. You can check the review process by submitting a bogus abstract, something Christoph Bartneck did for a nuclear physics meeting, and his abstract was accepted within 3 hours…
For further information about predatory conferences you may want to read this systematic review from 2022.
Companies that organize predatory meetings:
- Allied Academies – see a.o. here for a report on their fraudulent meetings
- Archives of Applied Medicine -they organize `Global conferences` on every subject -their website: conferences.aoamj.org
- Auragen Group
- Biocore Conferences
- BIT Congress – see some of the reviews on trustpilot
- BIT Life Sciences
- Clerisy Conferences
- Coalesce Research Group / Coalesce Conferences
- Conference Era (a.o. WCBBS)
- Conference Series – see some of the reviews on trustpilot
- Event Series
- Gavin Conferences
- Inovine Conferences
- International Organization of Educators and Researchers Inc (IOER)
- International Society for Engineers and Researchers (ISER)
- Life Science Events
- Longdom Conferences – read Steffi Friedrichs’s comment on ResearchGate
- Magnus Group
- Meetings International
- Moment Era
- mScholar Conferences
- OLC International
- OMICS International
- Outlook Conferences
- Pride Conferences
- PSC Conference
- Pulsus Group
- Scholars Conferences / Scholars International
- Scientific Cognizance
- Scientific Federation
- Scientific Meditech
- Scientific Serve
- Scientific Tree Group
- World Education Day (at: worldeduday.org)
- World Research Forum for Engineers and Researchers (WRFER)
Note: this is not a complete list!!
Please let me know if you spot any others