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Fake "scientific conferences"

Last week I wrote about the "World Congress of Agricultural Biotechnology", organized by BIT Life Sciences. They also claim to be planning several other conferences, including:
Low Carbon Earth Summit
World Congress of Environmental Biotechnology
World Congress of Petroleum Greentech
World Congress of Forensics
World Cancer Congress
Congress of International Drug Discovery Science and Technology
Congress of Immunodisease and Therapy
Here's another blog post on conference invitations from BIT Life Sciences.

This week, EPS Global Medical Development Inc. is inviting everyone I know to speak at "Shijiazhuang International Forum on Life Science and Biotechnology" and "Nanjing International Forum on Rehabilitation Medicine." Their scam is a little more sophisticated than BIT Life Sciences. They use an address in Canada and refer to an actual published paper by the "invited speaker." Most recipients will probably recognize this as spam, since they are sending it to people whose research has nothing to do with the topic of the "conference." But, just by chance, some of the recipients may actually work in biotechnology or rehabilitation medicine and think they were invited to speak based on their scientific expertise. There's more discussion of similar spam from EPS Global Medical Development Inc.here.

It's safe to assume that a conference whose "invited speakers" are whoever replied to random emails won't be of particularly high quality.

If you get an invitation to a conference in your field, how can you tell if it's legitimate? Real scientific conferences will have organizing committees consisting of individually identifiable scientists with strong publication records. It might be a good idea to check with one or more of them, though, in case the organizers are using their name without permission. For example, does it seem a bit odd that all of the "confirmation letters" from Nobelists who supposedly agreed to speak at a BIT Life Sciences conference have identical wording and all are on conference letterhead rather than that of the individual scientist's institution?

Comments

Thank you for the tip. Someone from our group has been invited...

This is a great and timely article. As a pharmaceutical industry professional, I have received numerous invitations like these a number of times. Another "red flag" is if the "conference" organizers ask the speaker to pay to speak!

It is another trick for notorious EPS to suck money from academic. Something needs to be done to stop EPS that is located in Montreal, Canada, and operated by Yao Lu. Yao Lu and his associates search Pubmed for email address and then target all academic people. One of my friend unfortunately went to one of meetings and told me that the meeting had only about 15 speakers and 3 of Yao's girls! I think, anyone who is going to update his/her CV by saying him/her being a speaker in EPS meeting will seriously damage rather than improve his/her academic reputation.

I am afraid that I am one of the mugs that was suckered by this. I travelled to Montreal from Europe for a conference on what I thought was renewable energy. Some 70 people are listed as speakers. However, if you look at the topics, they are on every possible topic and even the name of the conference has changed. I reckon the guy has grossed $50k Canadian from this one and should be well in pocket when he has paid hotel etc. Please tell people to stay clear of this. I really feel embarassed at being so stupid.

I received an email form this EPS Global Development three days ago. There were two links and one of them didn`t open, so I checked on google about the exact day of the Conference and the program. I was surprised to know that this is all fake. I`ve already wrote to them accepting the invitation but I don`t know how to proceed from now on. How they usually do?

Sometimes people agree to speak at a meeting and then don't go, for one reason or another. For example, one time my flight was canceled, due to snow. If you've already paid for plane tickets and registration. maybe some of the other "invited speakers" will be worth talking to, even if the process for inviting them wasn't very selective.

As a conference attendee this is really quite alarming. To hear that speakers names are given and, programs published without their agreement, shows how far some people will go to gain money by any means at all. I guess one must check up in future with the stated sponsors? Can you give us your thoughts on the best way to identify scam conference invites of this type?

Well, it is time to take THEM for a ride:

http://kbgoesbit.blogspot.com/2011/12/objective.html

I suggest submitting the following paper:

http://www.scs.stanford.edu/~dm/home/papers/remove.pdf

This is sad to heard about this type of scam around events and conferences. It's even more a shame that this people are from Montreal :-(

Many thanks for nailing these fake conference invitations, where BIT's 1st Annual World Conference of Mariculture and Fisheries (Dalian - China)is currently featuring

Sometimes people agree to speak at a meeting and then don't go, for one reason or another.

Hi I am invited as a speaker for 4thICC 2012 by Bit life sciences in China,after reading all these I think its fake
1.I have been asked to pay
2.I am at Assistant Professor level and has only a single paper published in that field

Thank you. Now I also realised the fake invitation that I have recieved from BIT. Otherwise I requested them for monetary waiver over the registration fee!!! Nowadays before accepting anything related to conference one needs to check whether it is a hoax/ spam.

I received an email by "organizers" of WCEIT conference taking place in China. They invite me, a PhD, student to give a speech and pay the price of 1500 dollars. I believe this is a fake too. See the website: http://www.bitconferences.com/wceit2012/

Thanks for the article! I keep getting e-mails from BIT something or other asking me, an undergraduate research assistant, to participate in different sessions at some conference that they're putting together. There is a surprising amount of phishing and spam that goes on in the world of research.

Aurelie Chaalali sends an additional comment:
"Hi, I have also received 3 mails from the World Congress of Ocean : http://www.bitconferences.com/wco2012/ I am very confused as it seems being the same name and website (BIT something). I am only a PhD student (with no name, no article as a first author), I am not working on the main topic of this conference, so be careful !"

Indeed I have had many colleagues scammed into responding to these invitations. The crazy factor is that these responses have been used to promote the conference that more genuine academics are attending the conferences..Shocking indeed!

In contrast to what is being said here, I think the EPS meetings are legitimate. I have attended three of these. Firstly, I would like to make clear that I have an MD from the University of Chicago and a PhD from Harvard, am a former UCLA faculty member and have presented hundreds of papers at various scientific meetings ...I have a number of papers published as can be seen on pubmed or Google Scholar...

Each of the EPS meetings I attended was organized in coordination with a major local university or hospital. In Chonging, it was one of the large People Liberation Army Hospitals (Daping Hospital/3rd Military Medical University). They translated my slides overnight before my talk. There were hundreds of young Chinese neurologists and surgeons who were very excited to have non-Chinese scientists come and lecture... I also attended a much smaller EPS meeting at Toho University/Omori Medical Center in Japan, There were five or ten senior neurosurgeons and neurologist -but this also was very rewarding intellectually...

So the trashing of EPS global on this page is just completely wrong and unfortunate. I can see that when a graduate student got an invitation, he thought "Wow, these people have recognized what a genius I am and are inviting me to be the keynote speaker at a major professional society meting" - that would be silly on the graduate student's part. These meetings are hosted by local hospitals and universities in China, mostly, who want to expose their trainees to a Western style academic meeting. If you want a chance to talk about your work to a group like this then its a great opportunity. Don't wait for the AAAS to invite you to give their keynote just yet. With the amounts involved compared to what I pay to go to a US meeting for registration - there is no way this is unreasonable financially either.

This blog is a disaster area. How embarrassing.

I just attended a BITS conference in Nanjing, China. It was a World Bioenergy Congress and was 100% legitimate. There was a session with Nobel Laureates also. I really enjoyed the meeting.

The above two comments are totally not fake. I mean, when it comes to the reputation of scientific conferences, what more evidence do you need than a couple of posts on a relatively obscure blog. I'm sold!

Here I go China!

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