Friday, May 19, 2006

Spamference, spamjournal, spamreviews

Everyone's favorite spamference, the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics (WMSCI; I'll refrain from linking to them in the name of not promoting that which doesn't deserve promotion) has now posted their conference submissions on the web. So, for your amusement and edification, head on over to My Pet Goat, where Mrs. Cake has baked up some pointers to them.

Of course, any profitable economic niche will attract new business ventures. The IPSI BgD folks do the WMSCI'ers one better, with two generic domains ( and, generic conferences (actually, VIP conferences, which are also "M+I+T++" conferences: "Multi-, Inter-, and Trans- disciplinary") held all around the world, and no less than two journals! Here, I'll concentrate on the journals, since I recently got some email about them. There are two: IPSI Transactions on Internet Research and IPSI Transactions on Advanced Research.

Among their submission rules are, "Each paper must include at least 10 references. Papers without at least 10 references will be returned to the sender." Why? I assume that's because this is how they get names of reviewers. They charge €500 to publish a paper, which as they say is fortunate for you, because, "...the publication fee is to be paid only if your paper is accepted - we do not charge for the reviewing process, which is a very costly process." How costly? Well, they need to send out 12 emails to solicit reviews. Here's what I assume a typical email looks like:
Dear Dr. Michael Stiber

We have found on the Internet that your area of research is similar
to a topic submitted in the paper for our Journal
Transactions on Internet Research.

We know that you are extremely busy, but please take time to do the
quick review of a attached paper and send us your comments on:

- What did you like in the paper
- What you did not like in the paper
- Scientific approach level in the paper
- Updated info in the paper, etc.

Any comments of yours will help the authors of the paper.
Please reply as soon as possible.

Our journal is aimed at supporting a truly multidisciplinary,
interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research.
For details, please see the web (

We expect that your review has two parts.
First, improvement requests to the authors.

Second, your recommendation:
A. Unconditional accept
B. Conditional accept, with minor changes
C. Conditional accept with major changes
D. Reject

If you have any more questions, please contact me!
Please reply to this e-mail.

Best Regards,
Prof. Dr. Veljko Milutinovic, Fellow of IEEE
Then they attach a PDF of the paper. Unfortunately, they don't offer to pay me for my review, so I'm not sure what makes this review process so expensive. Could it be a lot of time spent finding reviewers? Well, no, as they themselves say, they grab previous journal and conference participants, folks cited in references, and Google the rest. Despite what they say, my research interests aren't similar to the attached paper, so they don't seem to do much more than type in a keyword or two, grab an email address, and shoot the request off.

Oh, all of their issues seem to be online in PDF form, but you can subscribe for €500 if you're an individual (€1000 for institutions; €500 for top 500 institutions).

I'm sure that there are people submitting to these things and reviewing their papers in good faith. After all, people get taken in by spam all the time. On the other hand, they apparently get 27 hits/day on their journal web site, so I guess that shuts me up.

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  1. I would always resist a white listing of conferences, but I think we ought to black lists some of them.

    For example, maybe we should all agree that if a colleague publishes there, then we should add a note to any review saying that we don't consider that it counts as a contribution to science.

    Something like this... I think we have to discourage colleagues and collaborators from publishing there.

    This is not to say that some respectable researchers won't submit respectable work there... simply that, in this day and age, we should stay away from creating new for-profit journals. The world doesn't need them.

  2. Maybe being on the lookout for such publications in CVs and lists of references -- and commenting on their presence -- will be sufficient. Then again, if these things proliferate, we may be hard-pressed to keep track of which conferences and journals are real and which aren't. Or, we could all just go into the conference or journal business.

  3. Looks like they found my blog - got a bunch of hits from Orlando. They may have decided that making all their conference submissions publicly readable on the web wasn't such a great idea. They're now apparently password protected.

    Here's one thing that was a little interesting. There was this paper called "Using Chaos and Complexity Theory and Design of Experiments to Forecast Stock Prices" submitted. A paper with the exact same title appeared in another conference last year.

  4. Ah, the magic of the internets. A bit of poking around indicates that the first author (of the Indian International Conference on Artificial Intelligence, or IICAI) is a 15-year-old tenth-grader and son of the second author. The third author is a faculty mentor. Both father and mentor are faculty in the Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) Systems Engineering Dept.

    Certainly, Orlando is conveniently located for them, but not a junket (Disneyworld is a day trip for them). Assuming the authors are the same, I would suspect a bit of pre-college resume puffery -- it seems unlikely that work done by a tenth grader would be of such substance to produce two closely-related conference publications. Ditto for first-authorship, especially considering chaos theory requires math beyond calculus.

    I think this speaks more eloquently of FIT Systems Engineering than anything else.