In a recent blog post, I wrote about the Taiwan-based Higher Education Forum — essentially a travel agency that organizes vacation-like conferences marketed to academics in Asia. In this post, I would like to expand on why I think attending Higher Education Forum (HEF) conferences is a poor choice for honest researchers.
Here are the reasons I think that researchers should avoid Higher Education Forum conferences and why universities should not pay for their faculty to attend Higher Education Forum conferences
- HEF is a for-profit company whose mission is to increase profits for its owners. On the other hand, conferences organized by authentic, non-profit scholarly societies and associations have as their chief mission the creation and sharing of new knowledge. Honest researchers should prefer conferences organized by legitimate academic and scholarly societies and associations.
- Higher Education Forum conferences generally combine two (or more) broad fields. They do this to make the conferences appeal to more researchers, to maximize their revenue. Here are some examples:
International Conference on Education, Psychology and Society
International Conference on Social Science and Psychology
Global Conference on Engineering and Applied Science
International Symposium on Engineering and Natural Sciences
International Conference on Life Science and Biological Engineering
- Note that all of HEF’s conferences use the terms “International” or “Global.” This strategy helps attract more registrations and enables presenters to earn more academic credit (an international conference presentation garners more credit than a national or regional one).
- To maximize profits, HEF often holds two or more conferences at the same time and at the same hotel
- HEF associates with predatory publishers and works to funnel conference attendees’ papers into the low quality journals they publish. On the HEF website, it says, “All full papers presented in the conference will be considered for possible publications as follow [sic].” Then it provides links to publishers in India, Nigeria, and China that appear on my list of predatory publishers.
- Higher Education Forum does not take criticism well. After my last blog post, HEF’s public relations manager, Chelsea Kao, sent out numerous emails, each one labeled as a “press release” attacking me and defending the company. Her numerous press releases cited the impact factors of all the journals that HEF associates with, but the impact factors were all assigned by fake impact factor companies, so the silly press releases, which were sent to various University of Colorado officials, confirmed that HEF associates with predatory publishers.
- For conference presentations, there is a very short time between the submission deadline and the “notification of acceptance,” leading one to conclude that no real review is completed on the submissions, and they are most all accepted so the conference can make more money. Also, the deadlines invariably get extended. There’s no mention of any peer-review.
8. HEF conference registration is not cheap; it costs $400 to attend for those presenting papers. According to the website for one of their conferences:
The calculation of registration fee is according to the piece of manuscript submitted by the author. For instance, if you only have one paper to submit, you will have to pay 400*1=400 USD. However, if you would like to submit three research papers, you will have to pay up to 400*3=1200 USD.
They also charge a processing fee for those using PayPal, and they do not grant refunds for any reason.
Higher Education Forum organizes vacation packages and markets them as scholarly conferences. The firm associates with predatory publishers and encourages conference attendees to submit their papers to these publishers’ journals, where they are easily and quickly published upon payment of additional fees paid by the authors.
I recommend that scholars only attend scholarly conferences organized by authentic scholarly organizations. I recommend that universities not sponsor faculty attendance at conferences that are essentially vacations, like those given by Higher Education Forum.