Presenting at an academic conference shares your research with a wider audience and boosts your international profile—well, a legitimate one does at least. Attending or presenting at a predatory conference can do the opposite, so it’s important to choose your conferences wisely.
What is a Predatory Conference?
A predatory conference is a conference that exists solely to make money. They are organized by commercial enterprises that have no connection to a reputable research organization/society/institute. Their titles are broad like “World Congress of the Humanities” or “International Business and Economics Conference” and they promise big-name speakers and a high abstract/paper acceptance rate. They are often held in expensive resort towns or popular tourist destinations. Predatory conferences make their money off of the conference fees they charge participants, often in combination with accommodation or a tour package.
Invitations to predatory conferences usually come in the form of unsolicited emails. The email, replete with spelling and grammatical mistakes, will play up the event’s prestige and address you in extremely flattering terms. You will be invited to give a talk, chair a session, or be a keynote speaker, often about a topic unrelated to your research. The conference will falsely claim that submissions are peer reviewed or promise an extremely short peer review process.
If you’re trying to determine whether a conference invitation is predatory, ask yourself the following questions:
On their own, none of these factors are a guarantee that the conference is predatory. However, if you find yourself answering “yes” to several of these questions, you should proceed with caution. A good next step is to ask one of your professors or colleagues if they know of the conference or have attended it before. The conferences you attend should raise your profile and promote your research to the right audiences. Carefully evaluating a conference before deciding to submit is worth it.