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'Predatory' conferences

Similarly to 'predatory' journals, some practices emerged to charge researchers for conferences of little to no scientific value. We call these ‘predatory' conferences. The main aim of these conferences is to make money for the organiser.

Researchers, both staff and students, are responsible for complying with the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 and ensuring that they publish appropriately to avoid predatory publishing and conferences.

'Predatory' conferences can be difficult to identify as they appear legitimate, with websites often listing a venue, submission process and a board of high-standing academics. In addition, 'predatory' conferences are sometimes organised by the companies behind 'predatory' journals, which means conference papers can be published in these affiliated journals.

Be aware of how 'predatory' conferences can take advantage of academics:

  • The conference does not exist.
  • The conference is held concurrently, in the same room, with many other conferences in unrelated fields.
  • The conference is held as described, but with a very small number of attendees and a distinct lack of organisation.
  • Prominent experts can be listed as board or committee members without their approval or knowledge.

Visit The Publishing Process guide to learn more about 'Predatory' publishing for publications and conferences.

Why are 'predatory' conferences bad?

'Predatory' conferences are, at best, a waste of time; at worst, they can damage the individual’s reputation and the institution. There are several ways 'predatory' conferences can have an impact on individuals and institutions:

Waste of time
  • You will spend time on an event without value for your research or career progression.
Waste of money
  • You do not want to spend research funds on travel, accommodation and registration. 'Predatory' conferences will not refund your registration fee under any circumstance.
Damage to individuals’ reputation
  • By being associated with 'predatory' conferences, your integrity may come into question.
  • If your conference paper is published in a 'predatory' journal, it may reflect poorly on the quality of your research.
Damage to institutions’ reputation
  • Research associated with scam conferences will negatively affect the quality of the institution’s research outcomes.
  • University ranking may be affected as the outputs from these conferences would not be included in the government research assessment submission.
  • Institutions may become involved if there is legal action against researchers listed as committee members. In addition, being listed as conference committee members may damage the associated institutions’ names and reputations.
How can you protect yourself?

If you are unsure about a legitimate conference, contact your School Librarian for advice.

  • Check the name of your conference carefully; questionable conferences often use deceptively similar names to reputable conferences.
  • Do not respond to email invitations from 'predatory' conferences, not even decline.
  • Do not submit papers.
  • Do not agree to serve on the committees.
  • Do not register for or attend the conferences.
  • Google yourself — you might find your name used by those conferences without permission.

The Think. Check. Attend. Conference Checker will help you identify 'predatory' conferences.

© Western Sydney University, unless otherwise attributed.
Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)