Monday, November 12, 2012

IEEE Dumps Bad Conferences from IEEE Xplore

This is interesting: the IEEE has a "Technical Program Integrity Committee" which has reviewed recent IEEE-sponsored conferences, looking for "inconsistencies in some conferences with regard to the quality of the peer review and technical program development." Some 160 conferences from 2010 and 2011 did not make the cut, and will now be barred from IEEE Xplore, the IEEE's digital library. This looks like the first action of the committee, which apparently started work in 2009.

First off, 160 bad conferences is a surprisingly large number. They say this is "less than 5%" of conferences from 2010 and 2011. I guess we can assume it's close to 5%, which still seems kind of high. In other words, out of every 20 conferences that the IEEE sponsors, one is bad.

Second, if you read their FAQ, it seems like they are concerned not only with quality, but with scope. For example:

Q - IEEE has notified us that the proceedings from this conference will not be included in IEEE Xplore® because they are out of scope. What is the scope of IEEE Xplore?
A - Content in IEEE Xplore must contain a significant electrical (and related) engineering component.

Q - How many out of scope papers can the conference proceedings have?
A - The conference proceedings should not have any out of scope papers.
Emphasis is added. So how is the committee judging this? There are several rejected conference titles with a life-science focus (an area in which I do some research), so were these rejected for scope or for quality? Where can we read this "scope"? What exactly are the rules surrounding interdisciplinary research in the IEEE?


Roy said...

Most of the conferences had titles that were right in the center of IEEE topics. I think the core issue is avoiding the degradation of the IEEE brand by junk conferences.

In fact, I always wonder who goes to the junk conferences?

Andrew Eckford said...

I agree. It's a good initiative but I'd like to see a bit more transparency around "scope".

There seem to be a lot of IEEE entities (e.g., local sections) that can co-sponsor conferences, but whose only interest is making money from registrations.