This file contains - sorted by date - all reactions we received between March 20th and April 6th, 1995, after we distributed the story "Warning: Beware of VIDEA!" on the internet on March 20th, 1995. A set of reactions after April 6th is also available.

All names were substituted by XXX, except for ours and those of the people from WIT. Only in rare cases completely irrelevant stuff was cut out, beyond that nothing was eliminated or censored. Messages distributed by Prof. Brebbia and our comments on selected messages are in separate files. Messages are separated by horizontal lines. All reactions reflect the personal opinions of the senders and do not necessarily coincide with our opinion.

e-mail reactions:

Thanks for the VIDEA report ! Indeed, horrible, and, as you promised I
really had great fun reading it !
I was amused by you email.  One thing that puzzles me is why Prof Brebbia 
should give an email address at Rutherford Appleton Lab ( - 
when he appears to be based in Southampton.

Out of interest I searched one of our bibliographic databases (ISI) for the 
last 3 years looking for C.A.Brebbia.  I found papers giving the 
following affiliations.  I'm not sure you can draw any sensible 
conclusions from this, but there seems to be some inconsistency in who he 
wants to appear to be associated with. (Two of the 11 papers, co-authored 
with someone from Japan, gave no separate address).

ich gratuliere Dir zu der aufschlussreichen, gruendlichen und sicherlich
ueber jeden Zweifel erhabenen Analyse der Aktivitaeten von Brebbia.
Congratulations to Professor Purgathofer et al. for making my day with the
most hilarious paper abstract I've read in quite some time.  I admit to
not quite sharing their sense of moral outrage, which isn't to be taken
as condoning the actions of the VIDEA organisers.  On a weekly basis,
I get invitations to write chapters for books.  Some of them are from
very reputable people, but a lot of these invitations would charge *you*
money for publication; obviously these too are scams.

Perhaps there are misguided academics out there who believe that padding
their CV's with this kind of filler is helpful, but this is the first
thing that is noticed in peer review for grants and in tenure review
for ... you know what.

Furthermore, and this is consonant with what XXX said a few weeks
back, we need more fora (proper plural just to please XXX) in
which half-done and half-baked ideas can be presented and even written
up.  We do have to identify them as such, and even such a workshop
should have a properly functioning review committee.  But I would hate
to see our outrage with pseudoconferences like VIDEA undermine earnest
attempts at promoting new research ideas and fora.
I have heard of this sort of thing in the psychological literature,
but only journals, not conferences. 
It certainly seems that there was an intent to deceive here, as a
technical committee was recruited and advertised but apparently
completely ignored.
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I'm sure that tenure
committees will be on the lookout.
I read your comments on VIDEA and the WIT with great interest. I had a paper
accepted for one of their conferences on parallel CFD they had organised in
about 1990. There were no reviewers comments - and having accepted the paper I
then got details of the conference and the registration fee was .. $450!! No
discount for authors or academics!  That was purely for the registration and a
copy of the proceedings, lunches etc were extra. Furthermore the organisers
provided no help what so ever for accommodation apart from supplying the
address of the tourist information in Boston (I think it was). Anyway I
withdrew the paper from the conference and got a critical letter from the
organisers for doing so. I have subsequently heard that WIT organise these
conferences purely to make money. Needless to say I have never submitted a
paper to another conference they have organised!
Nice work!  But if you don't attend VIDEA 95 then you'll have to publish
"The Footprint Function for the Realistic Texturing of Public Room Walls"
somewhere else!  It would look good in a curriculum vitae.

Thanks for doing this experiment and sharing it with everybody on
globillum.  If you haven't done so, I suggest you post this to the
news groups news.announce.conferences and
I'll post it for you, if you can't.  It's important that information
about scams like this gets out to many people.

A few questions:  do you think that all Wessex Inst of Tech conferences
are bogus, or do you only know that VIDEA is?
Have you sent this same message to people at Wessex Inst of Tech?
Do you think C. A. Brebbia is part of the scam?
I don't know him personally, but I've read some of his papers,
and although he is a prolific publisher and editor of papers and books,
his work is solid as far as I know.  He is very well known in the
finite element analysis field.  One of his books is:

    AUTHOR={C. A. Brebbia and J. Dominguez},
    TITLE={Boundary Elements: An Introductory Course},
    PUBLISHER={Computational Mechanics Publications},
    keywords={finite element method},

If you haven't done so already, I think you should check out some of
the other Wessex conferences before suggesting that all of their
conferences are bogus.
Thank you for the VIDEA '95 warning ... and thank you also
for your hilarious "extended abstracts". I laugh every time
I think about your "footprints on the walls!"
Of course, you could submit the full papers to a reputable
publication like the "Journal of Irreproducible Results" ...
Incidentally I believe this email is slanderous and could put you in a
serious legal position if seen by people involved with the Conference.
Actually encouraging people to commit a crime is a criminal act.
Personally I thought some of the four Abstracts were OK. I am sure the
first would have been accepted by SIGGRAPH.
As you all have so much energy and time to waste, would it not be worth
putting it to a more positive use?
Thanks for your information on the VIDEA'95 conference. What you have
done is much more than amusement (though I must admit it WAS amusing),
it is the exposure of malpractice in our field of science. You
deserve merit for the time and effort you have put into it. I just
want to speak up in your support, as it is all too easy to represent
your efforts as negative and even 'slanderous'.
With regard to your comment to Werner, the point I was trying to make was
that there is a need for publication in academia. My remarks may have been
coloured by the previous day having attended our local promotion reviews
where the number of papers published by people in the computing area is
quite low, under 5 for a really good person in a year if he does not
attempt to be a paper factory. This compares with an Astronomer or a
Particle Physics who will average 35 papers a year, and some of these are
in Journals where you pay to have the paper printed. In consequence it does
not help the computer scientists if we do not provide adequate publication
I would like to express my stand point of view about your e-mail
subjected: "Beware of VIDEA".

I have been in contact with the Wessex Institute of Technology
since 1986 when I attended in Los Angeles (USA) the Envirosoft'86
Conference. I can talk only about "Environmental" subjects.

I have to say that in general the scientific level of the Environmental
(Air) Conferences has been high and sound. I would like to give
just an example about it and everybody who wish more information
can contact me or Wessex Institute. Last Air Pollution
Conference held in the Technical University of
Catalunya last September'94 had as
International Scientific Advisory Conference scientists such as:

Prof.-Dr. Gregory R. Carmichael from Iowa University. He is one
of the most important scientists in photochemical air pollution
models in the United States as every scientist involved in
the field knows.

Prof.-Dr. Robert D. Bornstein, from San Jose State University,
San Jose, California (U.S.A.). His numerical mesoscale model UAM
is the only one accepted by the Environmental Protection Agency
of USA and he is Director of Atmospheric Environment (-Urban) Journal.

Prof.-Dr. A. Ebel, Professor of the Koln University (Germany), Director
of the EUMAC (Eurotrac) project and director of the EURAD model
for Europe. With sound applications such as Chernobil case study,
Kuwait spill simulation, etc.

I could continue with a very long list of scientists who from the
Environmental stand point of view are absolutly recognized in the
environmental scientific community.

Finally, I have to say that Dr. C.A. Brebbia addressed me in San Francisco
last November'94 for organizing a Conference in XXX in 1996 or 1997
and we are working in such event which has been very well
accepted in the scientific community I have contacted.
I recently saw a copy of your "Beware of VIDEA!" message and enjoyed
it immensely.  However, the copy I received did not clearly state
whether or not any of the fake abstracts were actually accepted for
the VIDEA '95 conference.  I'd be interested in hearing about the
results, if they are available.
Thanks for the VIDEA letter - I have forwarded it on to the entire research
group here at XXX.  Your abstracts are indeed wonderful - I was
laughing out loud here in my office as I read them.  Well done!
Ich hab heute das von der VIDEA gelesen - ich glaub so ist es ganz
gut dargestellt, was man von diesem (Pseudo-)Institut halten soll ;-)
I think I will send in 10 papers. They will look good on my vitae, right?
Keep up the investigations!
For your information, the Wessex Institute of Technology used to be
called the "Computational Mechanics Institute" (hence the e-mail 
address CMI). It was set up many years ago by a *former* (note the
emphasis) lecturer in the Department of Civil Engineering at
Southampton, and at first just ran courses in computational mechanics.
Later the name was changed and they started running courses and 
conferences on everything under the sun. A year or two ago they
entered into some sort of formal relationship with Portsmouth University.
        I have received your most interesting account of the VIDEA case.  For
some years I have been concerned with the problems of quality-assurance in
science, and this real example is very useful for me.

        I would like to discuss your final "Important Note".  There you put all
the blame on the Wessex Institute of Technology, excusing the university hosting
the affair and the publisher on the grounds that they are "fooled in the same
way as the participants".  Now, one can imagine that the host university could
easily be fooled, since they are really acting only as a conference centre, and
the involvement of their name and reputation is minimal.  But can we simply say
that the publishers are "fooled"?  As you say earlier, "The publisher (Elsevier)
probably doesn't have the slightest idea that they are printing non-reviewed
material as high-quality books".  In that case, we might ask, "really?", and
"why not?".  Elsevier is not just a printing house; it is a famous firm whose
imprint is itself a guarantee of quality.  Do they do nothing to check the
quality of what they publish?  It would not be expensive for them to send a
standard letter to members of the scientific committee, to satisfy themselves
that refereeing is actually being done.

        So while I agree with your efforts to expose this fraud, I consider that
your indignation might be directed, not only at the obscure institution that is
working a shady little business, but also at the distinguished firm that is also
making money selling shoddy goods.  I would be very interested to know if you
have discussed this problem with Elsevier, and what sort of reply you have had.


Your email message about VIDEA95 has been forwarded to me by a
colleague, and I have since been able to look at your web page.  So far
as I am aware no Elsevier Science company or journal is associated with
this meeting and I would be grateful if you could let me know how you
received information to the contrary.

Elsevier Science has a specific mission and commitment to quality as an
essential component of effective scientific information and we would not
knowingly publish any material that did not support that aim.

The proceedings of the last conference VIDEA'93 were co-published by
"Computational Mechanics Publications, Southampton-Boston" and
"Elsevier Science Publishers Ltd., London-NewYork" with
ISBN 1-85166-837-3, ISBN 1-85312-227-0, and ISBN 1-56252-151-9.

Since the Call for Papers of VIDEA'95 states the same as in 1993, namely "The 
Proceedings of the Conference will be published in book form by Computational 
Mechanics Publications ..." we assumed that the same publication mechanism would be 
applied as last time. If you are not involved this time, please let us know and we will 
change future versions of the "Beware of VIDEA" message.

Thanks for your note.  The copublication agreement we had with CMP
lasted from 1991 to 1993, and we no longer have any involvement with
their book publications.  I should emphasise that this discontinuation was
for commercial reasons alone.
I would like to make one point and ask two questions.
1. No reputable conference known to me accepts papers,
even provisionally, just because they come from the
program committee.
2. At which university does Professor Brabbia have a chair?
3. Is the Wessex Institute a commercial organization?
Your recent note about VIDEA came my way (via a round about route).
Very nice experiment!  I think your results ought to be disseminated further.
Why don't you send it to the New Scientist?  It is just the
sort of article that they might like to print - either from you as
an author (then it would be a REAL publication !!), or through one of 
their column authors (like their Feedback column) - then it could remain 
There is the small issue of libel - but I guess you could easily stick to 
the facts.
I appreciate the memos, Werner.  Having met the Wessex people at a
VR conference in 1992, I was surprised by their involvement given
the relative lack of experience they brought to the topic.  So your
observations are not unexpected.
I thank you very much for this email and I thank for the time that
you spent in writing it.
I wonder that you redistribute also any answer from the VIDEA organizing
comitee about your ideas.
Thank you for taking the trouble to expose this fraud.
Your footprint paper was pretty fun, by the way.
Are you acquainted with the Journal of Irreproducible Results?  (A scientific
humor magazine that publishes accounts of dubious accomplishments, spoofs,
parodies, etc.)  Your report strikes me as the kind of thing they would be
glad to publish.  They spend a fair bit of time looking for real papers,
conferences, etc., that are absurd or vacuous.
I received a forwarded copy of your warning about VIDEA'95 and the Wessex
Institute of Technology.  Thank you!

It occurs to me that there is an additional potential for abuse of trust in
the integrity of the peer review process (and in the integrity of XXX
and other associated organizations) that wasn't explicitly mentioned in
your posting ...

A number of "fringe science" organizations - such as the Institute for
XXX here in XXX - are constantly searching
for ways to enhance their appearance of scientific legitimacy in the eyes
of the public.  One method they have tried is to "rebut" real scientists in
the popular press using citations from "scientific journals" - which
invariably turn out to be non-peer-reviewed publications of their own
organization (or of related groups).

I sincerely hope that the "scientists" at the Institute for XXX didn't see
your message and get any ideas ...
Thank you for your efforts regarding VIDEA '95. 

I would agree that there is intense pressure to build publication lists. 
My own mostly conference proceedings with a few solo papers in reputable
journals. However, I am also
keenly aware that persons who review my publications for grant proposals,
teaching appointments, etc. *do not* take conference publications
seriously.  In fact, I have been on review boards where it is common
practice to cross out all publications on the applicants bibliography that
are not from "archival" journals; i.e., journals with well-known editorial

Although the practices you describe at VIDEA are horrid, similar behavior
is not uncommon.  Many organizers are under pressure to bring in a high
number of participants just to break even on the cost of facilities (and
very often to also pay for their own travel to the conference). Since
organizations are reluctant to send employees to a conference unless the
individual is presenting a paper, the conference organizers again feel
pressured to accept many papers.  It is only when a conference becomes a
smashing commercial success that this behavior is truly broken. 

I do not condone the above practices, but mention it to highlight the
*many* motivations individuals have to stray from ethical scientific
dissimenation practices.  Ultimately, conferences should be viewed as a
place to (1) catch up on current, marginally reviewed peer activity (2)
scout for new talent (3) meet (known) leading researchers face-to-face,
and (4) a chance to chat with your peers. Some conferences have a long
lead time on submissions (e.g., IEEE) and a more stringent review process. 
However, I have never encountered a conference review board whose resolve
matches those of the leading archival journals. 
Danke fuer die Info - zuerst hielt ich das ja fuer einen Scherz - ich nehme
aber jetzt an es ist ganz ernst -
ist das Information die auch der breiten …ffentlichkeit zugŠnglich gemacht
werden kann? Ich schreibe gelegentlich Ÿber Technology Issues und das wŠre
sicher ein Thema. Ich kann mit und ohne direkte Zitate darŸber schreiben
I have just received your mail regarding the VIDEA conference, and the
activities of the Wessex Institute of Technology. I am shocked and
appalled by what I read. I am an ex-lecturer in Computer Science at
Southampton University. I left ten years ago, but have maintained
links with it since. The university has one of the highest academic
reputations in the UK. It is not to be confused with the Wessex
Institute of Technology, which I have never heard of. But such a scandal
is bound to reflect on the whole of UK science, let alone institutions
anywhere in the vicinity of Southampton. 

Worse, I believe that I recall the name of Prof. Brebbia, and that he
was at one time on the staff of the university. I also note that the
e-mail address you give for VIDEA is located at the Rutherford-Appleton
laboratory, a highly respectable government research institution. 

I must admit that I found your investigative procedure so creative and
amusing that I was almost distracted from the seriousness of the
accusations it contains. You were very wise to collect such evidence
before going public, since there could clearly be serious legal
implications. As an (ex) member of the UK scientific community, I am
certainly prepared to take any action necessary to put a stop to the
kind of thing which appears to have been going on in the UK. But before
I start sending mails of my own to investigate all this, can you tell me
whether you have already had any reaction from the UK? Is anyone else
there already dealing with it? (I just received your mail from a
colleague in Australia, via a colleague of his in Singapore - the world
is indeed a small place nowadays!)
     I have been passed a copy of your email, "Beware of VIDEA!".  I 
     submitted papers to the first and second SQM conferences and my 
     experience was not dissimilar to yours.  On the second conference they 
     wrote after the conference fees had been set asking for an extra 
     payment for the proceedings (which are ludicrously expensive anyway) as 
     they had not been able to secure sponsorship.  I was suspicious as, at 
     least as far as has been my experience, all other conferences provide 
     a copy of the proceedings as part of the registration fee.  The extra 
     payment made the conference too expensive and, although I wanted to 
     withdraw at that point, WIT made it clear that they were going to hang 
     on to my money tenaciously.
     It was readily apparent that WIT are little more than a vanity 
     publisher - I never saw any comments on my papers, and when I looked 
     at the proceedings it was pretty obvious that they had published 
     everything received, no doubt to maximize revenue from conference 
     registrations and sales of proceedings.  This is very dispiriting for 
     new researchers, who need honest criticism if they are to improve 
     their research/paper-writing skills.
     I think the SQM conference is sponsored by the British Computer 
     Society SQM specialist group.  So, proceedings published by Elsevier 
     (reputable publisher), conference supported by BCS - everything looks 
     good from the outside, but as you so rightly point out, it is a 
     cynical exercise in extracting money from academics in return for 
     publications (yes, there might be some cynicism on the side of 
     academics getting easy publications).  
     I will write to the BCS and attach a copy of your email, expressing my 
     concern about the activities of the WIT.  If you want any further 
     details from me, please let me know.
It seems that Vienna is becoming known not only as the city 
of music but also as the city of people with righteous minds ! 
Horray for exposing this scam!  Unfortunately my experience
in computer science has shown that there is a lot of (less-blatantly)
worthless literature.
war koestlich zu lesen! Am besten haelt man es wohl mit
den bewaehrten Organisationen und deren Konferenzen. 
es ist sehr verdienstvoll, dass Sie sich so viel Muehe gemacht haben, die
unsauberen Praktiken am WIT aufzudecken! Herausgekommen ist eine Satire...
Thank you very much for your message about Wessex. We got also problems
with the people from VIDEA. In 1993, they invited us for "an invited
paper" and a tutorial. However, their invitation was in fact a strange
invitation: we should have paid for our travel, accomodations and
registration !!! When we said no,
they said that they can pay an honorarium for the tutorial, which will
be used to pay the fees for the conference. Finally, we did not present
the paper and cancel also the tutorial and did not attend of course
VIDEA '93. For VIDEA '95, I don't know why we are in the committee and
of course, we did not receive any paper to review. I think this is
really a junk conference and I completely approved your position. I
will send a formal letter just to say that I don't want to be anymore
in the program committee. Unfortunately, there are a few organizations
like this that just try to get money by organizing conferences without
any criteria of selection just for business. I just would like to
tell you that there is another one very similar in XXX organized
by something like YYY. Last year, it was called ZZZ. They invited
us to give a tutorial. We were promised some
money, we never got anything. The company who organized this has
disappeared. But this year, the conference is organized again by another
company with the same people. Also here, there is a big program committee,
but all papers are accepted if the authors pay the conference fees !!!
Thanks for your message re VIDEA. They invited me to be involved with
their VIDEA 93 event - I gave an invited paper and remember seeing you
there. It was a pretty poor event, I agree. Apart from the quality of
the presentations, the quality of chairmanship annoyed me, with tedious
speakers being allowed to ramble on and others having to cut down their
presentations. I didn't stay until the end, but that was easier for me
as I merely had to drive home.

They have once more put my name on their 'international committee' for
this year's event, but I have heard nothing about reviewing papers. They
seem to put names on their list that will give them some cachet of
quality (I don't mean mine here!). I am to get in touch with them to
ask them to remove my name from their list. I have not done anything
for this year's event and have no intention of doing anything for it.

I think there is scope amongst all the conferences that proliferate for
an event where untried authors can talk to each other about their work.
The point that you have made clear is whether the nature of the event is
clear to participants beforehand. If participants believe that their
abstracts have been subject to proper critical review when it is clear
that has not been done, that is inexcusable and you're action has exposed

Incidentally, the reason I first considered becoming involved with WIT
was due to their good reputation amongst some of my Engineering colleagues.
Apparently they have put together some interesting events in Boundary
Element methods, an area which is the speciality of their leader,
Carlos Brebbia. The organisation is, I believe, a private profit making
organisation, rather than a properly founded University as the name
may suggest, although they have claimed some connections with Southampton
University in the past and, I believe, Portsmouth University at the moment?

Thanks for circulating your piece - you were right, it did amuse me.
Absolutely amazing...
ich habe sehr gelacht ueber ihre lustigen abstracts - und es ist
tatsaechlich eine schande, dass jemand konferenzen so skrupellos
organisiert. das es das gibt ist nicht neu - ja es kommt haeufiger vor, als
man glaubt, auch wenn es nur wenige um geld wegen tun (ihr fall ist
wahrscheinlich einer von denen). ich hoffe, dass sie selber nicht zuviel
dabei verloren haben...

generell gilt, dass man nicht nur die laenge einer publikatinenliste
anschauen kann, sondern eben auch die qualitaet der publikationen wuerdigen
muss. in den u.s.a. ist das 'eingeboren', weil man damit schon beim
maturazeugnis und dem hochschuldiplom anfangen muss: es kommt nicht sosehr
darauf an, welches fach man studiert hat und welche noten man hat, sondern
vorallem, ob man auf einer guten oder weniger guten schule war. wenn man
eine weile drueben war, kennt man die rangordnung mindestens in seinem feld
erstaunlich genau. was fuer hochschulen gilt, gilt natuerlich auch fuer
konferenzen: da gibt es welche mit hohen ablehnungsquoten (siggraph ist
glaub' ich, das extrem) und solche, die alles nehmen. die einen zahlen im
resume, die andern getraut man sich kaum aufzufuehren (ich habe beides,
siggraph einmal und sehr viele von den andern!)  und schliesslich gilt das
auch fuer journal articles = da gibt es eine ganze reihe von journals, die
praktisch alles nehmen (XXX publiziert einige davon) und andere, die
grausam schwierig sind und die review sehr genau durchfuehren (auch da hab
ich erfahrungen mit ablehnunge.. das gehoert dazu).

wenn man in usa publikationenlisten beurteilt, dann passt man sehr genau
auf, wo publiziert wurde (und laesst sich im zweifelsfalle z.b. die
'ablehnungsrate' einer konferenz bestaetigen) . es gibt leider keine
einfachen regeln und nur zaehlen reicht nicht. ich kenne ein paar leute,
die haben zwar unsinnig lange publikationenlisten aber es hat wenig
'qualitaet' der 'outlets' darauf.

aus dem grunde sind operationen wie VIDEA nicht so gefaehrlich, wie sie
ausschauen und erledigen sich von selbst (wie die unendlichen vielen
Verlage, die ein 'who is who in ...' publizieren, mit der einzigen absicht,
dass alle aufgenommenen mindestens eine kopie kaufen werden). generell muss
man vorsichtig sein, wenn die selektion aufgrund des abstracts gemacht
werden soll; das ist, serioes, einfach nicht moeglich.

jedenfalls nochmals, ich habe furchtbar gelacht ueber ihre abstracts - und
denke, dass bei oberflaechlicher durchsicht die ersten zwei noch bei
mancher 'serioesen' konferenz angenommen worden waeren. ( wir sind gerade
in der review phase fuer die XXX konferenz im herbst - 60 papers, max. 30
werden angenommen; da wird schon auf den inhalt geschaut).
inzwischen hat ja die Wessex ueberall Gegendarstellungen
verschickt, bei uns ist auch eine gelandet. Ich habe selten
so viel Text mit so wenig Information gelesen. (jedenfalls
ausserhalb der Politik)
An Ihrer Reaktion sieht man, dass Ihr den Nerv getroffen habt.
Thanks very much for your outstanding effort
to debunk videa conference. While i was
not involved in that odious scam, I am shocked
somebody had the guts to disguise such a fraud
under scientific appearances.
Please keep us informed of any later
development. For what it's worth, you
have all my support, and I'm sure all
the support of the *real* scientific community.

PS: would it be worth trying to go to court ?
I'm sure the community could spare a few bucks
creating a jurisprudence. 
 We participated in one of their quality conferences in 1993, and at the 
time I remarked on the size and (poor) quality of the published proceedings. 
 By 1994 they had refined their operation so that they asked for payment for 
attending the conference to accompany the papers when submitted.  We offered 
an abstract but subsequently withdrew it, pointing out that it appeared that 
they were asking for money to pay for a conference publication, rather than 
reviewing the paper itself.  Needless to say I never got any response from 
I shall pass on the details of your experiment to ISWORLD and other lists, 
and wait for similar experiences and responses.
I think you have done a great service by taking the trouble to demonstrate 
the existence of such practices.
this is definitely going to be an interesting, challenging and touchy case.
For some, it may be a bit disturbing; others will see their low esteme of
academic standards confined.
I received the paper by Dr. Purgathofer and colleagues three times last
night. I direct this reaction to the group in Vienna, because they deserve
it. At the same time, I use the Internet to distribute this remark to those
whose names were contained in the messages I received. If this net is good
for anything, then certainly for a fast and wide, international
distribution of such happenings. On occasion, I receive messages this way
on outrageous political events. Why not, if necessary, on academic affairs
as well? Abuse? Now, that is strange! Was this marvellous technology not
invented for the free exchange of data? What kind of information the data
becomes, when and if somebody reads it, is entirely up to that person. It
is the human who constructs the information, not the system, even if it is
a hi-tech system.

Congratulations, Drs. Purgathofer, Groeller, and Feda! You did a good job.
You probably went through thorough deliberations as to what to do in order
to get your suspicion confined, or destroyed. From your report, and from
the reaction from Wessex, there remains hardly any doubt that this
conference is a fade, and that everything connected to it should be purged
from the records.

If you read Professor Brebbia's response carefully, you will discover that
there is no mentioning of the very disturbing fact that members of the
advisory board did not get a single word concerning the review process. But
beware! You were members of an advisory board only, not of a programme
committee. Perhaps this will be the way out for the gentlemen in Wessex.
However, if this really was the case, i.e. if they could produce a
programme committee that did review the abstracts submitted to the
conference, two or three disturbing facts would still remain.
One: why would the members of an advisory board not know the role they were
supposed to play during the preparation or the running of the conference?
Were they not told? What purpose is there for an advisory board that is not
asked to give advice? Oh yes, I know, there are such empty boards. They may
always have existed in industrial and commercial circles, I am afraid. If
nowadays, they even exist in academia, that is to be deplored. Scientists
should never accept their names being printed somewhere, if they have not
done work that justifies this. So Wessex would have to explain who it was
that went through the process of reviewing the abstracts. It is custom to
publish those names.
Second: who ever it was, and how provisional ever the acceptance based on
abstracts was, these people did a terrible job. Even if they were not able
to detect that it is, indeed, algorithmically quite simple to render a
totally black room, they must have known their call for papers well enough
to detect that somebody handed it in as an abstract; and only if totally
drunk, they would not detect that abstract no. 4 was an ingenious, yet
random, assemblage of phrases and words. Or did the review committee
contain some members with a special kind of humour?
Third: But Prof. Brebbia appears as if he had thought of this case as well,
and here the Vienna people display a weak point in their investigation into
academic standards. They seemingly only used names of members of the
advisory board as names of authors. They should have known that a good old
standard has long been wiped out. This standard said, that no member of a
program committee (advisory board as well?) should ever submit a paper, or
if he did, he should immediately resign from the committee. VIDEA 95 was
obviously one of those great conference, where such honorable persons could
hand in whatever they wanted, perhaps even an empty sheet of paper. As long
as it carried their glorious names, it got accepted. Professor Brebbia
states this quite openly. Unfortunately, his conference is by no means the
only one of this sort. There are numerous conferences, where program
committees invite their own members for talks.

Prof. Purgathofer and colleagues point to the decisive aspect of the
abominable hunt for conference papers and proceedings: the pressure put on
researchers who want to survive in academia, to produce long lists of
publications. Unless this terrible habit is given up, nothing will really

It is possible for each one of us to start change this state of affairs. We
can, ourselves, stop publishing every single little piece; we can stop
publishing the same, or almost the same, contents twice; we can influence
program committees not to accept anything from their members; and we can,
most of all, start looking differently at publications lists when we happen
to be members of hiring committees at our institution. If we take the time
to read, say, two of the papers by the applicant, and if we take several
hours to let him or her talk and get deeply involved in discussions, we
learn much more about his or her qualification than by counting numbers and
pages of publications.

We should also rethink the institution of the proceedings. Why don't they
come out after the conference, as well selected and edited collections of
some of the papers? These would even get a chance to be worked out in
greater detail. The process of publication would, of course, be slowed
down. Perhaps, the upcoming enormous proliferation of "papers" on the
Internet is a good point in time to rethink the old print medium, and
re-establish it as a means of much higher quality.

I would like to see more researchers go through the extra trouble of the
kind that Drs. Purgathofer, Groeller, and Feda have taken upon them. Sorry
for the Wessex Institute. They will be courageous and clever enough to get
into a new kind of business.
I read your email about the above, which I received indirectly 
through XXX via one of the UK IS networks.
I was both very amused, and horrified.
You are to be congratulated on the thorough way in which have exposed 
the actions of WIT. 
I don't know what credentials (academic or otherwise) Brebbia has, 
but I do know that WIT do not appear to operate from a college or 
university campus, but instead are housed in an independent location 
in the New Forest.
I am very worried by what you have exposed, for two reasons (as 
well as the excellent reasons you detail in your email).  The first 
reason is a selfish one - I am worried that because the address 
of WIT is "Southampton", unsuspecting European, North American and 
Australasian colleagues may think that it has some connection with 
the University of Southampton (which does have a number of very 
reputable Institutes associated with it).  The second reason is that 
I first learned of the existence of WIT via mailings from my Branch 
Committee of the British Computer Society.  The BCS is exactly the 
sort of reputable professional body to which your email refers.  It 
appears that they, like you, were initially fooled by the apparent 
respectability of most academic conference organisers.  Sadly, I fear 
that we may well see more pressures on high academic standards, as 
the UK government is increasing linking funding to "output", without 
always recognising the difficulty in accurately measuring quality.

Thanks again for the email - it should help us all to be on our guard!
I may be just cynical, but I don't really see what all the fuss is about.

There are many levels of quality of Journals and Conferences, and many levels
of reviewing. Presumably everyone knows of poor conferences and bad journals
and just avoids them.

But good reviewing per se doesn't guarantee a good event/publication, and lack
of it doesn't guarantee a bad one either.

SIGPLAN Notices, for instance, *advertises* that it accepts everything it gets,
and yet is the most widely read publication on programming languages. Its
content is mixed, but everyone knows that, and still reads it because of the
gems that it does include.

One of my favourite conferences has only a very light reviewing process, but is
lively and interesting and well attended, and has been going twice a year for
more than 10 years.

On the other hand, reviewing is only as good as the reviewers who are appointed
(and who checks them?). If you want to be shocked, read J. Scott Armstrong,
"Research on Scientific Journals: Implications for Editors and Authors",
Journal of Forecasting, vol 1, 93-104 (1982).

For instance, in one case, 12 papers that had previously been accepted by a
prestigious journal were cosmetically disguised and resubmitted. During
reviewing only three were spotted, and of the rest, eight were rejected, and
not because they added nothing new to the field, for instance, but for
`methodological shortcomings'.

Two other studies quoted showed that papers were significantly more likely to
be accepted if they confirmed existing beliefs than if they contradicted them.

Another study showed a bias against authors from unknown institutions by
 reviewers from well-known institutes.

Other studies showed that a paper is more likely to be accepted if it is
in complicated language rather than clear language (alas for us all), and that
important problems do not get the priority that they would seem to deserve.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not supporting poor academic practice, I'm quite
against it, but my advice is "caveat emptor" - let the buyer beware - rather
than crying "fraud".
J'ai lu avec intirjt et beaucoup de plaisir votre mise en garde concernant
les pseudo-congres de Wessex Institute of Technology!
Merci de votre vigilance, mjme si le domaine dont vous parlez est trhs
iloigni du mien. je suis persuadi que l'on pourrait faire les mjmes
constatations dans les sciences humaines...
I very much appreciate you bringing this extraordinary news of scandal with
conference organizers.  Hopefully, this will warn many of the wrong doers
and save the integrity of the scientific world.
I would like to suggest a task (I could also help in it) in the same spirit,
which maybe shortly stated as follows:
   I have noticed that the registration fees at Computer Sc. conferences
   often run as much as twice that of Math and Stat conferences held in 
   the same (similar) cities.  It has become clear that these conference 
   organizers pay airfare and free hotel rooms to their "friends" and 
   receive similar benefits from their friends in return.  It would be
   nice to force the conference organizers toi publicly announce the budget
   (preliminary, if that need to be) explaining the expenses and such "free
   gift packages".
We could collect data from good organizers and use that as a bench mark.
Use some very recent conferences and set up a source point to monitor this
for the future.
 tekst o VIDEA dotarl do mnie po raz drugi - tym razem inna droga (rzuc okiem
 jesli chcesz).  jedno jest pewne - chyba juz nikt nie wezmie wessex institute
 of technology powaznie.  niezaleznie od tego kto i co tam bedzie probowal
I read your e-mail with great interest, but I am not surprised of the
matter. There are many other conferences that accept everithing without
reviewing it! 
I suggest to produce a list of conferences of this type and broadcast it to
the research community. You could be the "data-base manager" of unreviewed
conferences collecting information from our research community.
I'm a lecturer in the Department of Computer Science in the University of
La Coruna. I've just read your paper about VIDEA'95 and I'm really upset
with such information. Although AI is not my research field, I want you to 
send me further information about this conference (specially the CFP and the 
program commitee) in order to know which people of my university are
hanging on this kind of tricky activities.
I suggest you rewrite the beginning of your paper, so that instead of
a warning, it is a humorous "Empirical Study of the Gullibility of
Conference Organizers."
I have seen you warning message about the VIDEA series of conferences. Since
your faked abstracts are outrageously funny, I suggest you submit them for
publication to the Annals of Impropable Research (AIR - the successor of the
Journal of Irreproducible Results). I am sure they will accept with enthusiasm.
I would not be surprised if they would be interested in printing the story about
VIDEA as well.
I just received your paper on your VIDEA experiences.  It was forwarded to me by 
one of our authors for Computer Science.  I just wanted to thank you for 
informing the intellectual community about your experiences with this 
conference.  It is important for those in the publishing business (as I am) to 
be aware of how easy it is to be fooled if you do not carefully research an 
organization's credentials.  I hope that your efforts will help to prevent such 
activities in the future.
>I have just searched the BIDS ISI database for technical publications from
>WIT, and it comes up with 374 papers, all of which correspond to 4
>conferences as follows:

Dear Prof. Brebbbia --

At  9:59 Uhr 27.03.1995 -0800, XXX wrote:
 ] April 1st is approaching, its time to believe nothing you read.
 ] I've already seen a few hoaxes pop up on some mailing lists, and I would like
 ] to keep it to a minimum. 
 ] I do not know if this VIDEA thing is for real, but it looks like a setup for
 ] an even bigger prank later. 
As I understand from your response to Dr. Purgathofer's mail, this is not
a hoax. I would be grateful for any comments from to the letter, which was
sent out by YYY as a response to your letter. You can be certain
that I will send your answer to the same list of persons who also received 
my first forwarding.

At 15.00 Uhr 28.03 1995 +0200, YYY wrote:
 ] If you read Professor Brebbia's response carefully, you will discover that
 ] there is no mentioning of the very disturbing fact that members of the
 ] advisory board did not get a single word concerning the review process.

[...] why would the members of an advisory board not know the role they were
 ] supposed to play during the preparation or the running of the conference?
 ] Were they not told? What purpose is there for an advisory board that is not
 ] asked to give advice?

[...]       So Wessex would have to explain who it was
 ] that went through the process of reviewing the abstracts. It is custom to
 ] publish those names.

I would like extend his questions also to the reviewing board of the
preceeding VIDEA conference.
Many thanks for the email about the Wessex Institute of Technology
that you distributed. I too have had some interesting encounters
with Carlos Brebbia!
I have had some experience(s) with WIT and their conferences and I thought I'd 
pass them on to you.

Clearly, from the number of conferences they organise, they view conferences as
a way of making money. However, I do think that some of their conferences are
`real' (refereed) and some are pure money making exercies.
I have witnessed (sorry for the pun) both forms:-

I submitted two papers. One was rejected and the other accepted.
For the accepted paper I did receive some feed back from the reviewers,
although this was not very detailed, confining itself mainly to general remarks about
the content and focus of the proposed paper.

I submitted three abstracts to SQM95, all describing work in progress.

All three were rejected from SQM95.
[funnily enough, one of the ideas subsequently turned out to be quite
interesting and we pursued it.]

I also notice that SQM is sponsored by the BCS (British Computer Society), 
which may or may not count in its favour.


My other experience with WIT was less favourable.
We submitted some work to their conference SEHE
(Software Engineering in Higher Eductaion).
I recieved no referees' comments, both our papers 
(which naturally I believe in, and think describe interesting ideas for teaching
software engineering)
were accepted without any remarks and the conference appeared to be unsponsored
and badly organised. It was also over-priced: 450 pounds registration fee for
a three day conference.

The real tell-tale sign was the way that we were *begged* to submit something
to the follow-up conference : SEHE'95.
Clearly WIT had over-done it with the price, put a lot of people off, and
were worried that the subsequent conference was going to be a flop.

I don't know if you're collecting WIT stories, but there's mine for your 
list if you are.
I'm afraid I come in on the side of moral outrage here.  I agree that
reasonably informed review committees are unlikely to pay attention to
such listings on a vita (or even *downgrade* a person who would try to
misrepresent them).  And I have no problem with the idea of more fora
for work in progress.  The SPIE sponsored Electronic Imaging Symposium
has a track ("conference") on Data Visualization that I regard as this
sort of forum.  The Volume Visualization and Parallel Rendering
Symposiums started as this kind of workshop.  And the net itself seems
to be a good place for some of this activity.  My outrage is in
empathy for those researchers whose good names have been used by VIDEA
to further their misleading activity.

At the very least, the "program committee chair" should have notified
the rest of the committee that so few papers were received that all
were being accepted and no reviews were needed.  And the conference
should stop using the names of those who did no work.  At least upon
receipt of such notice the "program committee members" could request
that their names be removed from promotional materials.  Since they
received no such notice, the chance to request removal slips by.

The experiment clearly shows that the VIDEA organizers are irresponsible
and I certainly wish to avoid having my name associated with them.
I have the same remarks about Contact Mechanics 93 and 95 ...
I have received your e-mail concerning VIDEA 95. Thank you very much
for your initiative.

I have noticed that the IEEE computer soc. www server includes
a 'call for papers' of the Wessex Inst., in its calendar of
events. I don't know how to reach the editors, but I believe
it would be very interesting if they could receive a copy
of your e-mail.
Please note that SEHE'95 ( Software Engineering in Higher Education), which
was to be held in Alicante, 22-24th November is cancelled.  SEHE papers were
fully controlled and refereed by a genuine international committee and WIT was
retained ONLY to organise the event.
SEHE wishes to emphasise its integrity and has decided that in the light of
recent events the best course is to reconstitute itself for 1996, organised
wholly by members of its committee.
It is a matter of regret that a genuine forum for Software Engineering has been
lost for 1995.  Those who have submitted abstracts are asked to resubmit 
potential contributions in '96.
Please inform those of your staff that may be affected.
Euer Mail ueber VIDEA / Wessex Inst. Technol. ist richtig herzerfrischend.
Wessex Inst. scheint ein richtiger Kraemerladen zu sein, der uns regelmaessig
Anzeigen ueber alle moeglichen Ereignisse schickt. Unsere Experten waren
schon etwas vorsichtig angesichts der angezeigten Programme, Euer Mail
bekraeftigt mich darin, alle diese Papiere direkt in den Papierkorb zu

Es waere sehr zu begruessen, wenn andere Scientific Advisory Committee Members
so aufmerksam waeren, um "Schmutz und Schund" in der wissenschaftlichen
Literatur zu reduzieren!
I guess we could ask Brebbia himself to send us his reply,
since Purgathofer et al apparently gave him no opportunity to
reply before broadcasting their accusations to the world graphics
community. (I wonder what the branching factor is, for a
message like that?)

The only substantive criticism is that some laughably poor
papers were accepted. There are MANY conferences for which
this is true, however, and this doesn't constitute a proof of
"profiting in a very dirty way". I don't know what libel laws
look like in Austria and Britain, but if Brebbia has anything
like a reasonable defence, I should imagine he's talking to his 
lawyer. Whatever the truth, it seems to me that Purgathofer
has the moral responsibility to try to broadcast Brebbia's
reply to the same people who received the original message. 
It's really the funniest thing I have found since a long! CONGRATS!!!
   I read the information that you provided about the "Scientific" VIDEA 
meetings. I agree with most of what you say and I just wanted to tell you that
I am glad that still there are some (probably so few) serious researchers that
have a "healthy" idea of what science is about. I have been studing for 4 years 
in the United States (I am from Mexico) and I am very disappointed of many 
things that I have found here related to "scientific research".
you have followed the discussion about the VIDEA conferences and the arguments
for higher requirements for conferences with scientific reputation. In this
mail I forward Prof. Brebbia's response (see below) to a letter with some
which I sent to him yesterday. 

>From the email exchange I draw the conclusion, that there are apparently at
least three very different approaches to organize conferences: 

- The one-pass model:
  A call for participation and for papers; the submitted papers are reviewed, 
  accepted or rejected -- and an invitation to the conference with the
  consisting of the accepted (and invited) contributions.

- The two-pass model with pre-conference screening:
  A call for participation and for short summaries; the summaries are reviewed, 
  the acceptance leads only to an invitation to send in the full contribution.
  These contributions are screened and only the selected ones will be presented
  during the conference AND in the proceedings.

- The two-pass model with post-conference screening:
  A call for participation and for short summaries; the summaries are reviewed, 
  the acceptance leads to an invitation to present the full contribution at the
  conference. The contributions are screened during and/or after the conference
  and only the selected ones will be presented in the post-conference

Besides we all are aware of the fact, that there are conferences, which aim
at more application oriented or at more academic audiences. 

I appeal to all conference organizers to explain their specific approach in
detail in the call for participation and for contribitions and to include 
the list of members of the reviewing panels, program committees or advisory
boards, or whoever influences the process of selection for the conference.
Also the goals and objectives of the conference should be clearly stated in
the calls and invitations. 

Thus misunderstandings about the character of the conference and its academic 
standard can be avoided.

The listing of sponsoring academic societies normally is also a hint to the 
interested public, what character the conference will have.

As you will understand from Prof. Brebbia's letter, the Wessex conferences are 
organized according to the "two-pass model with pre-conference screening"

-- begin of forwarded mail ---
 ] From: Professor C A Brebbia 
 ] Dear XXX
 ] Thank you very much for your EMail of 29 March 1995 to Dr Adey, which I am
 ] happy to answer in detail.
 ] i)    The initial review procedure for VIDEA/95 has been to send a copy of
 ] abstracts to the conference organisers, in this case Professor Hernandez
 ] from the University of Coruna and myself.  We rely on members of our own
 ] and some members of the Scientific Advisory Committee to help in this
 ] Professor Purgathofer and Dr Groeller were not involved as we through they
 ] had already done enough by canvassing for their abstracts on behalf of
 ] VIDEA/95.
 ] ii)   All members of the Scientific Advisory Committee were sent a letter
 ] asking them for support and suggestions.  Although we did not specifically
 ] mention the reviewing of abstracts in the letter, they are expected to
 ] help during the review process if necessary.  When setting on Advisory Board
 ] members we try to have as many members with different expertise as possible,
 ] iii) As explained above, we have relied on staff and members of the Board
 ] to review the abstracts.  The process is of course confidential.
 ] iv)  I would like to point out that more strict reviewing takes place at the
 ] moment that we receive the final papers which are then to be published
 ] in book form.  If you look at the VIDEA/93 Proceedings, you will appreciate
 ] that the conference has a high technical content which is why the publisher
 ] reports that the proceedings are in high demand.
 ] v)   I would appreciate it if you distribute this message to your circulation
 ] list.
 ] I should be happy to let you have any information you may require about the
 ] activities of our Institute, including copies of our latest research
 ] report and brochure.
 ] Please do not hesitate to contact me again if you require any further
 ] information.
 ] Yours sincerely
 ] Professor C A Brebbia
 ] Director
Perhaps VIDEA could serve a valuable role in the research community by
accepting all the garbage papers so that the serious conferences do
not have to bother reading and rejecting them!

More seriously, thank you for reminding us all how dangerous it is to
merely count papers without accounting for quality.  

It seems to me that any attendee at VIDEA would have legitimate
grounds for suing the organizers for misrepresenting the conference
and committing fraud.  That is one of the most effective ways to
discourage this kind of behavior in the future.  
I have received a copy of the electronic article about VIDEA'95.
I believe that you have an idea whose time has come.
this is to say that I really appreciated your information.
I agree in full with your observation, and - as a personal opinion -
think that such cases are not so infrequent...
Thank you for your assessment of the VIDEA'95 conference.  The message is
so incredible that it verges on the hard-to-believe.  I received an email
copy of your document from friends in computer graphics in New Zealand, and
am writing to verify the authenticity before I redistribute it.

I also work in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics and Heat Transfer.
 Our "friends" at Wessex hold many conferences in this area.  C.A. Brebbia
is a coauthor of a couple of respected books on Finite Element Techniques
for Fluid Flow, and a co-organizer of the conferences.  Judging from the
volumes that I have consulted in the library over the years, the quality of
the conference papers is highly variable and often quite low.
Hi is this a joke or is it serious?
Wessex is a kingdom that existed for a little time in the 11th century, so
your whole mail on VIDEA looks more like an April fool than a serious
I recently received the enclosed mailing.  The charges in this mailing are
quite serious.  I would be quite interested to hear your reaction to them.  Do
you have any comment on it?
I note in INSPEC that Professor C.A. Brebbia, director of these
conferences, has edited 448 papers and written 5 in the last five

However the fact that INSPEC indexes these papers indicates that
the conferences may be respectable.  I think there is a culture
clash here: in some branches of engineering it is known and
accepted that conferences are not refereed.
Was that an Aprilscherz?
dear prof. brebbia,

i protest the insinuation you draw on the part of prof. purgathofer. the
discussion about the quality of your conference is in my (and i believe in
everybody elses view) completely unrelated to him organizing another
conference. we all organize conferences and overlap of dates cannot be

i concur with his neagitve assessment of your efforts; in particular, i
have asked you by direct mail, to reveal the rejection rate of your
conferences, case by case. by rejection rate i understand the rate of
abstracts actually sent back to authors with a letter stating the
rejection. this is not the same as how much of abstracts submitted are
actually printed in the proceedings (the 60% you state is an average rate
for abstracts; papers are not finished in time, authors  lost interest in
your conference etc.; this is not a rejection rate).

i have not received a statement from you even claiming you had a rejection rate.

i felt it was unnecessary to protest against operations like yours (as did
others on the net) because conference organisers come in different
qualities as come conferences. it is easy to spot the difference and as
usual 'caveat emptor'. i protest however, if you try to turn around and
attack prof. purgathofer, who only made known to the world his experiences,
which were a good story, even hilarious. threatening with legal action - an
which grounds? - on your side shows a poor sport.
Do you have such an institution as "April Fool's Day" in Austria?
It is widespread in the English-speaking world.  A lot of people 
have assumed that your message about the Wessex Institute of Technology 
scam was an April Fool joke - so they were not prepared to believe
it in case they were made a fool of.  The fact that it is difficult
to get email through to you adds to some people's impression that
this is all made up.

However, I was very interested to read of your experiment, because
we at XXX had begun to "have our doubts" about
Wessex Institute of Technology, and about conferences they organised.

This began with SQM95; there was a bit of trouble within the department,
because the Head of Department did not want to pay the full cost 
of a particular lecturer going to Seville to present a paper at SQM95.
Then we discovered that everyone in the Department who had submitted
a paper to SQM95 had been accepted - then it was suggested that
maybe SQM95 are accepting everything, in order to get the money.
It also seemed to us that the stage at which they wanted the fee
was abnormally early in the process ... Anyway, SQM is not really
my area, however, the aggrieved lecturer passed information on to me
I suppose trying to get me to support his case with the Head of
Department.  Quite honestly, I did not have a very good opinion of
my colleague's abstract, and was surprised that it had been accepted.
I told XXX this - but I also said, that the
names on the scientific committee were very distinguished, and 
that since these people must have refereed it, I did not feel that 
my judgement should be taken as better informed than theirs. So ...
of course (a) the name of Wessex Institute of Technology stuck in
my mind and (b) when I saw what had happened about VIDEA 95 I 
realised that my assumption those distinguished people had 
refereed my colleague's paper was mistaken.

I have never seen Wessex Institute of Technology listed amongst
institutions of Higher Education.   I think it is fairly clear 
from "Prof" Brebbia's reply in announcements.chi that it is
an organisation of pretty dubious status.

There used to be a lot of what we called "degree mills" in the
south of England.  They operated by basically selling worthless
degrees for a large sum of money.  The government cracked down on
this.  It looks as if the same operators may have moved on to 
running "conference-paper mills" instead!

Anyway, you have done a good service in publicising this.
You have also "added to the gaiety of nations".  When I 
gave a printout of this correspondence to my Head of Department
he was laughing so loud that people came running in from 
other rooms to find out what was going on.
Congratualtions on your work on uncovering the Institute of Wessex
activities. As I was going to send for furhter Information on one
of their conferences, you rescued me from wasting my time (and perhaps
my money). I think the work you have done is a real service to our
scientific community and I hope your message takes as much publicity
as possible. I have already distributed it in our department. 
Thanks once more and well done!
Regarding the reply from Prof. Brebbia --

>and I am sure you will agree that any conference could be
>"set up" in this way.
No, because real conferences don't do the following:
>3.  These abstracts were provisionally accepted in good
>    faith as they came from one of the advisory board
>    members.
and ...
>    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.
This is acceptable for certain workshops, but is not acceptable for a
scientific conference.

>  The authors, being experienced people,
>would have been aware that the conference would
>provisionally accept abstracts from advisory board members
>and their colleagues.
Only if they knew it was not a real conference, as that term is understood
by the computer science 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.

Indeed.  The Vienna researchers have done a service to the computer science
research community in alerting us to a "conference" where papers are not
selected on the basis of unbiased opinions on the merit of the work, but
rather the "author, organization, and reputation in the field."

As for the business about "provisional" vs. "final" acceptance, I have
never heard of such a thing in a computer science conference.  Even if
"provisional acceptance" is accepted practice in some other fields, the
basis for the provisional acceptance must be technical merit and not
I note that in your main message you mention that the publishers
(Computational Mechanics and Elsevier) probably don't have the slightest idea...

I'm puzzled: I thought that "Computational Mechanics" WAS Carlos Brebbia...
have you checked the ownership of this concern?

Why don't you put a copy of his response statement up on your Web page? (I think it 
speaks for itself...)
I am reading Your advice about W.I.T., and I am very surprised about it. Also I 
am involved in a W.I.T. conference, namely Computational Acoustics 95, that 
will be held in Southampton this week. I have submitted two papers to COMACO95, 
making any possible effort to produce high quality papers, considering also 
that they will be included in a book. I have found the conference fee a bit 
high, but considering the space allowed for the papers, and the "appearance" of 
the resulting book, it was considered anyway acceptable.
After submitting the papers, the organization contacted me because they had 
found two redactional errors in them (a missing reference and an error in 
numbering the pictures). It means that the papers were accurately readproofed, 
at least from an editorial point of view. However I had the precise idea that 
the editor was perfectly understanding the meaning of the papers (perhaps this 
is because I write in a very understandable way.... this is a joke, 
obviously!), and this enforced in me the feeling of doing good publications. I 
think that also the other 55 partecipants to the conference were believing to 
attend at an high-level meeting.

Note that COMACO95 was scheduled just two weeks later another important 
conference: Euronoise 95 (software for noise control), that was held in Lyon on 
22-24 March. I have published another paper also to this one, and no one in 
Lyon was aware of problems with COMACO95. Furthermore, a redactional error was 
present also in my paper for Euronoise, but this was not evidenced nor before 
the publication, nor during the conference. (This does not means, anyway, that 
Euronoise is not a serious conference!)
I was thinking that the lower number of partecipants to COMACO (55) against the 
number of partecipants to Euronoise (250) was due mainly to the small delay 
between the two conferences, and to the higher fee.

Now I am  worrying a lot about the future of my work. Will be the papers 
presented to COMACO95 detrimental to my career? Will be the book published, or 
Your "bewaring action" could cause the publisher to give it up? What should I 
do to reduce the risk to be inserted in the "black list" of not serious 

Providing that now I am sure that Your opinions about W.I.T. are TRUE (I had 
some phone talks with my collegues at ISVR in Southampton, who confirmed 
exactly what You are saying...), I am still not sure that Your action will be 
useful. I think that a paper must be judged from its contents, and not from 
where it was published; furthermore, discrediting the publications presented to 
the conferences organized from W.I.T. causes damage to the authors (that 
undoubtably are not responsible for the behaviour of Prof. Brebbia), but does 
not avoid that he continues in his activities.
Actual digital communication networks make the information to run all around 
the world in a few minutes, with heavy and potentially harmful effects. Before 
of diffusing a warning message as Your, I suggest that one evaluates the 
consequences to him and to hundreths of scientists all around the world.
If You think that the activities of W.I.T. are out of the bounds of the law, 
probably it is better to use legal actions instead of diffusing warnings. If, 
on the other hand, these activities are only scientifically unsatisfactory, but 
they don't violate any law, Your action risks to be a boomeramg that amplifies 
the negative effect: the authors involved, after being fooled from W.I.T., are 
then pointed out as a party of the crime.
In my view, Dr Brebbia's threat of going to law does not do very
much to convince anyone who might have doubts about the scientific
value of the procedures adopted to referee papers submitted to
conferences organised by Wessex Institute of Technology.
This idea of legal action seems more like the action of a businessman
than a scientist.
Of course it is true that a trick was played on the conference
organisers - but if we are to believe the original article,
that was only done because the "tricksters" already had been
given severe doubts about the conference organisers, by their
previous experience of not being sent any papers to referee
or in any other way involved, when they were on the scientific
committee of VIDEA93.
Some people have told me they believe the whole thing is an 
April Fool joke.  I append part of a message from the
"trickster" denying this.  He is replying to a message of
mine in which I mentioned (though not sharing) that
The discussion seems to have gone off onto the subject
of blind refereeing.  It seems to me that blind refereeing
would not prevent what has happened here!
Since the allegations are quite serious, I just wanted to confirm that
the paper is genuinely by you, and not by someone faking your email to
put you in an embarrassing situation.

Thank you for sharing this with the world. I passed a copy to my
brother in law last week, who was upset by what you say in it, 
since he's already paid to go to a WIT conference next week!
Well done !
(Explicit moral support).
    C.B.> Dear Colleage

    C.B.> Thank You for keeping an open mind in this affair. I think
    C.B.> that you should read carefully our reply and we would be
    C.B.> grateful if you could distribute it as widely as possible. I
    C.B.> will be happy to provide you with further information if you
    C.B.> wish.

This was merely the main reason for me to contact you: The way I got
the offending message (by e-mail snowball effect) was indicating that
this discussion was not where it belonged to. I posted your answer to
the usenet-newsgroup, where
Prof. Purgathofer posted his original text, too.

I am interested seeing a hot discussion there. 
thanks for your reply regarding "Computational Mechanics". 
I understand your position, but out of interest you might like
to know how it is structured.

All of this information is in the public domain, because details
have to be filed. The latest details are as follows:

"Computational Mechanics Publications" is a trading name used by
 CML Publications Limited.

CML Publications Limited is 76% owned by Computational Mechanics International
Limited (the rest is owned by R A Adey (14%) and L J P H Sucharov (10%)).

Computational Mechanics International Limited is owned by the following people:

        Carlos Alberto Brebbia (49%)
        Carolyn Susan Brebbia (1%)
        Alexander Carlos Brebbia (25%)
        Isabel Elena Brebbia (25%)

The latest accounts filed for CML Publications Limited show an accumulated
profit of 788,554 pounds.  You might also be interested in the Directors'
Remuneration for Computational Mechanics International Limited:
it was 112,900 pounds for the year ending 31-3-94. This is for both Directors
(Carlos and Carolyn Brebbia): the previous year the total was 67,700 pounds
of which 65,000 was paid to Carlos Brebbia.

The accounts also disclose a number of transactions involving land and property
that have taken place between Carlos Brebbia and his companies.
The usenet anxiously awaits your rebuttal to Brebbia's
recent posting condemning your submittal of fake abstracts.

In particular, I'd like to know if you submitted the abstracts
under your own names or false names.  If they were in fact
submitted under your own names, Brebbia's explanation that
papers submitted by the advisory panel were exempt from review
is at least semi-plausible (I don't agree with it but it is

It is interesting that Brebbia doesn't address the fact that you
weren't given any papers to review as part of the VIDEO '93 
   We got your email concerning the VIDEA conference. We think 
you have done a public service! Congratulation.

newsgroup postings: 
----------------------------------------------------------- Newsgroups: In article <3kk3s1$>, Werner Purgathofer writes: |> Dear colleague, |> |> enclosed we send you very shocking information on the "scientific" conference VIDEA'95 organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology. To prevent such case |> [horror story deleted] Oh, my god, ROTFL, but if this becomes common practice, we are really in a bad situation. Greedily awaiting the flame war ... ----------------------------------------------------------- Newsgroups: Here's another story, with names deleted. A few decades ago X wanted to start a journal in the field of G in country C. Now, C liked to support research and education and defend its troubled domestic publishing industry against the cheaper journals from its large neighbor U. Therefore you could apply for a government grant to support an existing journal. However, C would not pay to start a new journal. Therefore X applied for a grant to publish volume 1 number >>2<< of his journal. He got it, published, and the journal became a success. However, libraries started asking X for issue 1(1), which did not exist. So X took a pile of unpublished manuscripts, created 1(1) retroactively, and everyone was happy. ----------------------------------------------------------- Newsgroups: In article <>, spake thusly: >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. There is a certain contradiction between Statement 2 and Statement 3. "Accepted in good faith" and "found to be a spoof" are slightly mutually exclusive, to put it mildly. -- Thus spake Kalmoth the Vile, Slayer of One Robot and Seven Pigs. DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed in the article above, if any, are channeled from the Fungi of Yuggoth and do not necessarily represent the views of my other employers. ----------------------------------------------------------- Newsgroups: To support your claim, you may want to tell us all, how many abstracts were received for the mentioned conference, and how many of them did VIDEA 95 reject, either based on the abstract alone, or after you received a full paper? ----------------------------------------------------------- Newsgroups: Prof. Brebbia, In article <>, you wrote: > 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. So some people can present papers at your conference, no matter how bad they are? This is the perpetual accusation about SIGGRAPH, and it's not true. Why would you accept _anything_ based on who wrote it? > 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. Obviously they are NOT reviewed, as you accepted at least two abstracts that are total gibberish! > Certain weight is also > given to the author, organisation and reputation in > the field. So yours is a conference of "insiders" in the field? An opportunity for a certain clique to publish each others' papers? > 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. Even if the abstract is totally random. > 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. Actually, no. It's not accepted until the author pays a registration fee for the conference. > 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.) > And even that raises deep questions about the reviewing process of your conference. It's dubious to give a weak abstract the benefit of the doubt based on its source, but it's ridiculous to accept, even "provisionally", something that makes no sense. > 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. You have failed to address several points from Mr. Purgathofer's message: 1) Why are there members of your "technical committee" who never see or review a paper before the conference? If they aren't reviewing, what purpose do they serve other than the use of their names in announcements to lend status to the conference? 2) Why must authors select one paper to present at the conference? If you really accept the best papers, this deprives the attendees of much good work. On the other hand, if you accept all papers in the hope of luring the authors to your conference, this policy makes perfect sense. 3) Why must the author pay a registration fee in order to present the paper? SIGGRAPH is the only conference whose policy I know on this, and the presenting author's fee is waived there in order to encourage the publication of the best work. The charge was that you are running a conference that basically accepts all papers as a device to attract the authors as paying attendees. You have not addresse that question. Some relevant information would be: o What is the total number of papers presented? o How long is each paper presentation? o How many concurrent presentations are there? o How does the number of papers compare to the number of total attendees? Frankly, I imagine your conference as a lot of people presenting random papers to an audience of about six. If this is not the case, please show the facts to prove me wrong. -----------------------------------------------------------