Editors quit after fake paper flap

The editor-in-chief of an open access journal has stepped down from his post after learning that the journal accepted a fake, computer-generated article for publication. So has an editorial advisory board member of a second journal published by the same company, linkurl:Bentham Science Publishers.;http://www.bentham.org/ Image: Jupiter Imageslinkurl:Bambang Parmanto,;http://www.shrs.pitt.

By | June 11, 2009

The editor-in-chief of an open access journal has stepped down from his post after learning that the journal accepted a fake, computer-generated article for publication. So has an editorial advisory board member of a second journal published by the same company, linkurl:Bentham Science Publishers.;http://www.bentham.org/

Image: Jupiter Images
linkurl:Bambang Parmanto,;http://www.shrs.pitt.edu/parmanto/ a University of Pittsburgh information scientist, resigned from his editorship at linkurl:__The Open Information Science Journal__;http://www.bentham.org/open/toiscij/openaccess2.htm (__TOISCIJ__) after reading a linkurl:story;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55756/ on __The Scientist__'s website yesterday (June 10) that described a hoax paper submission to the journal. Editors at journal claimed to have peer reviewed the article and slated it for publication pending the submission of $800 in "open access fees." "I didn't like what happened," Parmanto told __The Scientist__. "If this is true, I don't have full control of the content that is accepted to this journal." Parmanto said that he had never seen the phony manuscript that was accepted by __TOISCIJ__. "I want to lessen my exposure to the risk of being taken advantage of." Parmanto, who became editor-in-chief of __TOISCIJ__ when Bentham launched the journal last year, said that he had reviewed manuscripts for inclusion in the journal previously, but that he made up his mind to resign from his volunteer position "because of the potential for abuse," of the kind uncovered by the hoax. Parmanto did add, however, that the perpetrators of the hoax -- Cornell grad student Philip Davis and Kent Anderson, executive director of international business and product development at the __New England Journal of Medicine__ -- were also guilty of some degree of unethical behavior. "This is a process based on trust," he said. "An author should submit something legitimate, and the process on the review side should decide if a paper is worth publishing or not. In this case, the process was broken on both sides." Parmanto isn't the only one to react to the news of Bentham's ignominy by terminating his association with the publisher. linkurl:Marc Williams,;http://www2.envmed.rochester.edu/envmed/TOX/faculty/williams.html an immunologist and stem cell researcher at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry who served on the editorial advisory board of linkurl:__The Open Stem Cell Journal__;http://www.bentham.org/open/toscj/openaccess2.htm (__OSCJ__), another Bentham publication, resigned as well. After reading the story of Davis and Kent's "little experiment" yesterday, Williams "immediately requested my name to be removed from the journal's editorial board." "What upset me was the fact that this happened at all, in any of [Bentham's] journals," Williams told __The Scientist__. "It really informs us that it may be a company policy that this is permitted in general." Williams, who had served on the __OSCJ__ editorial advisory board since the journal's inception last year, said that in his 15 or 16 months on the job he has not reviewed a single manuscript submitted for publication, though the journal has only linkurl:published;http://www.bentham.org/open/toscj/openaccess2.htm one volume containing five articles since its inception. Both Parmanto and Williams said that they support the idea of open access journals. "The open access system is definitely the way forward," said Williams. "At face value, it is an extremely valuable way of making scientific data widely available." But Parmanto, though he said that he "believes in the open access system," noted that the business model of charging authors fees to publish in OA journals might become problematic. "I see that [Bentham would] have the incentive to maintain the credibility of the journal, but I also see the potential for abuse." Parmanto said that upon reading the story about Davis and Andrew's hoax on our website yesterday, he contacted the publisher of __TOISCIJ__ to ask what was going on. Parmanto said that he was told that "someone on the editorial board reviewed" the fake paper. I contacted Parmanto yesterday in reporting the original story, but the researcher told me today that he wanted to hear from __TOISCIJ__'s publisher before getting back to me.
**__Related stories:__***linkurl:OA publisher accepts fake paper;http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55756/
[10th June 2009]*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]


Avatar of: Stevan Harnad

Stevan Harnad

Posts: 1

June 11, 2009

These spam/scam OA journals are pretty revolting. (And bravo to Phil Davis for his hoax! Nothing unethical whatsoever about it. He should keep on doing it!)\n\nBut it also has to be frankly admitted that there is no monopoly on low-grade or no-grade refereeing based on cost-recovery model:\n\nLet's not forget the Sokal hoax http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sokal_affair \n\nNot to mention bogus subscription journals, like the latest half dozen from Elsevier http://www.the-scientist.com/blog/display/55679/. \n\nA highly respected journalist, Richard Poynder http://www.richardpoynder.co.uk/, is on the case (but keeps getting threatened with litigation by the spamster journals for his pains)...
Avatar of: Mandy Chen

Mandy Chen

Posts: 4

June 12, 2009

Apparently, these people find it rather amusing to generate fake papers as pranks. Although it is quite funny that something like this happens, the consequences are terrible for whoever falls for the trick. Here's a generator made my MIT students: http://pdos.csail.mit.edu/scigen/
Avatar of: Mandy Chen

Mandy Chen

Posts: 4

June 12, 2009

*by \nnot "my", sorry.
Avatar of: Jeremy Wickins

Jeremy Wickins

Posts: 9

June 12, 2009

Someone tests the security of a system, and it is called unethical. Sorry, that is rubbish - security needs testing regularly, and the results first of all fed back to the owner of the system, and if they do not respond and modify the security, it should be posted publically.
Avatar of: Blake Stacey

Blake Stacey

Posts: 1

June 12, 2009

I feel like I've read that complaint about the perpetration of a hoax being an unethical act somewhere before. Oh, yes:\n\n"This means that it is Alan Sokal, not his targets, who threatens to undermine the intellectual standards he vows to protect. [...] In a 1989 report published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, fraud is said to go 'beyond error to erode the foundation of trust on which science is built.' That is Professor Sokal's legacy, one likely to be longer lasting than the brief fame he now enjoys for having successfully pretended to be himself."\n\n? Stanley Fish, asking for cheese with his whine about l'affaire Sokal, in 1996\n\nSuch complaints miss the mark because, among other reasons, they confuse fraud with the intent to aggrandize oneself with tests designed to probe the integrity of the publication system. Yes, trust is part of the social structure of science, but trust is earned. If we regarded all publications which called themselves "scientific journals" as equally worth our time, we'd be almost as bad off as if we had no journals at all. When publications have the appearance of scientific rigour but not rigour itself, the signal of legitimate science starts to slip beneath the noise, and wholly inane claims — that bacterial flagella were Intelligently Designed, or that Space Jews are causing autism by fluoridating the water supply, take your pick — get a spurious boost of credibility. Why, of course that evil, materialistic, Darwinist paradigm is doomed: it says so right here in this magazine which has "journal" in the name!\n\nHow do we justify the claim that a particular journal is worth our attention? Why, we gather evidence. In quotidian matters, this could boil down to comparing impact factors, tabulating where the interesting papers in our field have typically been published, and other humdrum techniques. Colourful stunts like blatantly satirical papers only work when the review process is severely broken indeed. Sokal was not trying to win himself a second doctorate, but to test the extent to which slipshod thinking predominated in one sector of academia; likewise, Davis and Anderson were not trying to inflate their CVs, but to investigate what was going on at Bentham.\n\nMaintaining the trust network can at times be a dramatic process, and finding out that our confidence was misplaced can be a bitter potion. However, contra Fish, it is a medicine whose ingestion does the scientific body good.
Avatar of: anonymous poster

anonymous poster

Posts: 2

June 13, 2009

I think I was the first publicly warning about lack of ethics and professionalism at Bentham (http://gunther-eysenbach.blogspot.com/2008/03/black-sheep-among-open-access-journals.html). As I also said in this blog article, "I pity the scientists lending their name to Bentham". So there were warning signals long before this incident. The editors and editorial board members lending their name to Bentham have to take full responsibility for not acting earlier. \n\nGunther Eysenbach
Avatar of: Arnold FeldmaN

Arnold FeldmaN

Posts: 1

June 19, 2009

The $800.00 "open access" fee is what got my attention. As I discuss on my blog \n\nhttp://www.arnoldfeldman.com/menublogs/menuimmblog/89-artbenthamscandal\n\nOpen access journals -- a great concept, but it needs to be funded by the government or a non-profit. A for profit businesses will never run a clean operation.\n\nIs it fair for a provocateur, regardless of intentions, to submit a fake article. So long as they are not tricking the publisher into doing something the publisher would not otherwise do, then it is fair.
Avatar of: Bret Driver

Bret Driver

Posts: 3

August 20, 2009

"The editor-in-chief of an open access journal has stepped down from his post after learning that the journal accepted a fake, computer-generated article for publication. So has an editorial advisory board member of a second journal published by the same company, Bentham Science Publishers."\n\nWow! I can't believe they didn't pick that one up.\n\nportland window cleaning
Avatar of: Robert Riley

Robert Riley

Posts: 2

October 2, 2009

Reviewing a paper is a serious matter! I didn't review that many papers to make me an "expert" on reviews a thorough review takes time, lots of it--at least for me. Occasionally, if I'm lucky, it's all too easy. You paste a sentence from the manuscript in Google's search window, and voila, there it is. Entire paragraphs in the manuscript appear right in your browser: Reject! Other times I go through the calculations that the authors must have done, and again if I am lucky, catch an error sooner or later.\n\nRobert from chemotherapy facts

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