Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Unrefereed DOES NOT EQUAL bogus

Based on some of the comments on the last two posts it seems that some of our community is of the mindset that having a conference where everything gets in is a bad thing. This is not necc true. Here are some conferences for contrast.
  1. STOC, FOCS, SODA, CCC, LICS, MFCS, ICALP, COLT, CRYPTO, EUROCRYPT, STACS, SCG (I'm sure there are others). Strongly Refereed (acceptance rates all under 50 percent, some much lower), there is a proceedings, there may or may not be guest speakers. Registration 400-600 dollars. Authors not forced to pay for the honor of being authors. This notion would strike every particpant as unusual to say the least.
  2. Annual AMS meeting. There are a large number of contributed papers (unrefereed) in specialized areas. No proceedings. There are guest speakers. Registration 400-500 dollars. Note that while the contributed papers are not refereed there is no claim that they are. Alot of the math community goes to this. There is a pamphlet of what the contributed talks will be (there are multiple parallel sessions) so you can pick and choose what to goto. Even though the contributed papers are not refereed, some of them are worth hearing Authors not forced to register.
  3. Southeastern International Conference on Combinatorics, Graph Theory, and Computing. this is last years conference Similar to AMS meetings but more specialized. Registration about 200 dollars. (`Southeastern International' is oximoronic and makes it SOUND like a bogus conference, but at that price and no claim to refereeing, its fine.)
Going to a conference to meet people and see some results in the early stages, or to give you things to think about are valuable. Unrefereed conferences are NOT a good place to pad your resume (if your school knows about quality). If you get a paper into one you should clearly label it as UNREFEREED CONFERENCES on your resume.

As a community we seem to have lost the ability to have an informal meeting (exception: Dagstuhl and others like it, which are informal BUT you have to be invited to them.)

SO, what does make a conference bogus?
  1. They CLAIM that its refereed and it is not.
  2. They seem to be overcharging OR charging for very odd things.


  1. We in information retrieval have a "real" conference that's not refereed, and it's probably the second most important conference in the field: TREC. The reason it's unrefereed is that it's part competition, part dissemination. If you participate in the competition, you have to publish what you did, even if your method utterly failed. Thus it ends up being a nice repository of negative results as well as positive results, and since the parameters of the competition are strictly defined, anyone who pleases can try to duplicate your work. If you cheated, someone will find out eventually.

  2. There's an important distinction here, between the value of a conference experience (attending talks and interacting with other attendees) and the value of a conference publication (from the refereeing or selection process). A conference can be a great experience without having any publication component, and this is the standard in mathematics. It could be a great experience with a lousy publication component, although I think that is uncommon. But no matter how great a conference is to attend, it doesn't make the proceedings a meaningful addition to your CV.

  3. They seem to be overcharging OR charging for very odd things.

    Like several hundred dollars for catered pastries and light lunches? *cough STOC cough*

  4. > Like several hundred dollars
    > for catered pastries and light
    > lunches? *cough STOC cough*

    See, for example, for real registration fees.

    I've seen here many discussion on this subject and it's getting boring to see people complaining about it.
    Try to organize a conference yourself and let's see what registration fee will you be able to manage.

  5. Instead of focusing on "overcharging" (which is ill-defined), how about distinguishing a real conference from a fake conference by looking at whether it is for-profit or not.

  6. Anonymous 5: How do you determine if a conference is for-profit or not? It was mentioned in previous comments that WORLDCOMP is bogus, for example, but there is no indication on the website that it is a for-profit conference. (Of course, I suspect that it is both bogus and for-profit)

  7. looking at whether it is for-profit or not

    This is hard to discern. I imagine few fake conferences are actually run to make a profit for investors. What's more likely is that they are run to make a profit for the organizers, or (failing that) to provide the organizers with a superficially impressive CV and a low-paying yet easy job that involves free travel to nice places. This is entirely compatible with being a non-profit corporation in the legal sense.

  8. To judge the quality of a conference, look at the names on the Conference Committee and Program Committee. Have you heard of them?

    In the case of conferences with proceedings, you should also ask the Editorial Board members whether they voted to approve. I have heard that Springer publishes the proceedings regardless of what the Editorial Board thinks.

  9. how about distinguishing a real conference from a fake conference by looking at whether it is for-profit or not.

    Rumor has it that there is a city which has hosted STOC/FOCS/other conferences in which the local organizers routinely take home a handsome profit.

  10. The comparison of computer science conferences to pure mathematics conferences are like comparing apples to oranges. For the most part, there is no concept of a "conference paper" in pure mathematics. Mathematicians publish almost exclusively in journals, and conference papers are mostly considered throwaways or oddities. The real purpose of conferences in mathematics is for networking and disseminating information. The AMS/MAA meeting in January is very successful for this, because it draws people from all fields of mathematics and has huge attendance. There is no corresponding event in computer science that I can think of.

  11. If you didn't know already, WORLDCOMP is the world's biggest fake conference (ie., bogus conference) in computer science : . The next WORLDCOMP, the 2012 World Congress in Computer Science, Computer Engineering, and Applied Computing (consists of more than twenty different conferences), July 16-19, 2012, USA, is organized by Prof. Hamid Arabnia from the University of Georgia, USA. He has been running this fake conference business (registration fee collection is the primary goal) for over a decade by accepting almost all submitted papers without any review.

    If the previous link didn't work for any reason, please visit .

    A very brief version of FCS'11 (it is part of WORLDCOMP) is at . This link has also information about telephone threats to the person who investigated and revealed the fakeness of WORLDCOMP.