South Korea’s education ministry wants to stop academics from participating in conferences that it considers “weak” and of little academic value. The ministry announced on 17 October that it will require all universities to adopt measures to vet academics’ travel to overseas conferences so as to “prevent researchers from engaging in poor academic activities”.
The ministry’s order comes after a report that it released in May which found that 574 professors from 90 universities around the country had participated in conferences that it called “weak”.
It is thought that some researchers knowingly elect to pay the fees to attend conferences of little value, or publish in low quality journals1 — some of which are considered ‘predatory’ — because they are a quick and easy way to add a publication or presentation to their CVs, or gain experience in presenting at international conferences.
Changgu Lee, a materials scientist at Sungkyunkwan University in Suwon, welcomes the oversight from the education authority. “Those who have lots of research money and want to have a vacation in a nice place without being bothered by academic responsibility attend those conferences,” he says.
Under the new policy, researchers will be required to fill out checklists before attending overseas conferences and then submit the lists to their universities, which will use them to screen the adequacy of the researchers’ academic and research activities,the ministry told Nature in a statement.