A Guide to ATINER’s Organization of Academic Events
It is very difficult to define what a credible academic conference is. According to a resource guide developed by Sarah Elaine Eaton (see here), credible conferences must not have 12 typical characteristics (see the following table). Even though the existence of a few such characteristics do not make a conference non-credible, all ATINER’s events (conferences, symposiums, streams, roundtable discussions, etc.) do not meet any of these criteria of a non-credible academic event. Two more characteristics, not mentioned in the table below, are unique to ATINER and should be added to the list when conferences are evaluated. First, ATINER’s events are 100% international, and second, the final program of every event is uploaded after the conference and it strictly displays only the names of those who actually presented and chaired sessions. Nobody else is included, even if a fee was paid. Please note that ATINER’s policies on organizing events have been implemented for the past 25 years; long before the various white, black, grey and other lists were established.
|Characteristics of a Non-credible Academic Event
|ATINER’s Corresponding Characteristic
|Event is organized by a for-profit entity, rather than a credible scholarly or scientific society or association.
|ATINER is a ‘nonprofit-nongovernment’ world association of Academics and Researchers conceived in Toronto Canada and established in 1995 in Athens Greece. Mission https://www.atiner.gr/mission and Policies are available on the website (https://www.atiner.gr/). Currently, ATINER has 2548 members coming from 117 countries (https://www.atiner.gr/academic-members). In the past, ATINER has organized its events (including courses) jointly with international universities, such as the Institute of Education (University of London), University of Maryland, University of Oklahoma, MLC Management & Law College of Ljubljana, Georgia State University, University of Stirling, University of Glasgow, University of Birmingham, Nanyang Technology University, Sam Houston State University, University of Ottawa, etc, and with National Universities (AUEB, University of Athens, etc).
|Conferences that combine a number of fields topics or disciplines into a single conference. Be particularly wary of alleged conferences that combine multiple, unrelated topics into a single event.
|All ATINER’s events are organized by its various divisions and units. Each one of them corresponds to a modern university’s faculties and/or departments. All these are well defined and separate disciplines. In any case, ATINER’s events are small events and there is no need to combine unrelated topics.
|The conference uses a free e-mail address, such as a Gmail address.
|ATINER employs 15 administrative and research staff, all of whom have their email addresses with an Atiner extension. In addition, all ATINER’s academic members who organize the various events have their own Atiner email addresses.
|The organizers spam prospective attendees to submit proposals and register. Often, these spam e-mails contain hyperbolic language about how prestigious the conference is.
|ATINER’s mission since 1995 has been exactly the opposite: ATINER DOES NOT ORGANIZE PRESTIGIOUS CONFERENCES and this is clearly stated in its policies by giving priority “to academics and researchers from countries and institutions (small universities, colleges, etc) whose access to international academic conferences and events is restricted for subjective or objective reasons”. “Prestigious” and “non-prestigious” speakers present their work in sessions as anybody else. Two characteristic examples are worth mentioning. A well-known Professor of Arts and Humanities and past President of a well-known North American Academic Association applied and was accepted to present as a common mortal. Similarly, a well know scientist from a very prestigious University who was nominated for the Nobel Prize for his/her work, applied and presented as a common mortal. No keynote speakers are allowed. Only “prestigious” events discriminate between keynote and non-keynote speakers. ATINER receives many applications to invite academics as keynote speakers for free, but given that our conferences are not “prestigious”, we never do.
|Information about who is organizing the conference is either unclear or nonexistent; or the organizer is not well known or reputable.
|ATINER’s events are fully transparent. Each event has one or more academics responsible for the event, whose names are on display in the opening page of each event’s website and they also appear all together on a special location on the website (https://www.atiner.gr/academic-committee). These lists include all the members who have assisted with the conference. This list is compiled ex post, i.e. after the conference, because this is the only way to include only those who actually assisted with the conference, i.e. evaluated submissions, chaired sessions, organized panels etc. This is a unique characteristic of ATINER’s events: Academics who expressed an interest to help but eventually did not help, they disappear from the relevant list of organizers.
|Acceptances are promised with a very short turnaround time (often less than four weeks).
|ATINER’s acceptance policy is unique at this (see point 2 of our policy, available at https://www.atiner.gr/policy). The time frame for abstracts’ screening varies, because in many cases the abstract is necessary but not sufficient for accepting someone to present. In several occasions, ATINER has asked for the full paper in order to reach to a safe decision (acceptance or rejection).
|The conference is marketed as a holiday in a desirable location. The event is held at a resort or a popular tourist destination and marketed as a holiday, rather than an academic or scientific event.
|ATINER’s events always take place in Athens. Participants are warned that these events take place in the worst (non-tourist, non-resort) place of Athens. Every participant receives the following warning: “Athens is the third dirtiest (especially downtown, where the conference takes place) in Europe, after London and Paris. On the latter issue, many Greeks, including some visitors to Athens, are working very hard to surpass these other two historical cities. Also, for conferences that take place in downtown (centre) Athens, please be prepared to face traffic, noise, pollution, demonstrations and all kind of “revolutions” by small groups of people, usually University students. These have been common (everyday) phenomena since antiquity. The total population of Athens is close to 6 million, which includes all kinds of people from many different countries of the world”.
|The conference name bears a striking resemblance to that of a credible or highly prestigious conference, but has subtle minor differences in its name.
|ATINER’s conference names are not unique, but they have their own characteristic name and in any case they always take place in Athens, Greece. No confusion here at all.
|Organizers guarantee your contribution will be published as an article in the journal associated with the conference. Like the conference, the journal is also predatory and the organizers may later insist on additional article processing charges to publish your article.
|ATINER guarantees exactly the opposite. In its policy (see https://www.atiner.gr/policy) it is clearly stated: “Please, note that acceptance of a paper opens the doors to presentation, NOT publication” (point 2), and “…a few selected papers (currently the acceptance rate is below 25%) are considered for publication in one of ATINER’s English Only Academic Online Journals” (point 3). Furthermore, publishing at any of ATINER’s journals is free of any charge, and submissions can be accepted even if the papers were not presented at any of ATINER’s events.
|The conference websites are unstable. They may change URLs or have no record of conferences in previous years.
|ATINER’s conference websites have been the same for decades now, with previous years’ programs and abstract books appearing on the first (opening) page of each conference website. And to repeat all programs include only those who actually came to Athens and presented.
|The website text contains poor grammar or numerous spelling errors.
|This is almost impossible with ATINER’s conferences, because all participants and contributors review the program and point out any spelling errors. Also, the text of the website has been edited and prepared by native speakers. However, errors have a tendency to persist.
|Conference fees seem quite high, compared to those run by non-profit scholarly societies or associations.
|The basic ATINER fee is 650 euro which includes everything (2 meals per day, hotel accommodation, and continuous supply of refreshments). In other words, this fee covers the participants’ entire stay in Athens during the conference days. The only additional cost is only their travel to Athens.