Publishing, Perishing and Scamming

The Age reports: South African dietician alleges Melbourne science conference a fake.

South African dietician Elizabeth Fourie is among researchers and health practitioners who believe they have been duped into paying hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of dollars, for a bogus medical conference run by a company called Conference Series, an affiliate of India-based online publishing empire OMICS Group.


 Maybe Elizabeth Fourie should have realised that getting rapid acceptance of the paper at a conference where she could visit her sister was probably too good to be true

Attendees claimed nearly half of the conference speakers were absent, creating hours-long gaps in the conference. The research was not properly scrutinised, and some papers bore little relevance to the conference’s theme, they said.

Information about this particular company has been around for some time. This article appeared at the end of last year.

Kevin Carey writing in the New York Times A Peek Inside the Strange World of Fake Academia claims that This year the Federal Trade Commission formally charged OMICS with “deceiving academics and researchers about the nature of its publications and hiding publication fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.”

There are numerous lesser manifestations and examples of the insidious creep this kind of activity.

Even at the most prestigious of conferences, there are signs of this type of decline in standards.

It comes in the form of engaging  engaging in activities only for the sake of the contribution they make to one’s CV.

It’s not uncommon for “prestigious academics” to present papers at conferences but only to present their own paper and not attend for more than the half-hour takes it to make that presentation. This effectively denies their lesser colleagues the opportunity to interact with them and removes one of the main reasons for people attending conferences:  namely interaction with colleagues.

Again, possible to submit a conference paper which will be published in the conference proceedings, hence providing the academic with a “refereed” publication, but to do so without presenting the paper at the conference.

Normally, this will involve registering for the conference and paying the conference registration fee. The ultimate extension of this is that everybody opts for this and nobody attends a conference at all. This spares the conference organisers the expense of running the conference and all conference registrations turn into profit.

One imagines that this is the acme of the OMICS Group business model.


There are four things driving this particular phenomenon.

The first is the need for academics to publish for promotion and for tenure.

The second is the willingness of unscrupulous academics to set up conferences and journals which are essentially scams and which do not use any form of rigour  in the reviewing process.

The third is the total failure of selection panels in academic institutions to read the publications of applicants for positions but to rely merely on their CVs and the list of publications many of which will have in published in journals which appear to have prestigious titles but in fact are of very dubious standing.

The fourth is the preparedness of academics to lend their names to the editorial panels of journals, whose credentials and standing they do not scrutinised, simply to be able to pad out their own CV with what appear to be significant and substantial appointments.

it is unfortunate fact of life, that the commodification of education is now creeping its way into the hallowed halls of academia.





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