Saturday, 15 February 2014

An anonymous commentor reported bribery in DBLP. So, DBLP is a questionable service at least.

Two days ago, we received a helpful comment with a link to:  (See this comment:  )

In the beggining we did not believe it, and we refused to publish the comment.

We could not believe and we do not believe that DBLP is a scam. But the whole operation and the whole project DBLP is strange, because we made several phone calls to various friends and they told us that if you have good relations and friendship with Michael ley, the owner of DBLP, then no problem for you to index your conference or journal in DBLP.
So, after serious and in-depth study, we made the conclusion to publish this comment of "Mohamed Mostafa (Esmati)". It seems to us now that DBLP is not fake, is not bogus, but DBLP is questionable service at least.

We republish the letter from:

My name is Mohamed Mostafa (Esmati) - now a retired IT/CS/MIS lecturer formerly at Ain Shams University. I now have a startup company in Cairo with offices in UAE. ICICIS (The 4th International Conference on Intelligent Computing and Information Systems) approached Michael Ley asking him to consider including its proceedings into DBLP. 

To make the long story short, the ICICIS was told that the cost of including the proceedings into DBLP would be 5,000 Euros (Yes, 5,000 Euros). Although, ICICIS had not budgeted for such a high cost, they did come up with the money. Michael Ley was insisting that this fee should be given to him in CASH! This was very odd! Since, at the time, I was spending two weeks in Koblenz/Germany, ICICIS committee asked me to see Michael Ley in order to give him the 5,000 Euros. 

I called Michael Ley. He asked me to meet with him near a place known as Franco's Tower in Trier. I met him on June 9, 2009 on Tuesday (I remember the date because it was my daughter's birthday on that day). We met. I felt like a drug dealer because when I saw him, he asked me for the money. In politely introduced myself to him. He had no interest in who I was. I asked him if he could give a discount since Egypt (conference venue) is a developing country. 

He was very rude and his comment was very degrading to me. He said, we are in Germany, we ARE NOT in Pakistan, Egypt, India, ... "why do you people always ask for discount?". Then he said if ICICIS would want its proceedings to be included, then I would need to give him the agreed 5,000 Euros. I felt that he was very rude and unprofessional. I gave him the money that he asked for and left. I December 2010, I was attending a conference in India (Bangalore). I was chit-chatting about my experience with Michael Ley and DBLP. I was conversing with a bunch of people who were at the same table (lunching). Two individuals at the table told me that they were also asked to give Michael Ley cash for DBLP inclusion of the proceedings that they had edited and they decided NOT TO. One individual said that what Michael Ley was doing was illegal. He said that if it was not illegal, then why wouldn't he accept checks or wire transfer?! Anyhow, after that day, I did hear from at least 5 others that they have had similar experiences with Michael Ley (asking for CASH) for DBLP. I realized (and am confident) that what Michael Ley is (or had been) doing is illegal. I wanted to inform the community sooner but I was affiliated with a university till recentlly and did not wish to get my university involved. But since I am now retired and I am my own boss, I thought that I inform the community about all this. 

 The interesting thing is that Michael Ley seems to ask money mainly from conferences whose venues are in developing countries. Also, he does not seem to ask for money from IEEE, ACM, or other associations who have many members. In fact, more people have told me that they did not have to pay any money to Michael Ley for DBLP inclusion but these people were all associated with IEEE or ACM conferences. So it appears that Michael Ley is either scared of IEEE and ACM or he has made a multi-year arrangements with them.) This may be a coincidence: but a couple of years ago, the DBLP inclusion process and its management were assigned to a committee. May be Michael Ley's university (Trier) was told about examples of cash changing hands and so the DBLP management was changed as teh result). In view of many, DBLP is now a redundant service. It does not offer any extra when compared to Google Scholar and other citation engines. I also believe the cost of inclusion into DBLP should not be in CASH. This is wrong and I would not be surprised to hear that all the cash received by Michael Ley were never reported to DBLP nor to Trier University. Suggestion to the NEW committee of DBLP: it is fine to charge people but the main reason for inclusion of proceedings into DBLP should be the quality of the papers. Thank you all for listening. Inclusion of journals and conference proceedings into DBLP via the following individual: Michael Ley created the DBLP database. He is the person that I have dealt with in reference to inclusion of ICICIS2009 - Dr. Michael Ley, University of Trier, Germany (aka: Universitat Trier, Germany)

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