The alarming rise of predatory conferences in science (not just predatory publishers)

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EXCERPTS: When researchers attend a conference or cite a paper, they do so with confidence that these events and publications are operated in good faith and have undergone a trusted review process to ensure, as much as possible, that the content they distribute is sound. [...] These expectations and assumptions about the legitimacy of publications and events organized by well-intentioned, competent groups with genuine interest in advancing science were long safe.

However, predatory journals began to appear in the early 2000s and have become more common over the past decade, signaling that there are unscrupulous organizations willing to push scientific integrity aside for the sake of profit. These journals offer researchers easy access to publishing, for a fee, while dismissing typical quality controls like rigorous peer review or checks for plagiarism.

More recently, there has been an increase in the occurrence of similarly predatory (or “fake”) conferences across numerous scientific disciplines, including in the Earth and space sciences. Unfortunately, it is no longer safe to assume that a conference is genuine without doing proper background research into its organizers and sponsors.

[...] For most academics, attending scholarly conferences is a conventional part of advancing one’s research and growing one’s career. ... In short, such meetings are organized to bring together scholars whose work overlaps and to create an environment for idea-sharing and research development. This is not the case when it comes to fake conferences, which unfortunately often look and sound superficially like standard academic conferences. Their websites boast of renowned speakers, and they advertise events hosted at reputable venues and backed by high-profile sponsors.

Although the term “fake” may suggest that these are not real events, they actually do take place. However, they are typically not nearly as well organized as advertised, nor does their content live up to the billing. Participants often find ill-attended events that lack the prestigious keynote speakers advertised and have few learning or networking opportunities.

Predatory academic conferences are more common than you may think. Even as of 2017, there were reportedly more such conferences available to scientific researchers than there were genuine events held by scholarly groups that follow standard peer review processes.

[...] Predatory conferences are big business, organized with the primary goal of profit generation. In particular, they are set up to scam people out of registration and publishing fees, and as a result, organizers are known to accept every proposed submission regardless of merit, as long as it is accompanied by a registration fee. The conferences thus lack the scientific and editorial integrity required of a legitimate academic meeting.

These events are being organized mostly by a relatively small number of large, international organizations, although smaller companies have recently entered the industry...

Extrapolating from its ]recent survey results, the IAP estimated that at least 1 million researchers globally have fallen prey to predatory journals and conferences, and that these activities have wasted billions of dollars in research funding—for example, on time and materials spent on research published in predatory journals as well as on registration and travel expenses to attend predatory conferences. The IAP report also noted that significant reputational damage and emotional stress for scientists sometimes accompany the realization that they’ve been “duped or scammed.”

While researchers at all career levels are susceptible to falling prey to these predatory practices, early-career academics may be particularly at risk, lured by tempting opportunities to gain experience presenting their work and build their resumes and careers amid competitive “publish or perish” environments. These researchers, who are often struggling to find funding, waste their scarce and hard-earned money on expenses related to attending or presenting at a fake conference... (MORE - missing details)

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