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The Scientist
The Scientist

OA publisher accepts fake paper

An open access journal has agreed to publish a nonsensical article written by a computer program, claiming that the manuscript was peer reviewed and requesting that the "authors" pay $800 in "open access fees." Philip Davis, a PhD student in scientific communications at Cornell University, and Kent Anderson, executive director of international business and product development at the __New England Journal of Medicine__, submitted the fake manuscript to linkurl:__The Open Information Science Jour

By | June 10, 2009

An open access journal has agreed to publish a nonsensical article written by a computer program, claiming that the manuscript was peer reviewed and requesting that the "authors" pay $800 in "open access fees." Philip Davis, a PhD student in scientific communications at Cornell University, and Kent Anderson, executive director of international business and product development at the __New England Journal of Medicine__, submitted the fake manuscript to linkurl:__The Open Information Science Journal__;http://www.bentham.org/open/toiscij/ (__TOISCIJ__) at the end of January.

Image: Jupiter Images
Davis generated the linkurl:paper,;https://confluence.cornell.edu/download/attachments/2523490/Access+Points.pdf which was titled "Deconstructing Access Points," using a computer program -- called SCIgen -- created at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He and Anderson signed the work using pseudonyms (David Phillips and Andrew Kent). The two listed the "Center for Research in Applied Phrenology" (CRAP) as their home institution on the paper, which featured fictitious tables, figures and references. "I wanted to really see whether this article would be peer reviewed," said Davis. "[Our paper] has the look of an article, but it makes no sense." Davis told __The Scientist__ that he got the idea for this "little experiment" after receiving scores of spam emails soliciting article submissions and invitations to serve on editorial boards of open access journals from Bentham Science Publishers, __TOISCIJ__'s publisher. According to its linkurl:website,;http://www.bentham.org/ Bentham publishes "200 plus open access journals" that cover disciplines from bioinformatics and pharmacology to engineering and neuroscience. "One of the things that made Bentham catch our eye," Anderson said, "was that they were so aggressively soliciting manuscripts." The two wrote about the incident today on the linkurl:Scholarly Kitchen,;http://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/ the Society for Scholarly Publishing blog that they run. Davis said that last week the journal notified him that it had accepted the manuscript, which contained absolutely meaningless statements typified by the first few lines of its introduction: "Compact symmetries and compilers have garnered tremendous interest from both futurists and biologists in the last several years. The flaw of this type of solution, however, is that DHTs can be made empathic, large-scale, and extensible. Along these same lines, the drawback of this type of approach, however, is that active networks and SMPs can agree to fix this riddle." He received an linkurl:email;https://confluence.cornell.edu/download/attachments/2523490/acceptance+letter.gif from Ms. Sana Mokarram, assistant manager of publication at Bentham, that the manuscript "has been accepted for publication after peer-reviewing process in __TOISCIJ__." But Davis said that he received no reviewer comments in reference to the sham manuscript. "The publisher said that it went through peer review," Davis said. "That looks very suspect. [Bentham says] that they're a scientific publication that does peer review, but at least in one case they did not do peer review, and they said that they did." I called Richard Morrissy, who's listed as the US contact for Bentham Science Publishers on the company's linkurl:website,;http://www.bentham.org/Contact.php but he declined to answer my questions and instead directed me to his supervisor, Matthew Honan, who works in Bentham's France office. Honan does not have a phone number, according to Morrissy, and he did not reply to an email (which was CC'ed to Bentham's marketing team in Pakistan) by the time this article was posted. Earlier this year, Davis submitted another fake SCIgen-generated manuscript to a Bentham journal, __The Open Software Engineering Journal__, and it was rejected after what appeared to be an actual peer review process. Mokarram's acceptance email for the __TOISCIJ__ article had a linkurl:fee form;https://confluence.cornell.edu/download/attachments/2523490/Publisher+Fee+Form.xls attached, asking Davis to submit an $800 payment to a post office box in the SAIF Zone, a tax-free complex in the United Arab Emirates. Davis wrote back and retracted the manuscript. "We have discovered several errors in the manuscript which question both the validity of the study and the results," he wrote in an email to Mokarram. Davis said that he considered scraping together the $800 to see if Bentham would actually publish the fake paper, but considered that taking the hoax further would be "unethical." "I think that the point has been made," he said. "And, I mean, it's $800, and I'm a graduate student." All joking aside, Davis and Andrews say the episode points out potentially serious flaws in the open-access, author-pay model being adopted by an increasing number of publishers. "What happens to be going on is that some publishers see this as a lucrative opportunity," Davis said. "This open access environment may set up the condition under which publishers could use the good will of academics and their institutions for profit motives." Open access journals generally charge authors fees to publish research papers. For example, BioMed Central journals linkurl:charge;http://www.biomedcentral.com/info/about/apcfaq#howmuch up to $2265 in "article processing fees," and publishing in the PloS family of journals linkurl:costs;http://www.plos.org/journals/pubfees.html authors between $1300 - $2850. With institutional libraries, including Cornell's, and granting institutions, such as the Wellcome Trust and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, offering to pay open access publication fees for faculty authors and grantees, the potential for abuse may be increasing. "It's almost an inevitability that you might have several publishers tempted to take advantage of this relatively easy money," said Anderson. But open access advocate Peter Suber from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, told __The Scientist__ that the problem is not the open access business model, per se. "If it were intrinsically suspect, we would have to level that criticism at a much wider swath of subscription journals," many of which also charge page fees when manuscripts are accepted for publication, Suber said. As for Bentham, Suber noted that "many questions about their business" have been circulating for more than a year. "There's a whole range of quality in open access journals," Suber said, "in the same way that there is a whole range of quality in subscription journals." __Correction (June 10): The original version of this story incorrectly gave Peter Suber's affiliation as Earlham University in Richland, Virginia. Suber is actually at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. __The Scientist__ regrets the error.__
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:Merck published fake journal;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55671/
[30th April 2009]*linkurl:How not to launch a journal;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/23230/
[16th March 2006]*linkurl:Need a paper? Fake it;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15445/
[9th May 2005]
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Comments

Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 125

June 10, 2009

Whether online or print, the publishers need articles to sell their journals and increase their readership. On the other hand, selecting the articles that are scientifically sound, genuine, and unplagiarized is quite difficult to do properly. It's inevitable that at least a few faked, qurestionable, or plagiarized articles will be published in even the most prestigious journals - perhaps particularly in the top journals, as almost everyone wants to be published in those for the obvious reasons.

June 10, 2009

\nI agree that it has been inevitable so far. However, it does not mean that it has to be eternally inevitable. Errors and omissions are part of life. As it is part of life to put in place the proper mechanisms to correct them, once the errors and omissions are in the public domain. Particularly when they can have a negative impact in the way we do science, or get funding and so on.\n\nA very smart joke by two young students!!. Thank you, guys.\n\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

June 10, 2009

This publisher seems to routinely solicit scientists to join the editorial boards of their open access journals, enticing them with a 10% royalty on the publishing fees if they handle more than 10 manuscripts per year. Do they ever pay this percentage to anyone? For the journal they launched in my particular field more than two years ago, I doubt that they have published ten papers in total yet. One possible interpretation is that they are exploiting the vanity of those who like to see their names on journal editorial boards, or those who don't have the diligence to check that the journal is worthy of their support. The incident exposed in this article seems to confirm my worst fears about this publisher.
Avatar of: Forrest Mims

Forrest Mims

Posts: 3

June 10, 2009

What about the exorbitant fees charged by many subscription journals for both recent papers and those published decades ago? Fees of $20 to $30 are commonly charged for such papers. Some societies provide free access to older papers, but they are a definite minority.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 51

June 10, 2009

One remedy for such fraudulent activities is that names of peer reviewers who happened to recommend accepting manuscripts for publication should be revealed when asked for!. This might be a deterrent procedure for commiting falsification data as well as to expose careless publishers. I personally rejected so many invitations to be on editorial boards with this publisher as well as many open access journals.
Avatar of: Ellen Hunt

Ellen Hunt

Posts: 199

June 10, 2009

There is a famous rubbish paper that was published in a non-open-source journal, sociology I believe. It was produced by a computer program. The program appeared on the internet and I played with it. Very convincing rubbish. \n\nA couple of years back I was sent a manuscript by an editor who asked if I would be willing to wade through the math. Very dense prose, but totally ridiculous. Took a whole morning to disentangle what it said. I told the editor I thought that his journal was being tested. \n\nI think what these students did is excellent. I also think someone should foot the bill to publish their "work". Clearly, what is needed here is not less rubbishy manuscripts, but many more of them. What needs to happen is for more or less permanent projects to be set up to submit trash of various grades to all sorts of journals and publish them. Then publish a real study of the rate at which various journals publish rubbish. And this shouldn't be a one time thing! \n\nI propose that the grades of scientific rubbish be set as:\n-Gibberish: What these students did. Obviously meaningless crap produced by machine. \n-Rubbish: Human written dense prose that boils down to little or nothing. \n-Fraud: Made up data for studies that don't exist. \n-Plagiarism: Copy or cut and paste from one or more papers to create a manuscript. \n-Junk: Manuscripts that are original work but don't hold together. We have all seen a few of these. Data and figures that are real with lots of words around them but it just doesn't mean what the writer says it does. \n\nI also suggest that all legitimate journals sign an agreement that they will flag any papers by the project prominently, after the fact, as one of the above in a prominent way so that they won't get cited. This can be done with online journals. Yes, it will be embarassing, but also sobering to us all.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

June 10, 2009

Unless I'm mistaken it was not sociology but literary criticism.\n\nIt was not written by a computer program but a real person.\n\nThe author was Alan Sokol, a physicist at New York University. In 1996 he decided to write a parody of deconstructionism and submit it to a small journal called _Social Text._ It was published after peer review of some sort. Shortly thereafter he uncloaked his deception. Quite a controversy ensued; it became a cause celebre in the so-called culture wars.\n\nProfessor Sokol continues to maintain a website at physics-slash-nyu-dot-edu concerning the parody and the 13-years'-worth of follow-on material.
Avatar of: David Hill

David Hill

Posts: 41

June 10, 2009

If you do serious research, you know how important it is to be able to repeat findings. A substantial portion of the "carefully referreed" scientific literature is misleading, and unfortunately in many areas it is not deemed "polite" to be critical. In my field, I have the experience (more frequently than I would like) of finding that some reputable professor does not care to respond to my questions regarding his or her experimental technique, or hypotheses. Fortunately, science (independent verification of observations) will prevail in the long term. Open access is a must-have for the future, but pay-to-publish will go by the way as authors and societies get more intelligent about their publishing options. I see independent publication, and continuing review and feedback (by a wide audience) part of the emerging reality. You don't have to publish under open-access, but then no one is compelled to read your work, either.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 3

June 10, 2009

As someone who is on an editorial board by this publisher, I'm not happy to see that this paper got through. Sure, it has always been clear to me that the new frontier of open access publishing was generating the creation of too many new journals hungry for anyone to submit a paper. New journals and new publishers have a big hill to climb to earn the reputations. Like any publisher, they are trying to make a living at what they do. Lower impact work is sure to get through, but there is no excuse for complete garbage to make it through. \n\nI've reviewed many articles for this publisher and take my duties seriously. I don't expect Nature or Science level manuscripts, but I do expect the manuscript to pass scientific muster. I want OA journals to succeed and I'm glad to do my part to help.\n\nWhat the publisher can do is make sure every submitted paper receives reviewer comments. I also think it is very helpful when the editorial office shares reviewer's comments among the reviewers. This lets the reviewers know they are not alone and I think helps foster better reviews. This was done for the last manuscript i reviewed for the The Open Bone Journal. I was one of 3 reviewers. It is highly suspicious to have a peer-reviewed article accepted without comments. This simply should not happen.
Avatar of: Michael Zimmer

Michael Zimmer

Posts: 11

June 10, 2009

Isn't this more an issue to do with pay-to-publish journals? - a business model that is no means limited to just Open Access journals.\n(There are some journals that make scientists pay to publish articles, and then pay to read the articles!)\n\nIt is also questionable to automatically place the blame Bentham. Surely some scientists might be smart enough to notice a ripe opportunity for easy money in all that "spam": sign up to as many boards as possible and just automatically approve all manuscripts sent your way. A journal which doesn't have a quality control on its peer review process could easily run into the unfortunate situation where enough fake reviewers are on their board that papers regularly get through without a real review.\n\nYes, as the publisher, Bentham is ultimately responsible for putting QC in place to ensure peer review is actually being followed - but it may be a crime of negligence rather than deception.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

June 11, 2009

I am also not happy to hear that, as I serve on the board of one of these journals by Bentham. My personal experience so far was of a mixed type: I received one paper for review (not for communicating reviews) that fell totally out of my field of expertise (which I had of course indicated when joining the board), so I of course had to decline reviewing it. Another article abstract was of such bad quality that I could not even understand what it should have been about, which I le t the editor know and never heard back again; and finally I received one proper article that was quite good, fit well to my expertise and the journal and thus received my full list of critiques and recommendations. A look at the articles actually published in the journal so far suggests to me that it ultimately publishes solid articles and that my experience likely mainly reflects starting troubles of the journal. So my hope would be that the reported case remains a unique one and that not all journals by this publisher are dubious. However, should a similar case come up again, I will undoubtedly pull out of the board.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

June 11, 2009

Bentham is a known black sheep among publishers. I published a warning on my blog over a year ago: http://gunther-eysenbach.blogspot.com/2008/03/black-sheep-among-open-access-journals.html\n\nAuthors should know that the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association has recently been founded (OASPA). Members have to comply to certain quality standards. Bentham is not a member of this association.\n\nTo frame this as an issue of open access journals is misleading. The same software program has been used by others to test other peer-review processes, and this is not the first time a fake article has been accepted. With submitting the manuscript only to open access journals, Davis seems to aim for a specific result to discredit open access publishers as a whole, which is advocacy, not research.
Avatar of: marc williams

marc williams

Posts: 6

June 11, 2009

I serve on the editorial advisory board of The Open Stem Cell Journal. On hearing this story I requested my name to be removed with immediate effect. I serve on the editorial boards of other journals as an ordinary member or associate editor. In my own experience, the case described herein is unprecedented and is sufficient to warrant serious concerns of the credibility of Bentham Open as a publishing enterprise. In science and medical research there is a recent and accelerating vested interest in tackling the issues of conflict of interest, fraud, and malpractice and so on. How can one continue to serve on an editorial board of any journal of a publishing house that not only allows this malpractice, but attempts to defend itself by deliberately fabricating arguments to the contrary - in this case, that the said manuscript had been peer-reviewed when in actual fact it had not. \n\nI submit to my learned colleagues that this is just not good enough. I hope that this is an isolated case specific to Bentham Science Publishers but I am afraid, the reputation of this publishing house is now seriously and irrevocably damaged. I believe it is incumbent upon us as editorial board members to refuse to serve until firm and absolute reassurances are issues or better still made public that such malpractices can never be allowed to occur again. In any case, one event is too many and for that reason alone I summarily requested my name to be withdrawn from the editorial advisory board of The Open Stem Cell Journal. I should sincerely hope that others will follow.\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 1

June 11, 2009

Perhaps it escaped the notice of The Scientist and other commentators on this article but one of the people involved in the submission of this hoax article to the Bentham journal was the "executive director of international business and product development"at the New England Journal of Medicine. It would seem to me that this represents a significant conflict of interest on the part of the hoaxers. From the description of prior unsuccessful nonsense submissions by Davis and Anderson to Bentham one might make the case that they were simply out to discredit the competition. It should be noted that the New England Journal of Medicine would be the first to complain (and complain loudly indeed) if I submitted a fake article to a journal showing a competitor's drug or ideas in a poor light without even disclosing the potential conflict. Did these authors carry out similar hoaxes at other open access journals? \n
Avatar of: Maria Castro

Maria Castro

Posts: 4

June 11, 2009

My view on this issue is that the authors of the fake paper should invest their time more productively doing real science rather than trying to trick jorurnals into accepting thier fake papers.\nFurther, if one wants to "cheat", this will be possible not only in OA journals, but also in very high impact and reputable journals.\nWe all know too well the "fake" claims in the human stem cell papers which had to be retracted from the journal Science and this is just an example of many more "fake" data published in such prestigious journals such as Nature, Blood, Cancer Research, etc, etc. You only need to ,look at the long list of retractions in such journals over the years. \nIf Bernie Maddoff could pull off an unimaginable ponzy scheme that fulled the sharpest and brigtest financial minds of our country, it is not surprising that if we put our minds and intelligence to try to fool a journal, we are going to achieve this.\nI fully support open access and I think it is everyone's responsibility to ensure its transparency and accuracy. We are not going to achieve this by not participating in their editorial boards or not acting as reviewers.\nFurther, it is also required to pay publication charges in most regular journals. These hoaxes should stop and scientists should invest their time and brain power in making science a loftier endeavour!
Avatar of: Thomas Moritz

Thomas Moritz

Posts: 5

June 11, 2009

Weak editorial standards and sloppy peer review have nothing at all to do with a journal being "open access"? I wonder why The Scientist even went with that lead for this article?\n\nConventional publishers are desperately fighting a rearguard action to defend "the way we've always done it" to keep the cash flowing. They see "open access" as a threat -- hence the effort to associate "open access" with low standards.\n\nWe need to make knowledge freely and openly available as public goods -- open access is one important corrective to the abuses of the journal system by conventional publishers... (A Washington Post article a few years ago quoted the head of Elsevier explaining why they had a 30% (!!!) profit margin...\n\n
Avatar of: Caroline Sutton

Caroline Sutton

Posts: 2

June 12, 2009

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) has responded to this incident in a blog post here:\nhttp://oaspa.org/blog/2009/06/11/publishing-ethics-open-access-and-oaspa/\nAs the blog notes, one of the incentives behind the establishment of OASPA was to ensure that authors and readers can have confidence in the editorial standards enforced by new journals and publishers. This is reflected in the organization's mission statement. Publishers who seek membership in OASPA must demonstrate that they meet with a code of conduct established by the organization. Bentham is not a member of OASPA.
Avatar of: J. Harnad

J. Harnad

Posts: 3

June 12, 2009

Although few "Gold" OA publishers are so categorically substandard, the economics of the "authors pay" business formula give an inducement to accept as many articles as possible in order to increase revenues. This is in contrast to subscription based journals, where the only incentive is to be perceived, within the user community, as having high standards and good distribution in order to maximize subscriptions.\n When OA advocate Peter Suber says "the problem is not the open access business model, per se. If it were intrinsically suspect, we would have to level that criticism at a much wider swath of subscription journals", he can only be referring to those that adopt the same revenue generating formula as the "Gold" OA model, i.e. which also charge substantial page charges to authors. \n The tendency in "Gold OA" => "authors pay" journals will always be to compromise standards in order to increase content, and hence, revenue. This is in contrast with subscription journals, which may still be perfectly compatible with the OA objective, simply by tolerating simultaneous deposit in free, publicly accessible repositories, as most do in other domains, such as those included at http://arxiv.org/, but which have no motivation to accept substandard papers.\n Even if the papers are not overtly fake, refereeing that is negligent or even absent is tempting to a commercial publisher using any business formula based on an "authors pay" model of revenue generation.\n All this has long been pointed out by concerned researchers in other areas. Perhaps it bears similar scrutiny in Life Sciences journals.\n\nHarnad, J. (2008), "Approaches to Open Access in Scientific Publishing" http://arxiv.org/abs/0811.2603\n\nHarnad, John (2008), "Free for all", Physics World, Vol. 21 16 -17 (December, 2008).\n\nHarnad, John (2007) "Clarifying Open Access: its implications for the research community" (Letter). Physics World 29(3) (March, 2007).\n\nGuinessy, Paul (2007) "Stakeholders weigh costs of open access publishing", Physics Today, 60(8) 29-20\n\n\n\n\n
Avatar of: Caroline Sutton

Caroline Sutton

Posts: 2

June 12, 2009

I feel compelled to refute Harnad's statement that "The tendency in "Gold OA" => "authors pay" journals will always be to compromise standards in order to increase content, and hence, revenue.". This is an oversimplified assumption about profit motive and reflects a lack of understanding of what drives SERIOUS businesses.\n\nSerious OA publishers, such as those who are members of OASPA, are sensitive to the potential conflict of interest that publication fees can imply. To give an example, at Co-Action Publishing we have consciously structured our operations such that editorial functions are entirely separate from financial functions. Our journals are led by external editorial teams and it is the sole judgement of an Editor-in-Chief to accept or reject a manuscripit. Under no circumstances do we interfere with this judgement. At the same time, the ability of authors to pay is unbeknown to our editors. Those authors who wish to discuss a waiver, take contact directly with the publisher.\n\nIt is in neither our interests as a business nor in the interests of our editors to accept manuscripts for publication that are below standard. Both of our reputations are at stake. When it comes to journals publishing and to building academic careers, reputation is everything.\n\nTo the contrary of the tendency Harnad suggests, we offer a no questions asked waiver (as do BMC and PLoS, etc.) for those authors who do not have sufficient funding - precisely because we wish to capture the best research being published in the field covered by the journal. This is in our best interest and that of the research community.\n\nSerious publishers, such as the members of OASPA, understand that the only way to build a solid and successful journal and business is by publishing articles of the highest possible quality. Yes, some of us do have an interest in earning a living from our publishing activities. But businesses as well as individual journals are more profitable over the long run when high quality in all respects is at the heart of our business. Those who are out to make a "fast buck" (and I do realize that unfortunately there are some) may make a fast buck, but they will be out of business rather quickly and be sitting with "just a fast buck".\n\nHaving placed my personal life savings into building an OA publishing house together with my partners, I can assure you, I am not interested in a fast buck....\n\n
Avatar of: J. Harnad

J. Harnad

Posts: 3

June 12, 2009

I did not mean to suggest that all, or even a majority, of Gold OA "authors pay" publishers have chosen to adopt policies that compromise, a priori, quality standards. As my December 2008 PhysicsWorld article points out, and so does the more detailed version posted at the arXiv, there are many competing new and old publishers trying out such models, and most of these try to implement perfectly respectable evaluation procedures and standards. However, the logic of this business model does lead to a tendency either to cut corners on the side of quality standards, or to seek cost-cutting measures, in the way of automated procedures in which there are decisions that ought to be taken by experts in the subject that are sometimes relegated to "standardized procedures" by administrative staff. The absence, e.g., of a qualified editor-in-chief in a "community based" journal could lead to either inadequate scrutiny or decisions made in too automated a fashion. This does not imply the publisher is either dishonest or rapacious; the business formula has to be made to work, and adequate revenues must be generated for a journal to keep functioning. \n\nThe success (or lack of it) of many new journals trying to operate in this mode, especially in areas already adequately served by repositories like arXiv, shows that it is not easy to persuade authors to cut significantly into their research grants (if they have them) in order to pay for page charges, when other, cheaper, and possibly better alternatives are available, especially when these already achieve the purpose of OA in a realistic and satisfactory way.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 125

June 15, 2009

just like my own doctoral advisor, fake or doctored journals will always be submitted and even published. Well, he claimed that scientific theories constantly evolve over time, so that makes science subjective. Perhaps valid from a philosophical standpoint, but, then, over time, I realized from how he works, that it was a cover for his sloppy science or inability to form plausible and convincing hypotheses - all to ultimately protect his financial and career interests.

June 16, 2009

I wish to bring to the attention of readers a similar case that occurred two years ago to a traditional scientific journal of a traditional publisher, but that attracted much less attention than this. \nIn 2007, Elsevier' journal Applied Mathematics and Computation (Impact factor: 0.821, rank 61 out of 165 in its ISI category, publishing since 1975) accepted a paper entitled "Cooperative, compact algorithms for randomized algorithms", by Rohollah Mosallahnezhad (DOI link ). \nThe paper was as well generated with SCIgen; to have an idea of the style, this is an extract:\nExperts agree that encrypted methodologies are an interesting new topic in the field of theory, and information theorists concur. In this position paper, we argue the appropriate unification of web browsers and Internet QoS. Our focus in this paper is not on whether information retrieval systems can be made reliable, linear time, and Bayesian, but rather on describing new wireless archetypes (Bots). \nAfter some online discussion, the article has been retracted, as you can see now on the journal web site. \nHowever, if you would like to look at the original, is still available here. \nFor some reason, this case had much less follow-up, and did not drive to immediate step down of editors, which is a scientifically honest reaction to such kind of accident. As this is not open access, not even online publishing, and so, perhaps attention about quality should be put elsewhere.\n\n
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 8

June 16, 2009

check the letters to the editor in Journal of animal science - the editorial staff of the journal of animal science had been provided the actual key to data sets showing that the data publshed in several papers - three different trials are incorrect - and fail to follow there own guidelines concerning steps that the editor in chief should follow when concerns of misconduct - publishing of incorrect data is brought forth. \nIf you want a real life situation of how a person can openly testify that the data is incorrect and no one - the funding agnecy - the universities or the journal society do anything about it - look at the Journal of animal science. \n\n
Avatar of: Daniel Dvorkin

Daniel Dvorkin

Posts: 20

June 18, 2009

Agreed with what other posters have said -- this looks like a deliberate jab at OA, with a rather serious conflict of interest involved to boot; and subscription journals have been taken in by similar hoaxes. The Applied Mathematics and Computation case is really more shocking, in that apparently some real peer review was done and the SCIgen paper was still accepted! But I don't recall any stories headlined "Traditional journal accepts fake paper."\n\nAs for saying that the OA model causes a "tendency" to accept fake (or just very bad) papers, that's a weasel word in this context. If you want to show a tendency, then show it, don't just assert it. Send a large number of fake papers to OA journals, and the same papers to traditional journals, in a variety of fields, and show that there's a significant difference in the number accepted by each. As of yet all we've seen is speculation and assertion, with far too little data.
Avatar of: J. Harnad

J. Harnad

Posts: 3

June 18, 2009

The term "tendency" is perfectly clear and to the point. But its meaning is not confined just to statistics, which are certainly not as yet unavailable regarding this sort of shoddiness. (And I agree that trying to skewer OA generally, merely on the grounds that one such shoddy journal has been exposed would be unfair and unreasonable. It is only to be expected that more instances of such negligence occur in subscription based journals, since, to date, these dominate the field, statistically.)\n In the case of "authors pay" journals, however, the "tendency" is built into the logic of the business model, and the prediction is not that there will be a plethora of fake papers published, but that the general tendency will be towards lowering the quality level and standard, at least in those areas where very good alternatives, completely compatible with OA, but not based on page charges to authors as the main source of revenue, already exist. I have explained this in greater detail in the references listed in the original posting.\n That this is, or will be the effect cannot be verified merely by collecting statistics on how many fake papers are accepted; the effects of such a tendency can only be established in practice over a period of time, and the conclusion must be confirmed by the judgement of the user community - as in all judgments of relative value and prestige. But the logic of the "tendency" built into accepting papers, for a fee paid by their authors, is clear, even if countervailing factors, such as prestige and reputation are also present. And this mechanism is a preponderant factor in survival of journals that rely entirely on charging authors fees as their main source of revenue. \n There are excellent mechanisms available, however, for countering any such tendency, and some of these have been implemented by OA publishers who really do want to maintain high refereeing standards. An example is provided by the "Community based" journals of Hindawi, in which every published paper appears with the further information "communicated by ..." with the editorial board member responsible for its refereeing and acceptance named. In fact, these journals go further, and actually list (collectively) all referees who have contributed to the process, in order to thank them. There may be other shortcomings present in their approach, such as the lack of an editor-in-chief, who is expert in the area, and takes overall responsibility. But in this regard, the listing of responsible editorial board member, and referees, is exemplary, and should be emulated by all journals that seek to guarantee proper refereeing processes, and function transparently (whether OA or not.)
Avatar of: Jack White

Jack White

Posts: 2

June 22, 2009

I just came across an interesting database that lists traceable comments on published material that could be of scientific value in the future:\nwww.sciencecomment.com\nhttp://www.sciencecomment.com\n\nThe problem i see, that we all comment on different pages on published material and no one in the future can find or look that up. Seems that the people of science comment understood that.\n\ncheers\nj.w.

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