World Multiconference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics
WMSCI is organized by the International Institute of Informatics and Systemics. Its General Chair has usually been retired Professor Nagib Callaos. The conference is often held in Orlando, Florida.
The annual WMSCI/ISAS Conferences started in Baden-Baden, Germany, in 1995. At that time, they were known simply as SCI. For the first few years, about 50 papers were presented. It changed its names to WMSCI when it added on collocated conferences in 2005. The multiconference has grown to have an average of about 1500 registered participants, the majority of whom present papers. Since its start in 1995, more than 10,000 papers have been presented on WMSCI and its collocated conferences. Up to 2005 it allowed both reviewed and non-reviewed papers. Since 2006 1) just reviewed papers are accepted, 2) authors of accepted papers have access to the reviews of the reviewers who recommended the acceptance of their paper, and 3) the reviewing process is based on double-blind and non-blind reviewing.
WMSCI is a multi-disciplinary conference where participants focusing on one discipline may attend conferences from related areas. According to the organizers, "this systemic approach stimulates cross-fertilization among different disciplines, inspiring scholars, originating new hypothesis, supporting production of innovations and generating analogies, which is ... a fundamental aim in cybernetics". Objectives of the conference include identification of synergetic relationships among Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics, and establishing communication channels among academic, professional, and business worlds. Their mission statement is as "a forum for focusing into specific disciplinary research, as well as for multi, inter and trans-disciplinary studies and projects". Some say that its mission is rather opaque (needs a reference).
Acceptance of refereed papers
The average acceptance rate in 2009 at WMSCI and related conferences was 32.12%, with the average of 4.93 reviewers per paper/abstract. A combination of double blind peer reviews and open peer reviews was used, with a total of 11902 reviews per 2413 submissions. The organizers claim that for the refereed papers, the acceptance policy of WMSCI is the majority rule, with the tendency to accept papers when in doubt. This policy is more liberal than that of other conferences using the alternative strategy, where papers are accepted when there is the positive agreement of the reviewers. WMSCI's policy increases chances of accepting poor papers, but decreases chances of rejecting good papers. Motivating their acceptance policy, the organizers cite Ernst et al. who showed that the same paper was rated from "unacceptable" to "excellent" according to 6 out of 9 measures by 45 field experts. According to the organizers, their acceptance policy may be better suited for the purpose of bringing together multi-disciplinary engineering communities, and may reduce possibilities of plagiarism and fraud generated by the reviewing process (see also peer review, peer review failure).
Acceptance of non-refereed papers and SCIgen paper acceptance
In the past, WMSCI was known to also accept non-refereed papers. WMSCI attracted publicity of a less favorable sort in 2005 when three graduate students at MIT succeeded in getting a paper accepted as a "non-reviewed paper" to the conference that had been randomly generated by a computer program called SCIgen. WMSCI was chosen as the target for this hoax because the perpetrator felt the conference had spammed him with calls for papers, but documents generated by this software have been used to submit papers to other similar conferences. Following criticism of the per-paper fees and their acceptance of talks without any review the organization responded as follows:
- [We] think it is legitimate and academically respectful to accept non-reviewed papers, especially if we take into account that in the call for papers in our conferences has always been clearly stated that we accept NON-RESEARCH papers submission, as it is the case of position papers, invited papers, case studies, panels’ presentations, reports, etc. which are usually accepted, or not, on a non-reviewing base.
Recently, the organization appears to have abandoned the policy of accepting non-refereed papers. Motivating their acceptance policy, the organization says:
- In a survey made by the National Cancer Institute where “active, resilient, generally successful scientist researchers” were interviewed, just 17.7 percent of them disagreed with the statement “reviewers are reluctant to support unorthodox or high-risk research”... This is one of the reasons why, in WMSCI Conferences, we accepted in the past non-reviewed papers taking the intrinsic risks of this kind of paper acceptances. Deception was a risk that was not perceived at the moment of examining the risks of this kind of acceptance policy."
- A Short CV of Professor Nagib Callaos
- WMSCI 2007
- WMSCI 2008
- The IIIS/SCI Conferences on Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics critical review by Justin Zobel
- WMSCI 2009 Foreword
- 2005 WMSCI website at the Wayback Machine (archived February 21, 2007)
- 2010, Acceptance Policy for Papers to Be Presented at Conferences Organized by IIIS
- Ernst, E; Saradeth, Resch (May 27, 1993). "Drawbacks of peer review". Nature 363 (6427): 296. doi:10.1038/363296a0. PMID 8497307.
- Ball, Philip (April 21, 2005). "Computer conference welcomes gobbledegook paper". Nature 434 (7036): 946. doi:10.1038/nature03653. PMID 15846311.
- On having a huge sadneess April 25, 2005
- Nagib Callaos, 2005 (since removed from the website) at the Wayback Machine (archived March 17, 2007)