19.725 correspondence on IPSI conferences

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 07:03:55 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 725.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 06:14:27 +0100
         From: Ken Friedman <ken.friedman_at_bi.no>
         Subject: IPSI conferences and publications

[The following is an interchange between Ken Friedman, a member of
Humanist, and V. Milutinovic, on the subject of the IPSI
"multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary"
conferences (http://internetconferences.net/), which have been
advertised on Humanist, most recently in 19.101. --WM]

Dear Dr. Milutinovic,

Having been a publisher, I stand by my assertions regarding the
financial implications of your project. The cost of administering the
review process cannot consume the amounts of money you raise,
particularly not in today's digital information environment.

As a scholar, I disagree with the notion that 12 reviews is better 2
or 3. Scientists do wish for a response to their work. That is the
purpose of the conference. The purpose of the review is to ensure a
conference presentation of reasonable quality.

Either way, IPSI is NOT a non-profit organization. It is a
profit-making firm. Your web site states that "IPSI Belgrade Ltd. is
a company jointly founded by German and Serbian capital, formed in
March 2003. Capital from USA and Japan was added later. Its primary
field is the development of new technologies and software engineering
in multimedia, visualization, information processing, management and
representation, networking and intelligent Internet, but we also work
in hardware engineering."

Even if this were non-profit, it would be possible for you as an
academic entrepreneur to run an extremely profitable non-profit
enterprise. The fact that your books are audited does not change this
fact. It could just as well mean that your organization allows you to
earn a high salary for your entrepreneurial work while enjoying the
travel opportunities to the locations you select for conferences.
Given the differences in cost of living and weighted currency between
Yugoslavia and Europe, my guess is that this is possible while
supporting a number of assistants and supporting your organization
through the "internal taxes" that most universities and many
non-profits claim on the funding their scientists and institutes
generate. This internal tax constitutes an increasingly important
part of university and non-profit funding around the world, and
organizations recognize the value of scholars who can raise the funds
that pay these internal taxes. In this way, a non-profit institution
can legitimately raise and spend the kind of money that would appear
as profit in a normal business enterprise. Of course, salaries and
expenses are costs in profit-making businesses as well as in
non-profit enterprises, so -- in theory -- you could be earning a
massive salary within a non-profit enterprise, all legitimate and
still non-profit. As long as your organization approves the budget,
the finance department must also accept it. Since you are bringing
hard currency into Yugoslavia while supporting assistants, local
printers, and the like, I should imagine that the state finance
department approves of your project in every respect.

Reviewing the travel arrangements and planning process required for
so many conferences -- 28 conferences in 2 years! -- in so many
locations, I would imagine that there are also many ways for your
travel partners to reward your initiative outside Yugoslavia in ways
that are not subject to state audit. I do not suggest that this is
the case, but I do assert that this would be possible in ways that
are in each case legal under local law while remaining invisible to
your organization and to the finance department. It is also possible
that the Euro-to-dinar flow of conference fees paid in at the typical
1=89 interbank exchange rate (as of this morning) is so valuable that
no one would mind if you were to earn supplementary fees outside
Yugoslavia. Again, I do not suggest that you do, but it is possible
and there might be no objection at your organization or the ministry
were a successful academic entrepreneur to do so.

As it is, however, IPSI is a joint capital corporation. You are its
founding CEO and therefore -- presumably -- a major shareholder. It
is impossible to claim that a venture of this magnitude that works as
a conference management organization to manages 28 conferences in a
two-year period is non-profit in a normal sense of the word.
Especially not when the entire business is organized as a joint
capital corporation with foreign ownership as well as the local
control that is typical of most non-profit organizations.

Having organized many conferences over the past several decades, I
cannot see how you can be involved in the scientific issues or
scholarly agenda of so many conferences at one time. This suggests to
me that you are the chairman of a conference management and
publishing firm rather than the chairman of any one conference in a
scientific sense. As I wrote to Willard, you are apparently a
hard-working and widely published scholar in your life as a professor
at the University of Belgrade, but you seem to be an entrepreneurial
manager and shareholder at IPSI. It is IPSI and not the University of
Belgrade that is organizing these conferences, and that means they
function in the framework of a profit-making company. If this were
not true, in fact, your shareholders and investors would not likely
permit you to use the vast resources and time required to organize 28
conferences in two years. My analysis of the venture and its
profitable implications suggests, instead, that this is a major
revenue stream for IPSI, and -- for IPSI -- it should be.

This must also be a highly desirable enterprise in the Yugoslavian
national economy. Any organization that transacts as much money as
you must be transacting on an annual basis through a public activity
is probably of great interest to the finance department, since this
kind of money provides a major inflow to the economy of strong
currency and significant tax revenue to the state.

What I cannot see is how this serves a legitimate scholarly or
scientific purpose in a world where most major organizations (or
their divisions) manage no more than one scientific conference a
year. 28 conferences and all those proceedings volumes must have some
other purpose. Since IPSI is a capital corporation rather than a
non-profit organization, it is fair to conclude that this purpose is
profit. There is nothing illegal about earning a profit: I simply do
not see how this venture serves scientific or scholarly goals.


Ken Friedman
Professor of Leadership and Strategic Design
Institute for Communication, Culture, and Language
Norwegian School of Management

Center for Design Research
Denmark's Design School

+47 Tlf NSM
+47 Tlf Privat

email: ken.friedman_at_bi.no

p.s. since you have written to several of us regarding a public
conversation on the Humanist list, I am copying this to the editor of Humanist.

>Dear Sirs:
>My assistant found about your correspondance on the web,
>in February 2005, and here are my explanations:
>1. We start from the assumption that all real scientists are eager
>to obtain as much feedback about their work as follows,
>and that is why we send each paper to so many reviewers. The
>administering of that process is very costly, but we feel that it is of
>that IPSI offers something that is different and better.
>2. For the journal, again, the reviewing process is costly, and the
>publication process much more. The whole activity is non profit (our
>books are evaluated by the finance department of the state, on the
>yearly basis).
>prof. dr. V. Milutinovic,
>Fellow of the IEEE
>> > > Dear Willard,
>>> This is strange to me for many reasons. I can't understand
>>> why one would
>> > need 12 (twelve!) reviewers. Top journals in most fields get
>> by with two > or
>>> three.
>>> But IF one has 12 reviewers, acceptance by 6 is even more
>>> strange. To > me,
>>> this suggests a cursory gate-keeping process with thumbs-up, thumbs-down
>>> acceptance rather than serious reviewer comments and editorial
>>> engagement.
>>> If this is so, it would substitute quantitative review voting
for serious
>> > engagement as a misguided proxy for rigor.
>>> IPSI itself is not an academic organization, however. It is
a business.
>>> Check out the IPSI web site:
>> > http://www.ipsi.co.yu/
>>> What doesn't seem appropriate is the paper fees and page fees
>>> they seem > to
>>> charge. At 400 Euros for a 6-page paper, with 100 Euros
>>> surcharge for each
>>> extra page, IPSI may find publishing transactions a profitable
>>> enterprise.
>>> I located IPSI Transactions on the IPSI web site at:
>>> http://internetjournals.net/
>> > So far, the only transactions seem to be produced by .pdf.
>> One wonders,
>>> therefore, what expenses require these kinds of paper fees and page fees
>>> The first issue of IPSI Transactions of Advanced Research carries 11
>>> papers. So does the first issue of IPSI Transactions on
>>> Internet Research.
>>> A simple calculation shows what the support fees mean.
Imagine that one
>>> were to run 11 6-page papers with, say, an average of 2 pages
>>> each. At 400 Euros per paper, authors would pay a total of
4,400 Euros in
>>> support fees. Estimating another 22 pages at 100 Euros
surcharge for each
>>> extra page, the surcharge would total 2,200. The publishers
would take in
>>> 6,600 Euros per issue.
>>> The two issues I found have a monthly publication date (Both
>>> are January
>>> 2005). If IPSI produces one issue per month, twelve months a year of two
>>> periodicals, using the calculations I suggest, they would
>>> realize an > income
>> > of 158,400 per year, nearly all of it profit.
>>> And that explains the fees.
>>> They are also in the conference business:
>>> http://www.internetconferences.net/
>>> They are holding 12 (twelve again!) conferences in 2005, all at scenic
>>> travel locations. A suspicious mind might wonder whether an organization
>>> such as this is actually running a travel business to profit from
>>> conference fees and site arrangement on conferences that allow
>>> speakers to
>>> claim travel support from their schools and companies. If you
>>> download the
>>> conference abstract books, you find an odd mix of themes and topics.
>>> Whatever the reason for these conferences, the spectrum of
>>> interests > within
>>> each conference makes me wonder what common interest links
>>> those who > attend
>>> at any one of the twelve locations.
>>> Whatever the reason for running twelve conferences, I know of
>>> no > scholarly
>>> or scientific organization that runs twelve full conferences a year.
>>> There's plenty of work involved in running one serious
>>> conference, and the
>>> work is serious enough that most organizations shift chairs at each
>>> conference. Even so, Veljko Milutinovic seems to be a hard
working person
>>> with a huge load of books and articles to his credit -- some
widely cited
>>> -- so he might thrive on this kind of workload. Then again, if
>>> I could > earn
>> > that kind of money IPSI earns publishing transactions and chairing
>>> conferences, I suppose I'd thrive on the workload, too.
>>> Yours,
>>> Ken
>>> > Dear colleagues:
>>> > > > Anyone who can shed light on the practice of charging authors for
>>> > publishing submissions please comment on the following. This would seem
>>> > different from requiring a subvention for a book, since (a)
>>> the author is
>>> > expected to pay, and (b) a journal article would, I'd think,
>>> be unlikely > > to
>>> > be supported by a funding body. In the following case, the number of
>>> > reviewers also seems rather high.
>>> > > > Yours,
>>> > WM
>>> > -- Ken Friedman Professor of Leadership and Strategic
>>> Design Department > of Leadership and Organization Norwegian
>>> School of Management Design > Research Center Denmark's Design
>>> School +47 06600 Tlf NSM +47 > Tlf
>>> Office +47 Tlf
>>> Privat email: > ken.friedman_at_bi.no >
>>> --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------
>> > Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2005 06:14:32 +0000 From: Kevin
>> Hawkins > <kshawkin_at_umich.edu> >> paying
for > publishing on internet research Dear Willard ("Dr.
>> Humanist"): Some of > those involved in studying the financial
>> crisis in scholarly communication > propose the "'author pays'
>> model" to cope with the exponentially rising > cost of scholarly
>> literature. If you search on this phrase, you'll find >
>> references to this disucssion. evin >
>> --[3]------------------------------------------------------------------
>> > Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2005 06:14:59 +0000 F
>>> rom:
>>> Norman Hinton <hinton_at_springnet1.com> Subject:
>>> Re: 18.594 > paying for publishing on internet research Willard
>>> (aka "Dr. Humanist") > Good Lord ! I'd tell them where to shove
>>> it. As Walter Ong used to say > "There's always some place else
>>> to publish omething". >
>>> --[4]------------------------------------------------------------------
>> > Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2005 06:15:20 +0000 From: Pat
>> Galloway > <galloway_at_ischool.utexas.edu> Subject:
>> Re: 18.594 paying for > publishing on internet research This
>> payment for publishing is one of the > open-access models, that
>> championed by the Public Library of Science, > whereby the
>> author's grant funds ($1500 per article with PLoS, which does >
>> no other cost-recovery) pay for keeping the online journals
>> online and > available to the public (peer reviewers get credit
>> toward publishing > their own stuff). Scientists can in fact get
>> funding to place their > articles online because of the
>> requirement that they dissem
>>> i
>>> nate
>>> their work widely, and the cost under this model is less than
>>> the page > charges they already pay for paper journals. Of
>>> course scientists have > been posting preprints online for a
>>> long time, but if their institution > has a repository that
>>> guarantees persistence, then the institution pays. > Open
>>> access isn't after all free, and there are several models
>>> for > publishing online AND keeping the publication available
>>> in perpetuity, > which is the puzzle piece you must have if you
>>> are to have a scholarly > literature. Pat Galloway School of
>>> Information University of > Texas-Austin
>> > > >
>> http://lists.village.virginia.edu/lists_archive/Humanist/v18/0586.html
>>> > > > > > > ---------------------------------
>>> Do you Yahoo!?
>>> With a free 1 GB, there's more in store with Yahoo! Mail.

Ken Friedman
Professor of Leadership and Strategic Design
Institute for Communication, Culture, and Language
Norwegian School of Management
Center for Design Research
Denmark's Design School
+47    Tlf NSM
+47    Tlf Privat
email: ken.friedman_at_bi.no
Received on Fri Apr 21 2006 - 03:14:51 EDT

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