I received a particularly curious spam email:
Dear potential Speaker:
On behalf of the organizing committee, I would like to extend a cordial invitation for you to attend one of the upcoming IPSI BgD multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary conferences.
The first one will take place in Loreto Aprutino, Italy:
All IPSI BgD conferences are non-profit. They bring together the elite of the world science; so far, we have had seven Nobel Laureates speaking at the opening ceremonies. The conferences always take place in some of the most attractive places of the world. All those who come to IPSI conferences once, always love to come back (because of the unique professional quality and the extremely creative atmosphere); lists of past participants are on the web, as well as details of future conferences.
If you would like more information on either conference, please reply to this e-mail message.
If you plan to submit an abstract and paper, please let us know immediately for planning purposes. Note that you can submit your paper also to the IPSI Transactions journal.
Prof. V. Milutinovic, Chairman,
IPSI BgD Conference
My best guess is that this is a particularly sophisticated scam. There is a website , but it looks chaotic and oddly pitched halfway between appeals to vanity and tourism (IPSI-2006 Montreal “With Visits to Jazz and Laughs Festivals”).
The Advisory Board, with three business advisers sharing a surname and listing only Private Universities in Serbia, also rings false. On the other hand, Prof. Milutinovic does have a (perhaps authentically) rum home page apparently on a university domain.
But what, dear reader, is the story here? Perhaps it is an opportunity for scientists in unfashionable areas to get a foreign jolly. Perhaps it’s an opportunistic Serbian business capitalising as much on some baroque fund allocation as the heaving desire of academics to lecture abroad. And how important in all this is the reader’s expectation that academic life in post-Soviet countries is rather slapdash and very money-grubbing?
As ever, your votes are welcome.