In October, I wrote an editorial informing readers and potential authors about the dangers of predatory journals. This month I'm expanding on that theme by exposing the risks of predatory conferences. Yes, there are predators in the conference world, too—and many of them are connected to the same groups involved in predatory publishing. Unfortunately, I get a lot of solicitations from these groups. I'm especially provoked when they try to use our legitimate Nursing2017 name to lure unsuspecting attendees or speakers.
A recent invitation to “solicit my gracious presence to speak” began with the line, “On behalf of Nursing 2017 Organizing Committee...” Notice the space between Nursing and 2017. Buyer beware: Beyond missing the word “the” from the sentence to make it grammatically correct, the difference between the real deal and the fake is often a single space or a single word.
When I risked following the link on this invitation, it took me to a 2016 conference agenda, not a 2017 agenda. No speakers or content were listed on the 2017 version, but the registration page offered a variety of payment options for attendees—starting with a price of over $1,100. This conference was to be held in New York about 6 days from the time of this writing. No mention was made of continuing-education credit, but the conference website looked deceptively similar to ours.
If you accept a speaking invitation from a predatory group, be prepared to foot your own travel expenses entirely. You may arrive to find a poorly organized conference, if one exists at all. Other speakers may not show up. If you're a conference attendee who paid a steep registration fee and expected a high-quality program, you may find that conference falls short on content and lacks continuing-education credit recognized by any legitimate nursing organization. The organizer might also be juggling multiple conferences at the same time in the same venue for unsuspecting nonnursing groups with similar outcomes.
Make sure you verify the legitimacy of any educational program before you sign up to attend or speak. That warning extends to accepting invitations to serve on planning committees, sometimes in name only, for these groups. Read between the lines—don't become a victim of scam conferences and deceptive marketing!
Until next time,
Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN
Editor-in-Chief, Nursing2017 Vice President: Emergency & Trauma Services Christiana Care Health System, Wilmington, Del.