I have received invitation from a conference. How do I find out whether it is predatory or not?
I have recently heard from my colleagues about a free invitation that we have to attend a conference in January 2018. I personally have not heard of the organizers before and during registration the details of the conference were very unclear. Although I do not have to pay any fees to attend it, the conference requires me to travel. For a successful travel grant application, I need to ensure that the conference is valid and not a predatory one.
Your question about predatory conferences is very much relevant. There are several researchers who get such invites but fail to recognize them as predatory. However, there are some ways by which you can identify predatory conferences:
- Always cross-check the background of the invited speakers at the conference. Often, the speaker may not be an expert in the topic that he would be addressing.
- Many speakers would be addressing multiple topics in the same conference. Also, the topics that are addressed may not get compiled into a conference proceeding. Currently, many well-known scientific conferences do ensure that conference proceedings are issued at the end of the conference.
- Do verify the background of the conference organizers and the organizing committee to identify whether the conference is predatory or not. If the same organizers are conducting multiple conferences, then they have a high chance to be predatory.
- The time duration between the last date of submission of the abstracts and the date of conference would be less than a month. This indicates that the conferences do not have a peer review process for selecting abstracts.
- Check if the conference has been conducted previously in any other year. If it is a first-time conference, they would try and have tie-ups with well-known organizations. So, if such details are missing, it could be a flag too.
- The invitation email of these conferences are written in a flattering but poor English. They may also be sent via personal and not official e-mail IDs. Also, if you are being asked to present at the conference, do ask for an official invitation letter from the organizers.
Finally, if you are still unsure of the authenticity of the conference, you should cross-check the details that you get on the Internet. If the conference website has very vague information with limited details, it is a definite flag for you.