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January 6, 2014 5:22 PM   Subscribe

Indian tech entrepreneur and engineer Navin Kabra was dubious when the B.E. students he was advising told him that publishing papers at conferences were a requirement for graduation - a requirement shared by M.E. and M. Tech students in India. When an 'international engineering conference' came to Pune, he submitted two fake papers - one generated using SCIgen and one interspersed with random references to pop culture. Both were accepted - and one was published after Navin paid for the publishing fees (haggled to a 50% discount). Since the expose, the University of Pune has clarified that publishing for Masters students is recommended but not mandatory, more conference fraud has been uncovered, and Navin's still investigating publishing requirements for Bachelors students.
posted by divabat (19 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
Figure 1 in "Impact of Symmetries on Cryptoanalysis" may have just injured me.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:29 PM on January 6, 2014

I occasionally get emails from a professor that runs a robotics lab I used to work in between my freshman and sophomore year in college asking for help reviewing IEEE papers. I'm sure he isn't the only one out there outsourcing the peer review process.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:38 PM on January 6, 2014

Sadly, the published version of the second paper (archived by the Internet Archive before it got pulled down) appears to have removed the bold/italic formatting and the paragraph breaks within each section, thus defeating the handy shortcut in this post's title.
posted by Shmuel510 at 5:52 PM on January 6, 2014

Unsurprisingly, the "Institute of Research and Journals" (tagline: "Research Integreated") is on a couple of lists of predatory/fake publishers.
Looks like it exists mostly to run these conference/publication scams - here's a NYTimes piece on this kind of pseudo-academia.

Figure 1 in "Impact of Symmetries on Cryptoanalysis" may have just injured me.

I like Figure 3 - response time (connections/sec) vs distance (# CPUs) on a planetary scale! How could anyone argue with that??
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 6:13 PM on January 6, 2014

as a published author of a scientific paper, I am apparently qualified to receive science spam inviting me to publish in various "journals" which largely seem to be in india....

science spam.

as cstross is my prophet, I'm sure I will be subject to science phishing attacks and eventually attached pdfs of scientific articles which execute code that hunts for LaTeX on my hard drive and then I wake up and discover that I have been publishing in the Journal of Pure and Applied Dildonics where upon I am science blackmailed lest the tenure committee see *all* of my publications except that I don't have a tenure committee and the whole thing seems like another sign that the end times can't come soon enough.
posted by ennui.bz at 6:23 PM on January 6, 2014 [8 favorites]

Institute of Research and Journals?

Who is their chair? Professor Professorson?
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:28 PM on January 6, 2014 [15 favorites]

Make sure you have examples of both pure and applied dildonics on your hard drive. That way you'll have your bases covered.
posted by delfin at 6:29 PM on January 6, 2014

This 1 Weird Secret, Discovered By An Indian, For Getting Published (Professors HATE It!)
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 6:39 PM on January 6, 2014 [3 favorites]

Very soon after I defended my dissertation (I think that it may have been before I officially graduated) I received an e-mail from a publisher stating an interest in my dissertation. The moment of elation went away after a five minute web-search. Had I been more credulous (or more desperate), I might have agreed to (pay them) to publish it, thus ruining any chance of having the material published in a reputable journal.

Predatory publishing is already here.
posted by oddman at 7:11 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

One section of the paper consists entirely of dialogues from the movie “My Cousin Vinny.”
Uh... everything that guy just said is bullshit...

Thank you.
posted by Redfield at 8:26 PM on January 6, 2014 [2 favorites]

Is it common to publish papers at conferences? The ones I've been to always have posters or oral presentations. Sometimes they have meetings where everyone gets together and publishes a compendium (usually a major review for a subject, composed of many parts written by individual writers) but those are usually undertaken by the most experienced people in the field, not students.

On a side note, from my experience in a Masters program for the sciences, I'd say 'recommended but not mandatory' sounds about right for publication. If your research goes well it should be publishable (and you should be capable of writing a paper by the end), but some experiments just don't give you data anyone wants to publish. If that happens, I think it should be ok to graduate with a Masters, so long as you write it up suitably well into a thesis.

Also, publication for a Masters student may come after they graduate. Since a thesis is easier to write and more forgiving than a paper, it might make more sense to write it first.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:32 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mitrovarr: The problem that prompted Navin's quest is that Indian university students, at least in engineering, are told that publication in a national or international level is a requirement for graduation. Sometimes they hear this through word-of-mouth when the actual policy is a little less strict, but sometimes it actually is university policy. Now the requirement is also affecting Bachelors students - whose work, as Navin points out, isn't likely to be in any shape to be published at all, especially not before graduation.

This requirement has led to a proliferation of predatory and scam publishers & conferences, and they're not going to go away until the central issue of graduation being contingent on publication changes.

thank you whoever flagged and deleted the h1b comment, it rubbed me the wrong way but I had totally forgotten that flagging was an option
posted by divabat at 8:37 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh yes, I understood the point of the post. I just thought I would mention that the stated policy of the University was pretty reasonable, at least within my experiences. But yeah, it's very unlikely that a Bachelors student would be able to publish anything, particularly as the first author (as they are unlikely to be able to write well enough, or have the time to do it).
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:55 PM on January 6, 2014

Similar issues in China, where grants are predicated on the number of publications rather than the quality of research.
posted by divabat at 9:13 PM on January 6, 2014

Is it common to publish papers at conferences?

In some fields. Conference papers are especially important in some subfields of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:25 PM on January 6, 2014

Heh, yeah - in computational biology, often the major conferences publish their conference papers in a special issue of a regular journal like Bioinformatics, so that both the CS and the Biology people get the locally appropriate credit on their CVs.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:04 PM on January 6, 2014

Wow, that e-mail in the first link is just cray cray. The number of undergraduate theses in science that I've seen that are worth publishing is tiny. To make it a requirement is just, I don't even have words. Like I'm actually sitting here with my mouth slightly open and my head slightly askew, trying to figure out how to describe how crazy this is.
posted by en forme de poire at 11:13 PM on January 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

Somewhat bizarrely, I get invited to present/publish at these kinds of conferences, too. Yes, the science conferences. Could have sworn I was a Victorianist, and not of the history of science variety--but hey, clearly, I'm being called to branch out.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:25 AM on January 7, 2014 [2 favorites]

Who is their chair? Professor Professorson?

That's DOCTOR Professorson to you, punk!
posted by Naberius at 6:35 AM on January 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

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