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Predatory Publishing: Predatory Conferences

This guide was created to help researchers to be aware of predatory publishers.

What are predatory conferences?

‘Predatory’ conferences exploit and profit from researchers eager to present their research at an ‘international’ conference. The conferences tend to be poorly organised and low-quality, with little or no peer review of submitted research. The conference organisers make money in the form of registration fees. Sometimes, the registrants are informed that the conference has been cancelled but the registration fees are not refunded.

Questions to Consider

Consider the following checklist of questions by Andy Nobes (permission granted by Andy Nobes for reuse) which he shared in AuthorAID before you register for your next conference:


Conference subject and scope

  • Have your peers and senior colleagues in your field heard of, or attended this conference? Would they recommend it?
  • Is the content of the conference relevant to your field?
  • Is the topic of the conference focused enough for you to a) hear about relevant research and b) meet relevant researchers? For example, an “International Conference of Social Sciences” or “International Conference on Business and Economics” may be too broad and probably raises questions about the purpose of the conference.
  • Does the conference prioritize the academic value of the conference more than the tourist destination? (You should judge the conference on its content rather than its location.)
  • If the conference title includes the word ‘international’, are you confident that it is a good-quality, truly international event?

Conference organizers

  • Who is organizing the conference, and for what reason? Is the goal or theme of the conference clear and specific? (Please note that generic phrases such as ‘to promote scientific innovation’ or ‘to facilitate dissemination of research findings’ are not specific.)
  • Do the organizers seem fully focused on making this a high-quality conference? Or are they involved in multiple events in the same day/week/month?
  • If the conference is being hosted by a university or research institution, do they seem like the most appropriate host? Are they also advertising the conference on their website or at their campus?
  • Is the conference organized by a scholarly or non-profit organisation who you have heard of? Does this organization list the conference on their website?
  • If the conference is organized by a commercial company:
  • Is there a clear partnership with a reputable institution/society/research institute, either international or local to the conference?
  • Is there a partnership with a reputable publisher or publication?

The answer to most of these questions should be ‘Yes’.

Conference Checker

List of Predatory Conferences