A couple of weeks ago, out of the ordinary, I was in the company of a few academics from respectable universities. A graduate student mentioned that he was invited to something called "ICIT 2015" to present his Master's thesis. One of those professors said something along the line of:

If it is your first attempt at publishing something, then go for it. However, I usually highly advise against attending such events to present your papers. They're nothing but paper dumps. Within the time frame of two days, nearly 1500 people are expected to present their papers. You're given 10-20 minutes present your work to 1-2 people and have your picture taken. These events are merely created just so you can say and put on your CV that you've spoken at a conference and published a paper. Most of the time, the review process is horrible, and the PhD-level papers can be barely accepted as Bachelor-level theses in any respectable university.

Immediately after he finished talking, two other professors agreed with him and shared a couple of anecdotes on that particular conference and another one.

I looked at the conference's website, and it seems to confirm some of what the professor had said, but I cannot find anything on the review process or the "quality" of the papers.

I spent quite a bit of time trying to find any reference to such "paper dump conferences", but I had no success. Were those people just being snobs or is there some truth to what they said?

Disclaimer: I'm very far from academia and just looking to learn more and understand this a little better, so excuse me if it seems like I have no clue what I'm talking about. Also, this "paper dump" might have another name in English as I'm providing a direct translation from another language.

  • 4
    You may find this page helpful. Rather than referring to 'paper dumps', this page simply calls them 'bogus conferences'.
    – MJeffryes
    Mar 23 '15 at 17:18
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    Aren't ALL conferences 'paper dumps' to a certain extent? That is, you as a grad student/researcher are subject to 'publish or perish', so must submit to conferences or journals. If a conference, one of the authors must waste considerable time travelling to the conference venue, spend Other People's Money (seriously, would you go if you had to pay out of your own pocket?) on travel & hotel, then spend maybe 15-60 minutes presenting to a usually bored audience who're mostly just awaiting their turn...
    – jamesqf
    Mar 23 '15 at 20:53
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    @jamesqf I do not remotely recognize this "bored audience who're mostly just awaiting their turn" from any of the many conferences I've been to. Mar 23 '15 at 22:51
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    @DavidRicherby, I can see a possible selection bias there, your presentations could be unusually interesting. ;)
    – A E
    Mar 23 '15 at 23:09
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    @AE That's very kind of you. And, of course, I also choose unusually interesting talks to listen to when I'm not presenting. Mar 23 '15 at 23:23

The other answers basically state that yes, there are bogus conferences (and journals) as well as legit conferences but with very low quality standards. One thing they don't really address, and that I think motivates the OP's question is: why would there be such conferences?

The answer is quite simple. They're a great business opportunity (in a very cynical sense) to capitalize on the "publish or perish" principle of the academic world.

Academics need to publish their work, and early grad students are particularly in need of getting publications on their CV. When the work is low quality, respectable venues won't publish it. So that's where these more or less shady venues come in. These welcoming venues offer the opportunity to publish papers with very limited review, but for sizable fees. Then, for papers to be accepted in conference proceedings one author must attend and present, for another sizable fee. Research grants pay for it, so you get free travel... many of the conferences advertize great locations (e.g. Recife, Brazil, was in a recent CFP I saw).

These publications are then on your CV, and will withstand some basic scrutiny, in the sense that it takes some research to know what conferences or journals are "predatory", "paper dumps", etc. There are a zillion conferences and journals, you can't know all of them... People outside of academia may not even be aware that such things exist (OP for example)...

So, to be clear, if you want to have a respectable name for yourself in academia, you don't want to publish there.... but if that's not your immediate concern, then these venues offer a valuable service to some people. And a great disservice to the scientific community, by channelling funds the wrong way, driving down quality standards, cluttering up cyberspace with useless publications, etc.

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    "People outside of academia may not even be aware that such things exist." On the other hand, people within academia know exactly what the good conferences in their own field are. Mar 23 '15 at 23:12
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    Well, as someone who dabbles in several related fields, personally I know what the top conferences in those fields are, and there are a few I know to be bogus, but many that I haven heard of... for those sometimes they turn out to be ok, i.e. not "top" but not "predatory" , either. There are just too many. Mar 25 '15 at 21:48

I think there are two different but related kinds of conferences.

First are the conferences which are essentially bogus and shady. They do exist and run but the associations and quality they claim is fake. These are borderline fraud conferences but hard to prove so because they will come up with some bare minimum genuine-ness criteria if called out. People I know usually avoid them and their CFPs go to spam mail.

Second are the conferences which are genuine but fairly low on popularity and quality. Such conferences are often easy targets if you want to get something out in some catalog and want a speaking experience. As an anecdote, my professors used to call these second type of conferences the "paper dump" venues.

  • 2
    Whoa! It's as if you were in that conversation. Two of the professors said something very similar and indeed they described the event as a "paper dump" because it's very bad, but not as bad as fake conferences, but almost as bad. Mar 23 '15 at 18:19
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    I should add that the situation with the second type conferences is pretty dynamic. Some "paper dump" conferences I know in the past have picked up in quality and have become frontliners. Similarly some first class conferences of the past decades have decayed into paper dumps over time.
    – mkc
    Mar 23 '15 at 18:59
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    Jup, a paper dump conference is typically not a fake conference. It is just a really bad real conference :D
    – xLeitix
    Mar 23 '15 at 19:46

I smell a big fat scam:

  • The number of scientists from reputable universities that are supposedly attending this is just a little bit suspicious.
  • The website is horrible.
  • The conference does not exist on IEEE's website when I search for a list of conferences in Spain.
  • I'm no engineer, but the paper titles seem nonsensical.

If you're ever unsure, you could find the academic webpage of the professor(s) who are chairing the conference and write an email to the address listed there (making sure that the prof you're contacting is a real person on the website of a real university). They'll either assure you the conference is legit, or be glad for the warning that their name has been harvested and used for the scam.

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    I do agree with all of the points you've raised except the one about relation to IEEE. I have actually contacted IEEE and they said that it is indeed a "society" within the IEEE and the ICIT conference is one of that society's activities. However, they stressed that they don't have direct relations to it and they don't oversee it, so basically they have nothing to do with it except that they are allowed to name-drop the IEEE Mar 23 '15 at 18:01
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    Huh, well I concede that this ICIT "conference" actually exists. I see there is a Twitter feed on the website with photos of people in ICIT t-shirts, and one of the chairs has listed on his website that he has chaired past ICIT meetings. Still, this doesn't look to be a high quality affair. "Paper dump" seems to be exactly the right word for it.
    – Moriarty
    Mar 23 '15 at 18:09
  • Indeed. It's almost a bogus conference, but they have a board of people with "Prof." titles so it's kind of difficult to prove it. I skimmed over some of the papers and I honestly have this gut feeling that they're of very very low quality. Mar 23 '15 at 18:17

That conference's rather bogus indeed, and such conferences can look Other answers didn't mention this is a multiconference — that is, it unites scientists of unrelated fields and have little to talk together about.

Typically, why would a researcher in "Signal and Image Processing and Computational Intelligence" want to listen to a very specialized talk from one in "Electrical Machines and Drives"? Researchers aren't typically that interdisciplinary. It makes more sense, say, for a researcher in Image Processing might go to, say, SIGGRAPH and listen to other talks on imagey stuff he might use. (Disclaimer: I'm far from Image Processing myself, and farther from engineering, I'm applying general patterns).

That does not show it's a fraud like infamous WMSCI, but it implies that researchers with better options aren't likely to go there.


Here are several telltales for a bogus conference, and ICIT seems to hit most/all of them:

  1. Little or no peer-review. Webpage doesn't list any review timelines, guidelines or details. 2014 website lists a timeline, but no guidelines for papers.

  2. Ridiculously broad scope, esp. for the size and caliber of the program committee (this reinforces point 1., because it's hard enough to find and manage good reviewers in one area, but thirty unrelated areas!?) ('Electrical Machines and Drives' to 'Industrial Automation, Communication, Networking and Informatics' to 'Electronic Systems on Chip and Embedded Control' to 'Microsystems and Microfluidics Applications')

  3. Look at the caliber of the Program Committee and Organizing Committee. Who are they, and what have they themselves published, in your field?

  4. You can very accurately guesstimate a conf's quality by looking at previous years' acceptances/ proceedings (esp. in your particular field) and look for the worst/weakest/most bogus papers, check the authors' credentials, then download a couple of papers and skim them for basic quality, English, proofreading, references etc. In ICIT 2014's case, we can't even do this because 2014 proceedings are "coming soon". No proceedings at all, for a technical conf? Not even printed on paper or DVD? Sounds bogus.

  5. IEEE website does not list ICIT conference. Hmm.

(I wasn't aware of the distinction between paper-dump and outright bogus, until here)

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