WARNING: Beware of VIDEA!
Werner Purgathofer, Eduard Groeller, Martin Feda,
TU Wien / Austria.
This paper illustrates that there are conferences which will destroy
confidence in scientific life if the community does not forbid them.
The Wessex Institute of Technology (UK)  organizes a whole series of
regular conferences on various topics . Our experiences are only
with one of these, "VIDEA", but one should probably also be careful
with the others. It is an offense against honorable scientists to offer
false publication possibilities under a scientifically serious disguise
for high fees. Our conclusion is: VIDEA accepts EVERYTHING! And we
conclude from that that a publication in the VIDEA proceedings is worth
NOTHING AT ALL! And to organize such a conference is simply a fraud.
Conferences like VIDEA are a morally dispisable scheme to allow people
to buy themselves publications without having to undergo any type of
reviewing. It simply increases the flow of worthless data and makes it
more difficult for scientists to extract really useful information
Serious conferences usually introduce themselves by distributing a
"Call for Papers" including a submission deadline. After having
received contributions a technical program committee reviews and
evaluates these to come to a decision which of the submitted paper
proposals shall be accepted for the conference. Some conferences ask
for abstracts first to be able to decide whether a topic is appropriate
for their event, and ask for full papers (to be reviewed again) only
This holds also for a conference called "Visualization and
Intelligent Design in Engineering and Architecture" (VIDEA'93). Having
accepted to become a member of the program committee for VIDEA'93, one
of the authors made two suspicious observations. Firstly, he received
exactly zero abstracts and zero papers to review, and was never
informed about any program committee meetings nor of any reviewing
results. The program for the conference was finished apparently without
involvement of the scientific advisory committee. We recognized this by
receiving the printed advance program. Secondly, we submitted three
papers to this conference, and they were all accepted without any
comments, grades, or whatsoever. Meaningless to say that the visit to
this conference was very disappointing both in the sense of contents
and in the sense of organization.
When two of the authors were asked to become members of the program
committee for VIDEA'95 (to take place in La Coruna, Spain), we planned
to test if any reviews take place at all. We would send them four
abstracts that are obviously plain nonsense, that no excuse for
accepting them could be taken seriously. This paper reports about this
We decided to write more than one crazy abstract to make sure that an
acceptance cannot be interpreted as accident and so we tried different
types of weird papers proposals. The first of four abstracts we
produced was simply a completely irrelevant topic, namely how to create
footprints on the walls of public rooms. It includes several statements
that every reviewer must recognize as joke. The complete text is given
in abstract 1.
The second abstract describes a correct method which makes no sense
at all, that is how to render interior rooms without light. Obviously,
the resulting image will be completely black. This was written as in abstract 2.
These first two productions have at least a little bit the
structure of a scientific paper abstract. What we also wanted to try
was, if VIDEA would accept its own text as abstract. So we copied the
complete introduction from the "Call for Papers" and gave this abstract
the title of the conference. Minor changes were only made like changing
the word "conference" to "paper". The result is given in abstract 3.
Last but not least we decided to produce an abstract without any
content, just complete nonsense. So we took a dictionary of information
processing words and selected randomly some 40 phrases from there and
joined them together to a fantastically technical sounding text. The
given reference is, of course, the utilized dictionary! We had much fun
with abstract 4.
All abstracts were sent to the conference in November 1994 and on
January 14th, 1995 we received the results. All four abstract have been
"reviewed and provisionally accepted"! This means, that the VIDEA
conference organizers  claim someone has reviewed these abstracts
and has found them suitable for the conference! As members of the
program committee two of us had nothing to do with reviewing.
The acceptance letter also contains information from which can be
concluded that final papers will only be printed in the proceedings if
the registration fee is paid together with the final paper.
Additionally, the letter states "Due to the success of the conference
and to be fair, we can only allow each participant to present one paper
at the meeting which will be published in the proceedings" which makes
sure that every published paper is paid for by a registration fee. The
publishers (the proceedings of the last conference VIDEA'93 were
co-published by "Computational Mechanics Publications,
Southampton-Boston" and "Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd., London-New
York") probably don't have the slightest idea that they are printing
non-reviewed material as high-quality books.
We believe that Wessex Institute of Technology (or at least some people
there) profit in a very dirty way from the international pressure on
scientists to have long publication lists. They pretend to organize
scientific conferences by giving them the look of such events. They use
the names of the program committee members for economical purposes
only. They "sell" publication possibilities to less experienced or
naive members of our community and in this way ruin their work by
producing a worthless publication. It is very dangerous to tolerate
such developments. This would ruin the seriousness of our scientific
The effects of this little test definitely must be that this
conference of the Wessex Institute of Technology is abandoned and
ignored in the future and that the names of its organizers  are
watched very carefully for their future actions. We will resign from
the program committee immediately and try to warn all other program
committee members and authors of accepted papers.
Another effect of such scandals should be that the length of the
publication lists of scientists must not become so important. Rather
than that, other evaluation measures that emphasize quality instead of
quantity should be internationally further encouraged. Only by reducing
the pressure to produce lots of papers can the danger of such unmoral
events be reduced. One positive side-effect would be a reduced
intellectual pollution in some fields.
A third aspect is how scientifically serios institutions can find
support in the organization of local conferences. We want to strongly
recommend to contact the established scientific associations of your
field to ensure serious support, e.g. the national computer societies,
or specialized associations for specific fields. They usually can help
with publicity, financing, and high quality publications.
We believe that Wessex Institute of Technology is fully responsible for
this affair, and that both the university cite where VIDEA shall take
place and the publisher who will produce the proceedings are fooled in
the same way as the participants.
 Wessex Institute of Technology Ashurst Lodge, Ashurst, Southampton,
SO40 7AA, UK. Tel +44(703)293223, Fax +44(703)292853, email CMI@ib.rl.ac.uk
 WIT-conferences in 1995:
 Director: Professor C.A. Brebbia, Wessex Institute of Technology
- SQM 95 (Software Quality Management), Seville, Spain
- COMPUTATIONAL ACOUSTICS, Southampton, UK
- WATER POLLUTION 95, Porto Carras, Greece
- MARINA 95 (Planning Design and Operation) St Raphael, France
- CMEN 95 (Comp. Methods & Experimental Measurements), Capri,
- STREMA 95 (Structural Repairs & Maintenance of
Hist.Buildungs), Crete, Greece
- SDDE 95 (Soil Dynamics and Earthquake Eng.), Crete, Greece
- SURFACE TREATMENT 95, Milan, Italy
- VIDEA 95 (Visualization & Intell. Design in Eng. &
Architecture), La Coruna, Spain
- ASE 95 (Appl. of High Performance Computers in Eng.), Milan,
- BIOMED 95 (Simulation in Biomedicine), Milan, Italy
- MOVING BOUNDARIES 95, Ljubljana, Slovenia
- URBAN TRANSPORT 95, Southampton, UK
- AIENG 95 (Appl.of Artificial Intelligence in Eng.), Udine, Italy
- CONTACT MECHANICS 95, Ferrara, Italy
- BEM 17 (Boundary Element Method), Madison-Wisconsin, USA
- MARINE TRANSPORT 95, Plymouth, UK
- COASTAL ENGINEERING 95, Cancun, Mexico
- BETECH 95 (Boundary Element Technology), Liege, Belgium
- OPTI 95 (Computer Aided Optimum Design of Structures), Miama,
- MARINE TECHNOLOGY 95, Szczecin, Poland
- AIR POLLUTION 95, Porto Carras, Greece
- MICROSIM 95 (Sim.&Design of Microsystems &
Microstructures), Southampton, UK
- CMT 95 (Comp.Methods & Testing for Eng. Integrity), Kualar
Werner Purgathofer, Institute of Computer Graphics, Technical
University of Vienna.
Last update: March 23, 1995. If you have any comments, please
send a mail to wp#cg.tuwien.ac.at.