A Taiwan-based conference organizer employs an American assistant professor as the “honorable chair” for many of its conferences. I think the conferences are really vacations disguised as academic meetings, and the submitted papers are funneled for publication to questionable, low-quality, and predatory journals, including many from South Asia and West Africa.
The man is an assistant professor at Japan’s Nagoya University of Commerce and Business, and you’ll see his picture promoting many of the “vaconferences” organized by the so-called Higher Education Forum.
Here’s a list of some upcoming Higher Education Forum conferences featuring the “Honorable Chair / International Liaison”:
- Tokyo International Conference on Engineering and Applied Science
- International Conference on Business and Social Sciences
- Annual Conference on Engineering and Technology
- Annual Conference on Engineering and Information Technology
- International Symposium on Fundamental and Applied Sciences
- Asia-Pacific Teaching Professor Conference
- International Symposium on Language, Linguistics, Literature and Education
- Asia-Pacific Social Science Conference
- International Symposium on Fundamental and Applied Sciences:
- International Conference on Education and Psychology
Most all of the conferences are “International” or “Global,” and their topics are broad in scope. Declaring the meetings to be “international” gives attendees the ability to claim that their presentations were given at international conferences, despite the fact that these meetings are little more than academic vacations.
The broad scope for each meeting increases attendance (and therefore revenue for the organizer) by making almost all abstracts acceptable for the conferences.
The conference websites indicate that the submitted papers “will be considered for inclusion” (that is, easily accepted if you pay the fee) in journals from these publishers:
- Asian Online Journals
- Horizon Research Publishing Corporation
- Academic Journals (Lagos, Nigeria)
- Research India Publications
- Transstellar Journal Publications and Research
All these publishers are on my list, with the exception of Research India Publications, which is a subscription publisher. They are all low quality publishers that aim to make easy money off authors by quickly accepting and publishing their work.
How did a Taiwanese tour operator / conference organizer strike a deal with Indian and Nigerian open-access publishers? Is this a sophisticated paper mill operation?
I think the conference attendees are possibly being victimized twice here, once by the conference organizer and once by the publishers.
I recommend that universities in Asia, where these conferences take place and are marketed, closely scrutinize and critically evaluate Higher Education Forum. It appears this company is more of a travel agency than a scholarly conference organizer. Do universities really want to sponsor their faculty attending these questionable conferences?
Scholars should prefer conferences organized by respected scholarly societies and should resist the temptation to go on scholarly junkets.
Update, 26 February 2015: Higher Education Forum has removed the photograph and name of the assistant professor from its websites. Research India Publications is now included on my list of questionable publishers. Although it is a subscription publisher, it operates like a gold-open access publisher, charging authors to publish in its many low-quality journals.
A whole bunch of Higher Education Forum conferences: