In this guest post, Mohamed Mostafa introduces the Think. Check. Attend. Initiative and shares some tips for choosing the right conference (and avoiding fake ones).
Given the increasing number of the announced conferences every year, and the existence of fake or questionable meetings, it is challenging to make the right choice and to decide whether or not to accept an invitation. I do believe that the trusted academic event; whether a conference, symposium, meeting or workshop, is one of the essential pillars for producing a scientifically authentic conference paper. When I observe the frequency of olding new conferences annually, the tremendous number of invitations (of course, including spamming emails), and the inability to determine the trustworthy forums while avoiding the fraudulent ones, I come across these questions: How can I choose the right conference to attend and present research? What are the criteria to differentiate between an authentic conference and a fake one? Is there any guidance to figure this out? What if I can have some sort of a metric reference to which I refer before deciding to attend a conference?
During my training workshops I held, I used to receive a number of enquiries from the researchers about how to select the right conference to attend. Previously, I used to receive similar enquiries about choosing the right journal to submit a research paper in. Same dilemma exists, how to differentiate between an authentic journal and a fake one. What would be the selection criteria for choosing a trusted journal or for discarding questionable ones? Confidentially, I used to give one primary answer advising them to refer to Think. Check. Submit (http://thinkchecksubmit.org/). It is a simple checklist for researchers to refer to when they are investigating whether a journal can be trusted.
Conceiving the structure and objective of Think. Check. Submit, I started to initiate and write the guidelines of Think. Check. Attend (https://thinkcheckattend.org/). The purpose of this initiative is to offer help and guidance for researchers and attendees in identifying convenient conferences to attend. The initiative has been launched by Knowledge E (http://knowledgee.com/) and has been endorsed and acknowledged by Think. Check. Submit. as a sister initiative—who share the aim of improving ethical communication of academic research results and building a more knowledgeable world.
Think. Check. Attend. initiative provides a guidance checklist on trusting a conference to attend and present your research. The checklist raises a number of questions bulleted under three main consequent stages as follows:
Is it the right conference to attend and present your research?
Are you submitting your abstract to a trusted conference?
- New conferences are announced each year.
- Stories of questionable and fake conferences are also on the rise.
- It can be challenging to find up-to-date guidance when choosing the right conference to attend.
- How can you be sure the conference you are considering is the right conference to attend and present your research?
In this section, I used a methodology —similar to Think. Check. Submit methodology— to help researchers and attendees to think carefully and verify the criteria, and hence make the right decision about choosing the adequate and trusted conference for presenting their work. This checklist provides guidance on trusting a conference to attend and present your research.
Organizers & Sponsors
- Are you aware of the society or the association organizing this conference?
- Can you easily identify the venue of the conference?
- Is it the first time that this conference is being held?
- Have you or your colleagues attended this conference before?
- Is it clear what fees will be charged (conference fee, registration fees, …, etc.) and would these be waived if you are accepted as a speaker?
- Are any of the sponsors involved in the conference?
- Are you aware of any of them, especially with industry-related fields such as Engineering & Biomedical research?
- Did you check the conference website? Is all the information (such as the attendance fees, submission date, conference date, editorial committee, program details and venue) presented in a proper way?
- Have you read any papers from this conference proceedings before?
Agenda & Editorial Committee
- Is there clear information about the timeline and the agenda for the conference?
- Do the scope and objectives of the conference fit your field and core interest or not?
- Have you heard of the Keynote speakers?
- Is the Editorial Committee listed on the website?
- Have you heard of the Editorial Committee members before?
- Is the Committee clear about the editorial control over presentations and the type of peer-review it uses?
- Is the Organizing Committee clear about where the proceedings will be published?
- Does the conference make it clear which indexing services the proceedings will be published, and to which indexes it will submit the proceedings for evaluation?
- Is the publisher of the proceedings a member of a recognized industry initiative such as COPE, DOAJ, OASPA?
- Also refer to Think. Check. Submit. checklist for more details about publishing in the right journal at https://thinkchecksubmit.org/check/.
Complete the checklist and attend the conference or submit your abstract only if you are satisfied and you can answer ‘yes’ to most or all of the questions.
- Attending the right conference will give you the opportunity to maintain your awareness of the latest updates and improvements in your field.
- Attending the right conference will enhance your career and expand your connections within the academic community.
- Publishing your Conference Paper under a professional publishing experience, where your work is reviewed, edited, indexed and easily discoverable will enhance your reputation and your chance of gaining citations.
- Only then should you attend and present your research at this conference.
Once you managed to answer the questions raised in the above checklist positively, you will be confident that you have made the right choice. Attending the right conference will ensure you present your research in the proper place and for the right audience. It will consequently help in publishing your conference paper within a professional publishing medium, ensuring that your work is reviewed, indexed and easily discoverable for higher citation rates and wide dissemination. I hope that Think. Check. Attend. initiative helps you clear the vision about choosing the right conference, evaluating the invitation you receive and figuring out whether or not a conference should be attended.
Mohamad Mostafa is Publishing Editor for Knowledge E, and Crossref Ambassador. He formerly worked for Hindawi Publishing. He holds a B.Sc. in Physics from Menoufia University, Egypt. You can follow Mohamad at https://www.linkedin.com/in/mohamad-mostafa/ & https://twitter.com/momoostafa, and his ORCID is https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0768-6642.