Undercover reporters expose ‘bogus’ scientific conferences

(13 September 2018) Following a high profile investigation into predatory journals, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ICIJ, has turned its attention to bogus scientific conferences.

In the audience at a recent conference in Venice was a group of South Korean reporters from Newstapa, a Seoul-based investigative journalism center and partner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Having submitted a paper created using SCIGen, a joke program which generates random scientific essays with charts and figures, the journalists were invited to present on telecommunications. Their pseudo-scientific talk was warmly received.

The Venice event was just one of hundreds of fake scientific conferences held every year.

Participants include professors working for renowned universities to students who want to practice their presentation skills. Their motives range from career advancement to meeting deadlines for research expenses, or simply traveling to exotic destinations on their universities’ dime. The only requirement to be accepted as a speaker is a participation fee.

Sogang University chemistry professor Deok-hwan Lee told Newstapa: “These organizations’ target is not those scholars who strive for best. These organizations are beyond being for-profit or commercialized. They basically aim to rip off those researchers who are academically poor.”

ICIJ has this news in full by Scilla Alecci.