Friday, April 15, 2005

methinks thou protesteth too much...

As many of you may now know, the MIT grad students' plan to attend SCI with a randomly-generated talk was exposed for the sorry sham it was, and the good folks at SCI were shocked, shocked at the perfidy perpetrated by these poltroons.

The mysterious Prof. Nagib Callaos has finally spoken. In a 4-page denounciation sent to an inquiring researcher, he lays out a formidable argument for the value of non-peer reviewed papers, citing numerous authorities on the topic. The PS/PDF is not text-editable, so I can't cut and paste some of the choicer excerpts: read it and be 'umbled.

He remains unashamed, but full of sadneess [sic].

p.s A commenter points out this interesting story from a few years ago.


  1. Suresh, maybe you are being too hard on the guy. Maybe Professor Callos was afraid of being murdered by the author of a rejected paper?

    Think I'm joking? The American Physical Society NEVER rejects an abstract submission to their conference. Why? Well, they used to, but some crazy guy who was "misunderstood" and had some great new theory of everything killed the APS president and his secretary because of multiple rejections. After that, they instituted an open door policy to the conference. Of course, there are special sessions for kooks....

    On the other hand, in this day and age, this could be a bad policy. I mean, what if an Al Queda member submits a paper to the APS or to SCI or wherever in an attempt to get a visa to visit the US? Perhaps the FOCS/STOC/SODA/SoCG/VLDB etc. guys are doing their patriotic duty by not accepting bad papers? Maybe the Physicists are promoting terrorism? Yeah, that's it Phycisists hate america.

    Ok. Drunk now.

    Gotta stop ranting.

    Love your blog.


    Posted by Anonymous

  2. One thing that I've never figured out is how much of a scam these "fake" conferences are. The registration fee doesn't seem much different to the fees of "real" conferences, so I don't see where these people are making their money from. Seems like an awful lot of effort (check out the elaborate websites) to go to if their goal is merely to fleece publication-hungry researchers. Even if they manage to get lots of miscellaneous fees and charges out of the registrants, it seems that if profit were the only motive, the organizers could get a much better return by the usual spam approach of selling pills, thrills and the like... 

    Posted by Graham C.

  3. What I don't get is why on earth anyone even submits to these things, and how they remain profitable (SCI has been around for many years). 

    Posted by Suresh

  4. Suresh asked,

    What I don't get is why on earth anyone even submits to these things..

    Aw, come on, have a heart. Besides the obvious, we should give people the benefit of the doubt (the submitters, that is). This "multiconference" has dozens of subconferences, special sessions, etc., each with plausible (and even interesting sounding) names -- often, names quite close to those of other "legitimate" meetings. I mean, when I first heard of SCI, it must have taken me 5 minutes or so of googling to find Justin Zobel's IIIS/SCI web page. But, then again, SCI has a web page, too. Which is the dog? 

    Posted by Mike Stiber

  5. Um, but surely anyone emerging from graduate training has at least some idea of what are the premier conferences/journals in an area and what are not ? Either by writing papers, or by reading good ones, one tends to find these things out.

    If one aspires to be a serious researcher, there is really no excuse.

    Posted by Suresh


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