Groves of Academe: Fake it til you make it with ‘the other’ UCC

Canadian academia is well supplied with sundry frauds and phonies, from Senator Dandy Don Meredith‘s dodgy doctorates from campus-free Christian colleges (Franks passim) on down, without our accredited diploma mills getting in on the act.

And yet our institutes of lower larnin’ will this year repeatedly rent their facilities (and reputations) to the distinctly sketchy organizers of predatory conferences, the live-in-person equivalent of those bogus pay-for-play academic journals.

These conferences appear solely designed to separate resume-padding academics from their research budgets. Instead of employing expensive and time-consuming ‘experts’ to review and reject weak submissions, they democratically allow just about anyone to present any old shite they want, so long as they pay the registration fee.

One purveyor of these synthetic symposiums, Unique Conferences Canada (UCC), claims on its website to be “the leading Canadian research conference organizer.” UCC will hold at least eight conferences in Toronto and Ottawa in 2017 and help organize others in, er, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

All the better to fleece the sheepskin set where they live, UCC has booked conference space at Ryerson University’s International Living and Learning Centre, the University of Toronto’s Chestnut Conference Centre, and St. Paul University in Ottawa.

Other events this year explore everything from nutrition to law to wimmins’s studies. Fees to give a ten-minute speech run up to $600 U.S. UCC also invites scholars to “publish your paper without attending.” For a mere $250, researchers can upload PowerPoint slides to YouTube and publish in the conference proceedings.

Curiously, for the Canadian leader in organizing academic bunfests, UCC proved tricky to track down. Its website lists office hours as 9-5 “Canadian Standard Time” but gives no address or phone number. The address UCC used to obtain a Canadian International Standard Book Number for conference proceedings is a North York apartment.

Website registry information show conference convener Prabhath Patabendi using a Sri Lankan address for UCC. Patabendi also serves as director for the doubtless-prestigious “International Center for Research and Development,” headquartered at the same address. Patabendi failed to reply to multiple requests for Unique Conferences’ Canadian address, if any.

When informed UCC didn’t seem to exist in Canada and furthermore appears to be running complete bullshit events at U of T’s facilities, a Chestnut Centre sales manager declined to comment. Ryerson’s Learning Centre and St. Paul University also ignored Frank inquiries.

Canadian professors also assist UCC in its lucrative educational endeavours. Wimal Rankaduwa, professor of economics at the University of PEI, gives keynote speeches and serves on an “International Scientific Committee”. He told Frank UCC events help researchers unable to participate in large academic conferences, but didn’t know their Canadian address, either.

Another keynote speaker and committee member, Tennyson Samraj, professor of philosophy and religion at Burman University, academic jewel of Lacombe, AB, failed to reply to multiple emails.

Eva C. Karpinski, associate professor at York University’s School of Women’s Studies, agreed to give a keynote address in Toronto. She says that she’s never heard of predatory conferences but already developed “suspicions” about the event and asked Frank for advice about what to do.

Er, stay in school?

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10 comments on “Groves of Academe: Fake it til you make it with ‘the other’ UCC
  1. daveS says:

    Ah, and OMICS International, one of the world’s biggest publishers of fake and substandard science studies for cash, which is trying to expand into Ottawa.
    And once it gets a Canadian company, it adds 20 to 30 of its own ultra-low quality journals from India, Pakistan and Turkey to the Canadian brand.
    Omics bought Pulsus Group and Andrew John Publishing, two Canadian publishers of medical journals, earlier last year. These were quickly turned into Junk for Cash publications.

    The American-German academic blog noted in January 2017 that “the Beall predatory publisher list, when started the list in 2011, had 18 publishers on the list. Now there are 1155! The number of standalone journals has gone from 126 to 1294 in the same time period.”

  2. miskwabiman says:

    OMICS is just a C short of Comics. Just sayin’.

    • daveS says:

      New word, or an English-language neologism, “-omics” informally refers to a field of study in biology ending in -omics, such as genomics, proteomics or metabolomics.

      Hey Third World or Women’s Studies scholars, can’t get published or noticed? Create a new field and push your unread papers there. No more rejections or years-long treks through respectable journals’ review boards, predatory journals and conferences have good fake names to lend credulity and glitter tinsel to your burbelings.

  3. daveS says:

    Nature, the UK general science journal, last week had a nice article on these “people” offering prospective scholars the editorship of a journal, for a fee. The article “Predatory journals recruit fake editor” also showed how they find ‘you’ and how they share the proceeds with the ‘editors’.
    This week, Nature comments on “Investigating journals: The dark side of publishing”.

    National Research Council Press, (now called Canadian Science Publishing, an independent, not-for-profit scholarly publisher, privatized out of the NRC) talks about how to keep your ‘spidey’ senses up for fake conferences and journals in The CSP Blog, “How to Keep Your Research Out of Fake Journals and Scam Conferences”, March 23, 2017

  4. John MacLachlan Gray says:

    Of course predatory publishing is well-established in Canadian ahts – an “institute” puts your poem in an “anthology” on condition that you buy the thing at a ridiculous price – the regal-sounding Poetry Institute of Canada comes to mind.

  5. wolfkir says:

    The inevitable by-product of credentialism. Move along. Nothing to see here.

  6. daveS says:

    Of course, Frank Magsters exposed Canada’s home-grown fake academia with the find that people and most academic libraries across Canada were buying ‘intellectual sounding’ books from an Edward Mellen Press, a sounds-alike name that seemed OK, until you opened the “books”
    Carleton’s Gould Library across the train tracks from the Frank offices has 916 of them before they realized that they had been had.
    University of Toronto has many more thousand (4457 ) worthless tomes because Herbert Richardson of University of St. Michael’s College, was the publisher.

  7. OJM says:

    In the federal government this sort of thing is called “The End-of-Fiscal Follies”…this town is chock-a-block with conferencing-and-consulting shysters who specialize in helping Ottawa sluggos’s dispose of unspent budget threatening to discredit their plangent pleas for more money and staff.

  8. daveS says:

    I hope that Eva C Karpinski read The CSP Blog, “How to Keep Your Research Out of Fake Journals and Scam Conferences”, March 23, 2017.
    I see that she falls for the fraud and likewise. Web pages that pretend to present an academic community and will hold your papers uploaded (forever) for other poor scholars to ignore. Thousands of foolish Canadian grad students and lowly professors are listed.
    She has Polish degrees, Ph.D. American Literature, University of Poznan, Poland, and M.A. English (summa cum laude), University of Wroclaw, Poland. With an additional Ph.D. from York itself (‘Borrowed tongues’ : life writing and translation in immigrant women’s narratives / Eva C. Karpinski. York U Ph.D. Thesis, 2003), she should have the intuition to shun such Icky conferences.

    That Nature article above, “Predatory journals recruit fake editor” had a series of young Polish academics in psychology and ocmmunications at University of Wroclaw, and the Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland created a profile of a fictitious scientist named Anna O. Szust to apply on her behalf to the editorial boards of 360 journals.
    Oszust is the Polish word for ‘a fraud’.
    They also created accounts for Szust on, Google+ and Twitter, and made a faculty webpage at the Institute of Philosophy at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan.

    This is now a sensation in the scientific and academic world.

    Reader-Scholar beware!

  9. Rosemary Rich says:

    Publish or Perish at Fellatiofest 2017! — Reminds me of PCPO mob-boss John ‘Myk the Knife’ Mykytyshyn and his ‘Conservative LeaderSHIT Foundation’. Same Zig Ziglar shit. Different Punjabi spoon.

    Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi is 104.

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