Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bogus or not- You decide

SO, is TMFCS08 bogus or not? First off, Bogus to me is not a matter of quality There are some unrefereed conferences I go to that I enjoy and get something out of. They also have LOW registration fees. Bogus means that they are putting it on soley to make money and are offering nothing intellectual in return. Of course, if enough good people goto a bogus conference then they will talk to each other, so maybe it is worth it. But it depends on the price.

I emailed Mike Sipser. Below is his response, which includes a response from the conference organizers. (I have edited it down a bit but have not changed the content. I also have one clarifying remark.)

Hi Bill, I'm sending you the response from one of the conference organizers. From what they say this practice occurs at other conferences. I believe the conference is a real one, though I don't directly know the primary individuals involved. My personal role has been minor, just answering a few emails and giving a little advice. -- Mike


From: Bhanu Prasad

Subject: Is TMFCS-08 a real conference?

This email is in response to your email sent to Prof. Sipser. Prof. Sipser asked me to look into this. Hence I am responding.

I learned that you submitted two papers and requested the conference people to conduct the review fast. They (conference people) have informed you the acceptance, along with the review results as soon as they received from the reviewers. Then you asked them to send the invoice for payment of fee using PayPal. They have sent it. Then you asked if the fee is for both the papers or for one paper. They informed that the fee is for one paper but they reduced the fee for the 2nd paper by 30%.

For your information, I am aware of several conferences where they do not even reduce the fee for the 2nd paper. See for example, http://conferences.computer.org/scc/2007/registr.html . They clearly indicated the following: "Each paper needs at least one FULL registration, before the camera-ready manuscript can be included in the proceedings. There is no student rate for the author who is responsible for registration for his/her published paper. If you have more than one accepted paper, you need to register for each one individually. There is no discount if you have two or more papers accepted."

For your information, it is a real conference (because the people in that are real and I was there in 2007 conference, and it will have proceedings, etc.).

I don't think a fake conference will become real just because they collect one fee for both the papers.

Best regards, Bhanu Prasad, Organizing committee


  1. If you have to ask whether a conference is bogus or not, doesn't this automatically mean the conference is not worth it? After all, there is no point is getting your work published in marginally-OK venues: you certainly don't get any credit for it, and if you just want to put the paper out somewhere, you can use journals, or even arXiv / ECCC.

  2. Nope, still bogus.

    First, the benchmark applied for "real conference" is merely "real people really there in a real place". My birthday party is not a real conference, even if I charge a $500 entrance fee and publish a proceedings. (The Forty-Second Annual International Multi-symposium on Cake Cutting, Randomized Partial-Information Games, and Hangover Survival?)

    Second, having a better registration fee policy than some IEEE conference does not mean that your conference isn't bogus. IEEE sponsors some really crappy conferences.

  3. Mip has a damn good point. Why did you ever submit two papers there in the first place?

  4. Bill, which unrefereed conferences do you regularly go to and enjoy?

  5. I didn't submit to the
    conference- I never even
    heard of it until I got
    the email asking about it.

    I regularly go to
    the Southeastern International Conference on
    Combinatorics, Graph Theory,
    and Computing. They have
    great guest speakers
    (Erdos used to be one
    of them regularly,
    Babai has spoken there,
    as has Conway) and a low
    registration fee.
    Also- unrefereed is
    underated- sure, they
    won't be great results,
    but you can learn about
    fields you didn't know about. NOT a place to
    publish for your resume,
    but thats not why I go.

    Many Math conferences
    are also unrefereed,
    and have invited speakers
    that are good, and have
    low regitration fees.

  6. I have a question related to this:

    Some folks I worked with in the past published some of our work as a conference paper in WSEAS proceedings with my name on it. (I think they might not have known about junk conferences.)

    I plan on applying to grad schools next winter, and I have a decent number of nontrivial publications on my resume already. How might some people view it if I were to include the WSEAS paper? On the one hand, I'm afraid that it might be a turn-off. On the other hand, perhaps a resume (especially as part of a grad school application) should simply be a comprehensive chronicle of things?

  7. Nice question, Anonymous 6... I'd definitely leave it off if you're applying to the top schools.

  8. In response to Anon 6: I disagree with Anon 7. If you were applying for a faculty position then including bogus papers might make it look like you are trying to pad your CV, and/or that you can't distinguish real from bogus conferences.

    But applying for grad school I don't think people will fault you for not knowing the difference (or for having more senior co-authors who didn't care); since many applicants won't have any publications at all, I don't think it will hurt you to include anything you have published.

  9. Here's a different test for how real a conference is:

    Does anyone bother to register and attend who is not also an author or presenter at the conference?

    This, at least, is some measure of how non-authors value the conference.

    I wonder where TMFCS stacks up using this criterion?

    Also: For the prospective grad student wondering about what to write on their CV: Include it but show your savvy by segregating your work into different categories, say 'Refereed conference papers' and 'Non-refereed conference papers' (or partially-refereed, or whatever is appropriate for the conference in question.)

  10. What would happen if poor conferences and journals were to be eliminated?

    Would academics from poor institutions quit because they can't publish anything?

    Would it mean fewer opportunities for a university education for mediocre students?

  11. > Would academics from poor
    > institutions quit because they
    > can't publish anything?

    It doesn't have to be this way. Their institutions would just have to adjust their criteria (say, instead of looking for one bogus conference paper per year, look for one ECCC paper per year).

  12. Perhaps one can try this for the conference?

  13. I don't think a fake conference will become real just because they collect one fee for both the papers.

    So one of the organizers is implicitly saying that, since charging only one fee won't make their fake conference real, they might as well charge two?

    So, is TMFCS08 bogus or not?

    It's certainly bogus. When there's a conference on "theoretical and mathematical foundations of computer science" put on by an unknown organization charging high fees, with no apparent standards for acceptance beyond paying the fees, without seeming to have published any worthwhile papers in the past, and with a program committee that includes only one person I've ever heard of (Sipser), that looks bogus. When Sipser, who is a chair of the program committee, says his entire role is "answering a few emails and giving a little advice", that confirms the bogosity. They have little interest in Sipser except as a big name who can make their conference appear legitimate.

    Compare this with TAMC 2008. It's not an impressive conference, at least in terms of the quality of the accepted papers, but it's a very real and serious conference. They have real refereeing that leads to respectable papers being published, they have a program committee that includes a lot of well-known people, the people on the committee perform serious work, etc. A TAMC 2008 acceptance is not on the same level as a STOC 2008 acceptance, but it is still something to be proud of, while a TMFCS-08 acceptance appears to be meaningless.

    In case any students reading this comment are naive enough to submit to TMFCS-08, let me say that in my department, applying for a job with a TMFCS-08 paper on your CV will hurt your chances, even if you also have papers in excellent conferences. You'll look either clueless (with no idea what a decent venue for papers is) or dishonest (that you are trying to pad your CV with meaningless acceptances), and neither one reflects well on you. I'm sure the same is true at many other departments.

    Regarding the undergraduate with a paper in WSEAS, I don't think it will hurt your chances of being admitted to graduate school (undergraduates are allowed to be clueless), but it won't help. As a previous commenter suggested, I'd leave it off when applying to top places, just in case.

  14. One weird thing about TMFCS is their "reviewing" schedule. They promise a decision within a month of the deadline, which is really fast for theory. That's not unheard of (TAMC 2008 allows six weeks for review), but what's really weird is that they let you submit before the deadline and promise a decision within one month of submission, no matter how early that occurs. If you submit now, you'll get a decision a month before the submission deadline. Presumably they don't hold early submissions to a different standard: that would be extremely eccentric, and in fact unethical given that they haven't announced it. Most likely, their standards are so low that they can easily make decisions in isolation. My guess is that they try to filter out prank submissions and papers by cranks or obvious incompetents, but they publish everything that passes the prank/crank filter, as long as the author is willing to pay. They appear to be the conference equivalent of a vanity press.

  15. I do not agree with the anonymous people. Apparently, they have never sent a paper to W.S.E.A.S and they have never attend a W.S.E.A.S. congress.
    Because, if they had, they should know that the review process is strict.
    Anyway, maybe, they confuse them with other meetings. I was in a W.S.E.A.S.
    congress in Singapore some years ago and I helped them in the Secretariat Desk. I had access in the catalogue of the secretariat and I CAN CONFIRM YOU that their Statistics that you can find on their web site (approximately for every 10 papers, only 4 are approved and 6 are rejected) is VALID, TRUE.
    I have seen the catalogue (list) myself and I can confirm it.
    Note, that 40% was the accepted papers (not the papers that paid registration). The papers that had paid registration was the 70% of the 40%.
    Now, I am in UK where I am Visiting Scholar and I continue publishing in this organization, because they are sincere and very honest. They make a great work and they are not stupid to accept something bad to spoil their name. Of course, they make review which is very strict.
    Do not think that they are stupid....

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell you the TRUTH,
    because all the other "anonymous" comments are from people that they did not know anything.
    Thank you for hosting my post

  16. I had access in the catalogue of the secretariat and I CAN CONFIRM YOU that their Statistics that you can find on their web site (approximately for every 10 papers, only 4 are approved and 6 are rejected) is VALID, TRUE.

    Assuming that you are telling the truth to us, and that they were telling the truth to you, the statement is still meaningless. Who on earth submits a paper there? If 60% of the papers come from obvious cranks and incompetents, or are wildly off-topic or ridiculous, or are intended as jokes (perhaps generated using SCIGen), it means nothing. Acceptance rates are useless unless we know something about the quality of the initial submissions.

    They make a great work and they are not stupid to accept something bad to spoil their name.

    Are you serious? They have no good name to spoil.

    Do not think that they are stupid...

    Oh, I don't think they are stupid. I think they've found a smart way to make money from registration fees, enjoy conferences in nice locations, and amass a high publication count, without the bothersome task of actually doing important research.

  17. dear all,
    Since you seem to be interested in the WSEAS conferences at large,
    can someone verify the authenticity of the ISI letters they boast about in their emails and on their website?
    whenever i have tried to access the ISI list of journals, with the WSEAS
    various journal names/ISSN...the site gets hanged..or takes too long to respond..or shows "no matches found" message...doesnt that show that the conferences are boguseven if real? i have a feeling that the ISI letters on their site are not authentic

  18. Sigh. Bogus, for sure, as we all know.

    At the end of the day, this all boils down to a *fraud* on public money, benefiting both the shameless (or, at best, clueless) person who gets to go there (free & unjustified vacation trip), and of course the WSEAS organizers.

    It is sad that enough researchers lend themselves to this, including the occasional big name. A shame to our category.

    I, for one, get invited as a keynote speaker every week, been even when I had absolutely no credential for that. They are slimy.

  19. I believe that the annual conferences (MULTICONF) run by PromoteResearch.org are suspect. I believe that they do not properly review research papers. A conference that does not properly review research papers is known as a fake conference. PromoteResearch.org has the following conferences held in Orlando, Florida: AIPR, ARCS, BCBGC, CCN, EISWT, HPCS, ISP, IVPCV, SETP, TMFCS.

    See http://multiconf.000space.com for further information on whether these are fake conferences.

  20. Hamid Arabnia, the owenr of the bogus conference WORLDCOMP is posting comments, criticizing other people, using fake name Mohammad Homayun

    See https://sites.google.com/site/worlddump1 or https://sites.google.com/site/dumpconf for details