[from Prof. Brebbia, 21 Mar 1995]
Dear Drs Purgathofer, Groeller and Feda
We noticed at the time of preparing the provisional programme that your
papers were not serious and much to our regret we did not include in the
We were planning to write to you regarding this matter but did not want to
take any action before consulting with other members of the committee.
As you will see, the papers have not been printed in the Provisional
I regret very much that you have carried out this exercise as the abstracts
were accepted in view of the excellent name of your Institute. A copy of the
printed provisional programme is now being sent to you.
Prof. C A Brebbia
[from Prof. Brebbia, 24 Mar 1995]
V I D E A 9 5
You may have recently seen a message placed on the Internet by Dr Purgathofer and Dr Groeller of the Institute of Computer Graphics at the Technical University of Vienna. In this message the technical content of the conference is criticized and questions raised about other conferences which staff at the Wessex Institute of Technology are associated.
These allegations are completely unfounded and we believe raise serious questions about the motives of Dr Purgathofer and Dr Groeller and their colleagues.
The facts of the case are as follows:-
1. Dr Purgathofer and Dr Groeller accepted an invitation to join the Scientific Advisory Board of the conference VIDEA 95.
2. Dr Purgathofer and Dr Groeller and their colleagues in Vienna submitted abstracts to the conference (which subsequently were found to be a spoof). It is deplorable that colleagues from one of the best known universities in the world, should betray the trust of the International Scientific community in this way.
3. These abstracts were provisionally accepted in good faith as they came from one of the advisory board members.
Note: It is relevant to state at this point what the review process is for the conference.
Abstracts are reviewed for relevance to the conference and its technical objectives. Certain weight is also given to the author, organisation and reputation in the field. It is obviously not possible at this stage to assess on the brief information provided, the full technical merit of the proposed paper. A provisional acceptance is given at this stage.
A second review is made after submission of the full paper. This review covers the technical merit and format of the paper. Only after this stage is the paper finally accepted.
4. During the preparation of the conference programme, certain questions were raised about the abstracts submitted by the people from Vienna and they were not included in the provisional programme.
5. A message was placed on the Internet (by the people from Vienna) recording that the spoof papers had been accepted by the conference. (Note: They had only been provisionally accepted.)
In this case the abstracts in question were submitted by the people in Vienna in a deliberate attempt to "set up" the conference. The authors, being experienced people, would have been aware that the conference would provisionally accept abstracts from advisory board members and their colleagues. They also knew that any spoof abstracts would be unlikely to be discovered until the provisional programme was prepared or receipt of the full papers. It can only be concluded that their action was malicious.
We do not understand the motives of these people and we find their action offensive, as it abuses the trust we all place in our colleagues in the International Scientific community. The foundations of the research community rely on the presentation of the latest research results in conferences and journals and the honesty of our colleagues in presenting truthful research and unbiased opinions of each others work. If this type of behavior was repeated by others the foundation of our scientific knowledge base would be undermined.
We totally refute the allegation regarding the quality of the conferences associated with Wessex Institute of Technology and by implication the researchers and other institutions associated with the conferences. The Institute prides itself on its research and its collaboration with world class research centres in many countries. The Institutes conference programme has been extremely successful in bringing together scientists from all over the world and providing opportunities for young scientists to interact with more experienced colleagues.
Since the publication of the allegation on the Internet we have received many messages of support from colleagues throughout the world which we very much appreciate.
WIT stands on its record of achievement as an Institution dedicated to Phd training and research. Our commitment to uphold the ideals and integrity of the international research community is well known.
Professor C A Brebbia
Wessex Institute of Technology
[XXX obtained this reply from Wessex on 24 March, 1995:]
Thank you for your message regarding SQM 95 and VIDEA 95.
We totally refute all the allegations (see below) and I am sure you will agree that any conference could be "set up" in this way. I think this tells us more about the particular people in Vienna than anything else.
I can assure you that there is a very thorough reviewing procedure for the SQM conference both at the abstract stage and on receipt of the full paper. The technical chair distributes abstracts to the committee members for their opinion as to their suitability for the conference. (From my own experience, each paper has been seen by at least three people.)
We can assure you that the conference is run on strictly scientific grounds and is completely self supporting.
We would like to ensure that our side of the story is given equal publicity so I would appreciate you giving copies of our response to any of your colleagues who have received the original message.
Thanking you for your help.
Dr Robert Adey
Wessex Institute of Technology
[message distributed by Prof. Brebbia, about 31 March, 1995]
WIT has collaborated with World Class scientists, universities and research institutions in the organization of approximately 200 major scientific and professional conferences since our preset programme started in 1986. Furthermore I stimate that we have also arranged around 100 other meetings prior to that date under our previous name of Computational Mechanics Institute.
All these meetings were very successful as they have had the support of the scientific community as evidenced by the number of colleagues that continue to take part and the number of conference proceedings distributed after the meeting by the publishers. These proceedings have always been carefully edited as it is in the interests of all that they are distributed widely throughout the scientific and professional community. Papers from these proceedings are routinely referenced in the scientific literature.
The process of organizing successful meetings involves the trust of the community in WIT's conference programme as well as WIT trusting those colleagues who serve in the organizing and advisory committees of our conferences. This type of trust is normal in the scientific world and is essential for all of us to operate properly. Up to now there has never been any instance in which this mutual trust has been violated, which speaks highly of the whole community.
Papers submitted to a conference go through a review process which is although faster than the one for a journal (due to deadlines) requires the examination of the abstract and/or paper by scientists expert in the field. This serves the purpose of a conference, i.e. to provide timely information in a rapid fashion.
The first step of this review process usually involves appraisals of short abstracts by two reviewers. Abstracts are in some cases subjected to a revised review process when they are received from keynote speakers, invited lecturers, session organizers and those co-organizers of the meeting who actively canvas for papers within certain groups or amongst their colleagues. In the case of Prof. Purgathofer and Dr Groeller, one logically assumed that those abstracts sent by them and their colleagues had already been assessed by them as they were members of the Conference Scientific Committee of VIDEA/95. In addition they submitted papers of good quality VIDEA/93 which were published in the conference book.
Consequently we did not review their abstracts at this stage and the contributions were provisionally accepted. Final acceptance is given during the process of reviewing and editing the papers.
The abstracts maliciously sent by Prof. Purgathofer et al. were however assessed at the moment of preparing the preliminary programme as at that moment the papers were split into sessions and the contributions in question were taken away from the programme as shown in the printed version of that programme which you may have received by now. Upon discovering the shameful action of Prof. Purgathofer et al. I consulted with my colleague Prof. Hernandez to decide which action to take. At that moment Prof. Purgathofer et al. started to broadcast their message in the INTERNET.
I must emphasize that final papers are always carefully reviewed before they are passed for publication in the conference book. It is usual in the conferences to reject a large proportion of papers and our record shows that on average only 60% of papers whose abstracts have been offered are printed in the conference books. This process reflects in the high standard of our Conferences and Proceedings and it makes sense to our organization as the more information is used and referred throughout the world the more credit WIT receives. The International Scientific Community is well aware of this and our conference proceedings have always reached a substantial number of sales, including the proceedings of VIDEA/93. As far as I can remember we have never received a complaint about the quality of our conference proceedings but rather numerous messages of congratulation and complimentary reviews in the scientific literature, including a message from Dr Groeller, saying that he found VIDEA/93 interesting and that he wanted his name to be included in the Scientific Advistory Committee! Taking into account the number of successful conferences organized by WIT our record speaks highly of our activities.
I understand now why Prof. Purgathofer et al. have decided to behave so maliciously after having accepted to be members of the Committee of VIDEA/95, and it will be difficult for anybody within the international scientific community to put trust in that group, in circumstances where Prof. Purgathofer is co-organizing a similar meeting to be held in Dublin on precisely the same dates as our conference. They have put in disrepute their own Technical University of Vienna and the whole of the INTERNET which they are using to spread spiteful comments.
Finally the Wessex Institute of Technology is an educational charity of which I have the honour of being Founder and Honorary Director. Conferences are self supporting and the Institute makes no profits. All moneys are spent supporting our research and training activities. WIT stands on its record of achievement.
Dr C A Brebbia
Thank you very much for your E.Mail.
Before you make up your mind regarding this important matter you should carefully read our reply to the malicious and defamatory allegations from the Viena group. They bring into disrepute their University, the whole of the academic community and the freedom of speech enjoyed by the INTERNET.
Their activities should be curtailed by the academic and scientific community. Prof. Pergathofer et al have tried to undermine the VIDEA conference by playing a dirty trick in order to promote their own meeting in Dublin on the same topic and at the same time.
I am enclosing copy of our reply and have instructed our lawyers to take legal action.
I would appreciate your support at this difficult time for our Institute. Could you broadcast my message to all those colleagues who you are aware have received this message.a Further news about this unpleasant episode will be released after consultation with our lawyers.
Prof. Carlos Brebbia
[mail of Prof. Brebbia to Trinity College, Dublin]
I understand that you are involved in a meeting to be held in Dublin from the June 12-14 1995 which has been co-organized by Prof. Purgathofer of Viena Technical University.
I think that you should be aware that Prof. Purgathofer at al. have circulated an Email critizing the VIDEA/95 Conference that we are organizing in La Coune in spite of being in the Advisory Committee of the meeting.
I am enclosing my reply to his malicious allegations which we first discovered are prompted by his involvement in the Dublin meeting on the same dates.
The attitude of Prof. Purgathofer et al. is highly unethical due to his intents to sabotage VIDEA/95 for clear personnel gains.
We are now taking legal action against Prof. Purgathofer et al. but I think that the International Scientific Community should be fully aware of the behaviour of this group.
People like Prof. Purgathofer are a disgrace to this famous University.
Please do not hesatite to contact me if you wish to have further information.
Prof. Brebbia & Prof. Hernandez