Association meetings face threat of predatory conferences

Predatory conferences – illegitimate conferences created purely for profit and feed off eager academicians and PhD students looking for short cuts to get their works published or to speak at international conferences – are jeopardising attendance and and performance of legitimate ones.

This warning came from Noor Ahmad Hamid, regional director Asia Pacific of ICCA, who spoke at the recent Union of International Associations (UIA) Associations Round Table Asia-Pacific 2018 in Kuala Lumpur.

Noor: beware of predatory conferences

Noor explained that predatory conferences would naturally present poor quality content, the fact masked by glossy websites that imitate the real thing, thus fooling sincere delegates who would pay for registration fees.

Noor identify examples of such conferences in his presentation, but had asked for attendees to refrain from taking the information beyond the room.

While ICCA had come across various “questionable conferences” by dubious organisers and had alerted its members, Noor noted that there is no authoritative body to monitor predatory conferences and therefore data is lacking to indicate how extensive their impact is.

Offering tips on identifying predatory conferences, Noor said to look out for missing contact information or organisers that have scheduled several conferences on different fields of expertise on the same day but at different locations.

Check if conferences are legitimate by looking for missing event information

Speaking to TTGmice after the presentation, Jeffers Miruka, president of the African Society of Association Executives, shared an example of a predatory agriculture conference in July this year. It had a website very similar to the legitimate conference but used a different URL and venue. Registration fees were also collected from interested parties.

“The minute the organisers knew that they had been discovered, they shut down their operations. However, organisers of the legitimate conference were (affected). The turn-out at their conference was poor as damage had already been done,” Miruka elaborated.

He said demand was fuelled by academicians who were desperate and were willing to pay money to have their scientific papers approved with guaranteed publication in a short frame of time in order to qualify for further academic funding. In the case of PhD students, attending a conference in their area of expertise or having their research published in a journal would be a step closer towards getting their doctorate.

Miruka added that such conferences have poor quality presentations and those who pay to attend such conferences in order to gain knowledge end up disappointed.

Cyril Ritchie, UIA president, shared that he had received invitations to attend UN Conferences in the past but the email return addresses were never an official one.

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