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January 2, 2014
It Just So Happens That I Have A Conference Right Here
Here's a good addition to the "bogus conferences" file. The folks at Retraction Watch have the story of Navin Kabra, an Indian engineer who's blowing the whistle on a racket peculiar to that country.
There are apparently many universities in India that have a requirement that everyone attaining a certain degree has to have their work accepted at an "international conference". So. . .a number of "international conference" organizers have stepped up to fill that market niche, with hefty registration fees and talk of rigorous peer review and high standards. They do nothing of the kind, of course. People pay their cash, pay their own way to the conference, and get to present to a scattered audience of other people who've done the same thing. No one else shows up - why would anyone?
So Kabra sent them a manuscript full of gibberish and stretches of dialog from "My Cousin Vinny", and (you guessed it), the thing passed the brutal review process as soon as the cash appeared. After revealing his hoax, the paper seems to have been taken down from the conference web site, but up until then, it was available for interested scholars, or people interested in Joe Pesci and/or Marisa Tomei. As long as the universities pretend that everyone coming through their programs has done work that's fit to present, there will be people there who will pretend to hold conferences for them. The real losers are the students, many of whom apparently think that these are real meetings. How do you recognize the real thing if all you've ever been exposed to are the scams?
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