Sunday, July 17, 2011

Desperate to present a paper? We can help! Go to BogusConference.Com

Every time I get one of these email solicitations for a bogus conference I vow to blog about it. I just received this message:
Call for Papers from ICSSS 2011

Considering your research in related areas, we cordially invite you to submit a paper to ICSSS 2011.

2011 International Conference on Social Sciences and Society (ICSSS 2011) will be held in October 14-15, 2011 in Shanghai, China.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: economics, management, sociology, education science, linguistics, art theory, political science and other humanities and social sciences.

The submission system is open.
Paper Submission DueAugust 10, 2011(Extended)
Contact Email:
Tel: + (86) 186 2787 2331

Okay, what is wrong with this message? (This is like one of those kids games: can you spot five things wrong with this picture?)
  1. The theme is way too braod to be of any intellectual value at all.
  2. You've never heard of this conference or organization.
  3. You've never heard of any of the people on the organizing committee.
  4. The registration fee is $1,400. That's right, $1,400. Check the website.
  5. The "Call for Papers" is a long list of disciplines (including archaeology!), many of which have nothing to do with one another.
Let's look a bit deeper. I googled one of the organizers, Gary Lee, of the "Information Engineering Institute." In about three minutes of searching, I found him listed as an organizer  for these conferences:
  • 2011 International Conference on Social Sciences and Society (ICSSS 2011)
  • 2012 International Conference on Electronics, Information and Communication Engineering (EIEC 2012) 
  • 2011 2nd International Conference of Electrical and Electronics Engineering
  • 2011 International Conference on Future Information Engineering (ICFIE 2011 - Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2011 International Conference on Mechanical Engineering and Technology (ICMET 2011) 
If you haven't guessed yet, the goal of these conferences is to make money off students and professionals
who are desperate to present papers. A few years ago, some MIT students submitted some fake papers to one of these bogus conferences. The text was complete gibberish (computer generated blather), yet the papers were accepted. Shades of Alan Sokal.

I wonder what would happen if someone submitted an abstract for the SAA or AIA meetings that was gibberish. A good way to do this would involve the Postmodern Text Generator. Click on the link, and then refresh the site for a new text. I have served as Program Chair for the SAA meetings, and I can't honestly say whether we would have rejected a nonsense abstract or not. Hmmmmmmm...........


Anonymous said...

Are there fields with so few conferences that people are desperate to present papers? It seems like I hear of some sort of (real) archaeology conference going on somewhere at least every month or two, I hadn't realized other fields might be that different. I wonder how people can be both that desperate and that well-funded? It seems incredibly unlikely, yet obviously it works often enough to be worthwhile for the "organizers."

Anonymous said...

Damn! I was hoping to give a paper on the humanistic discourse surrounding the socio-artistic management of politico-economic pedagogy. Well, at least there is still the Journal of Social Archaeology...