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Predatory Publishing

Predatory Conferences

With the rise of predatory behavior in the publishing industry, many predatory publishers have expanded their business models to make additional profits from fake conferences.

At a glance, these predatory conferences can seem to be legitimate events. However, be aware that these conferences are actually organized by revenue generating companies who exploit presenters and attendees by "collecting" conference registration fees. Many academics arrive at these conferences to discover that there are very few attendees, a limited number of actual presenters, or that multiple conferences covering a wide range of topics are combined into a single conference. Some predatory conferences don't even attempt to organize an actual conference.

Evaluating the Legitimacy of Conferences

If you are unsure about a conference's legitimacy, you can ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Conference Solicitation
    • ​Did you receive an invitation to present or attend the conference via email? Did the email have poor grammar, incorrect spelling, or awkward language? 
    • Was the invitation filled with flattery? Are you referred to as a "prominent," "eminent," or "world-class scholar"?
  • Aim & Scope
    • ​Are the conference topics focused on your specific field? Are the aims and scope too broad?
    • Are there generic or broad terms such as "to promote scientific innovation" used in describing the purpose of the conference?
  • Conference Organizers and Sponsorship
    • Is the conference being sponsored by a university or a research institution? Are they advertising the conference on their official university or research institution website?  
    • Is the conference sponsored by a professional organization or association? If so, does the organization or association website link to the conference website? 
    • Is the conference supported by unfamiliar open-access journals?
    • Do you recognize the people on the advisory boards or the conference organizing committees? Did these people actually agree to serve in this capacity? 
  • Agenda & Editorial Committee
    • Are the session topics relevant to your field?
    • Are you familiar with the keynote speakers?
    • Is the Editorial Committee listed on the conference website? Have you heard of the Editorial Committee members before?
  • Conference Location and Frequency
    • Is the same conference offered numerous times a year in a variety of different cities?
  • Website
    • Does the website look professional and reputable? Does it have good spelling and grammar?
    • ​Is the conference website unclear or misleading?
    • Are the themes current for your field?
    • Are the conference proceedings available from previous years? If so, are the sessions, papers, and materials what you expect from a professional conference?
    • Is there contact information available (including e-mail, phone, and physical address)? Be wary of websites that only provide a web form for inquires and questions.  
    • Is the conference well known in your field? 
    • Have your colleagues heard of or attended this conference? 
    • Did the conference papers get published in predatory journals? Do committee organizers, keynote speakers, or presenters have connections with predatory journals?
  • Conference Fees
    • Are the conference registration fees similar to other conferences? Are the fees higher than other conferences?
    • Do presenters pay more than attendees?

Conference Evaluation Resources