Skip to main content

Predatory Conferences: Home

What Is A Predatory Conference?

Many predatory publishers have expanded their business models to make additional profits from fake conferences.  At a glance, these predatory conferences can seem to be legitimate, scientific based events. Be aware that these conferences are actually organized by revenue generating companies who exploit presenters and attendees.  These fake conferences do not provide adequate scholarly presentation sessions.  Many academics arrive at these conferences only to discover that there are very few attendees, a limited number of actual presentations, or that multiple conferences covering a wide range of topics are combined into a single conference.

Articles About Predatory Conferences

How To Spot A Predatory Conference

Conference Organizers and Sponsorship

  • Is the conference sponsored by a professional organization or association?  If so, does their website link to the conference website?  Predatory conferences have been known to claim to be sponsored by organizations/associations who actually have nothing to do with the conference.
  • Is the conference organized by a for-profit company?  Predatory conferences exist solely to make money - the goal is not to advance scholarship or research.
  • Do you recognize the people on advisory boards or organizing committees?  Many fake conferences claim that respected people in a specific field are on these committees, when in reality, these individuals have no affiliation.
  • Are the names of the people who own or control the organization provided? 

Aim & Scope

  • Are the aim and scope are too broad?  Often topics are extremely broad and lack focus on a specific discipline.
  • Are generic, broad terms such as "to promote scientific innovation" used in describing the purpose of the conference?

Conference Location

  • Is the conference one of many conferences on various topics?  Predatory conference organizers often operate multiple "conferences" on the same date in the same location.
  • Is the same conference offered numerous times a year in several different cities?

Website

  • Does the website look professional and reputable?  Does it have good spelling and grammar?
  • Are technical terms spelled correctly? 
  • Are the themes current for your field?
  • Are conference proceedings from previous years available?  If so, do the sessions, papers, and materials look like what you expect from a professional conference?
  • Is contact information available (including e-mail, phone, and physical address)?  Be wary of websites that only provide a web form for contact and questions. 
  • Are there multiple presentations by a single person at a single conference? 

Invitation

  • ​Did you receive an invitation to present or attend the conference via email?  Did the email have poor grammar, incorrect spelling, or awkward language? 
  • Was the invitation filled with flattery?  Are you referred to as a "prominent," "eminent," or "world-class scholar?"

Reputation

  • Is the conference well known in your field? 
  • Have your colleagues ever heard of or attended this conference? 
  • Do conference papers get published in known predatory journals?  Do committee organizers, keynote speakers, or presenters have connections with predatory journals?

Peer Review Process

  • ​Is there a peer review process for submitted papers and presentations?  Is this peer review process clearly outlined and explained on the website?  Predatory conferences rarely have legitimate peer review processes.
  • Does the conference promise quick acceptance of conference papers or abstracts?  Some conferences accept abstracts with as little as 24 hours in advance.  Legitimate peer-review of submitted abstracts and papers cannot be completed this quickly.
  • Is the peer-review independent or does the conference organizer, owner, or employees review submissions?
  • Have fake papers (machine-generated or "sting" papers) been accepted to past conferences?

Conference Fees:

  • Are the fees similar to other conference fees or are they higher?
  • Do presenters pay more than attendees?

The original version of this guide was created by Ruth Bueter, Serials Librarian at George Washington U. Library.  She generously gave me permission to use hers as a template for this guide.

Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine and College of Pharmacy
Harlem Campus 230 West 125th Street New York, NY 10027 (212) 851-1199