Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Incentives Matter: Conference edition

New Zealand academics are fast approaching the PBRF deadline for quality-assured research outputs to be counted and, perhaps, weighed. Since counting is easier than weighing, and since "quality-assured" doesn't have to be that hard, there's a demand for conferences. Especially ones with published conference proceedings.

And so this turned up in my inbox. Academics get lots of invitations to conferences. This one, I expected to be for a conference held in India or Malaysia. But it's being held in Auckland. It certainly looks high quality. Check it out.

I won't copy most of the conference details, but the key bit for Kiwi academics needing published QA conference proceedings before end-December is that the refereed conference proceedings will be published before the mid-December conference date. I also love how all of the accepted papers will subsequently be published in one of a set of refereed journals within six months of the conference "subject to compliance to the review report, editorial comments and journal's guidelines." Multiple best paper awards will also be presented. And committees that do better at weighing than counting will take note.

Incentives matter. Academics who insist otherwise when it comes to policy sure seem to respond to them when it comes to PBRF.

Here's my absolute favourite bit from the call for papers:

E.  Venue, Conference Lunch And Dinner  Our conference venue is at Rendezvous Hotel in Auckland, New Zealand. You will have several feedings such as arrival, morning and after-noon break-foods , buffet lunch and conference dinner . We  welcome you to this international gatherings of  academics and researchers from many countries of the world. 
The attendees will enjoy several feedings in addition to getting a QA publication in conference proceedings.

Has academia in New Zealand really come to this?


  1. I would expect people working in economics to come up with ways to exploit the PBRF incentives. Who can resist "2 hot and cold mouth-watering lunch, arrival, morning, afternoon break foods"? It sounds like a caterer found a way to make a quick buck and the list of key people looks very strange for a Kiwi-based conference.

  2. It's the dodgiest thing I've seen in a while.

    My bet is that the 'conference' will be pulled soon.

  3. @Luis: At least at Canterbury, we've avoided gaming the system. Best I'm aware anyway.

    @Anon: Doubtful. Best hope is that folks on the appropriate panels take the tip on the conference.

  4. I'm sure some are still wavering, it doesn't specifically say if you will get a free pen or not?