Re: Scandalous!

1

I love the name "Journal of Vibration and Control."

For a while I wanted to stock my office with academic journals that have ominous names. A complete set of Headache would sit next to a long run of Torture.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 7:34 AM
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2

Figures it'd be National Pingtung University of Education, right!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 7:36 AM
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3

That shoulda been a "?" oh well.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 7:36 AM
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4

1, Don't forget Blood, Pain, Gut, and Thorax.


Posted by: cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 7:51 AM
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5

4: Named after Churchill's less-successful initial draft of his first speech as Prime Minister.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 7:56 AM
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6

Heart stickies to 1 and 4.

Add the journals "Pain" and also "Chaos."

rings like this are a problem, but non-journal journals pushed by legitimate publishers are IMO a more serious problem.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 7:59 AM
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7

Can anyone concoct a plausible story for how this happened? I don't understand how fabricated email addresses would ever end up on the editor's list of reviewers.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:00 AM
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8

Commenters at Retraction Watch suggest the editor was just going with the "suggested referees" named by the author, in which case: holy shit.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:02 AM
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9

The editor is so desperate for reviewers that he will take any recommendation which points to a plausible web page. Unless recommendations are tracked somehow by the editor, there's no way to detect it.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:08 AM
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10

Technically, you are a peer of yourself. I don't see the problem.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:26 AM
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11

The guy had 60 articles in the same journal in a three or four year period. That out to be a red flag right there. They were just short of reviewers. They didn't have anybody else submitting.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:28 AM
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12

out s/b ought. I blame lack of independent reviewers.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:30 AM
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13

Editor has been replaced since.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:53 AM
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14

This journal arrives in plain brown paper wrappers, one assumes.

</recycled joke>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:56 AM
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I just can't imagine an editor sending a paper to be refereed by a name they've never heard of. At minimum I would think they'd look up that person's publication record to see if they had done related work.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:04 AM
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16

How legit is this journal? Doesn't Sage have the same problem as IEEE and Springer that it has way to many journals to exercise meaningful care with them? This isn't (quite) as bad as the IEEE and Springer journals that between them published 120 algorithmically-generated nonsense papers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:08 AM
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17

And it's not even an Elsevier journal. I remember a few years ago when it turned out that the editor of Chaos, Solitons and Fractals (Elsevier) was publishing hundreds of his own papers there essentially without peer review.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:10 AM
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17: It was even weirder than that! He had legions of followers at subpar universities around the world publishing papers on his crackpot theory in his crackpot journal.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:13 AM
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19

Let's not get all snobby about working at the university just outside of Boston.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:19 AM
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20

I had always thought of Elsevier has being more evil than Sage but as having, in general, the more prestigious journals.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:30 AM
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21

What I meant is that there are certain places where hiring and promotion seem to depend more on "objective numbers" like publications and impact factors than on actual quality of research, and somehow he generated a bandwagon of people from those places who seized the opportunity to write papers following up on his work and citing each other despite the fact that the papers were all incomprehensible and meaningless. I'm not sure what the opposite of a cargo cult is, where you know that what you're doing is a meaningless ritual but you do it anyway because it brings you rewards.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:33 AM
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22

I don't actually disagree with you. 15 pretty much covers my view.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:35 AM
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23

I'm not sure what the opposite of a cargo cult is, where you know that what you're doing is a meaningless ritual but you do it anyway because it brings you rewards.
A job.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:39 AM
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24

21. But if it brings you rewards, it's a very meaningful ritual. Isn't that the problem?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 9:40 AM
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23: Eggplant speaks Truth!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 12:34 PM
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We just got an R & R from an Elsevier journal. My co-authors aren't exactly worried about open access, possibly because it will have to go to PubMed Central regardless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 1:56 PM
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27

I looked up the editor to be sure he was a real person, just in case.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 1:57 PM
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28

23, 24: Job, feh. Two goddam years ago, I got a promotion with more (and more irritating) work but no more pay, because there was no space in the budget, but I would be on the list of people who were due raises when things cleared up. I have mentioned this occasionally over the intervening years, and been warmly and affirmingly not given any more money.

Just recently, we got told that there were raises coming -- a small COLA for everyone, and people who were performing adequately would move up to the next box on the salary chart, and skipping a box was possible in special circumstances. When the actual numbers came out, it developed that two years of doing this stupid additional job counts as adequate, rather than as special circumstances.

I have politely indicated my unhappiness to the department chief, and been told apologetically that she will do what she can to make a case to the people upstairs who make the decisions that I'm due more money, but not in a way that inspires any confidence. Looks like I need to dust off the old resume and start actually looking for work again.


Posted by: Gloriana, Duchess of Grand Fenwick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 2:06 PM
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29

a small COLA for everyone

Even pregnant women and nursing mothers? Those monsters.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 2:18 PM
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30

21.last: Careerism?


Posted by: Cosma Shalizi | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 3:30 PM
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I'm not sure what the opposite of a cargo cult is, where you know that what you're doing is a meaningless ritual but you do it anyway because it brings you rewards.

I looked at the sentence for a while and thought "nah, 23 is too cruel."

Then I went to work.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 3:45 PM
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21: I thought nonsense only got published in the fashionable humanities.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 3:55 PM
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33

It's fascinating how all these scandals are revealing that there's a whole Fake Academia, operating in the shadows of Real Academia. Fake journals, fake papers, fake peer review. All driven by the perverse incentives created by the institutional structure of Real Academia and enabled by the level of trust and assumption of good faith that it relies on to operate.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-11-14 8:20 PM
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34

1,4,6: Don't forget to include Survival and Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report!


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 9:41 AM
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35

33: I think there's a big gray area between Fake and Real Academia. Most people do some mixture of the two, with varying proportions of real research and bs, and the fake journals and conferences are just the most extreme examples.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 9:50 AM
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36

What's the gray area in between fake journals and real journals?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 10:19 AM
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37

36: I was thinking of journals that publish research that is technically correct, but have very low standards for originality and interestingness. Nature Scientific Reports is one example.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 10:45 AM
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38

In one of our hardest-to-hire departments, I have a tenured colleague with a PhD from a for-profit institution. He is incredibly sweet and nurturing, and constantly skirting the line of fakism by being very active in the BS conference and journal circuit. Everyone basically wants him to succeed at Heebie U because he's a good teacher and so we all sort of look the other way on the research. There aren't really firm research requirements, but this makes us look bad, IME.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 10:48 AM
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39

37: I think that's a reasonably clear line. Obviously, fraud gets easier when you have journals that are disparate for content, but shitty research honestly described is different from fakery.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 10:50 AM
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40

Who pays for his trips to the BS conference circuit?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 10:54 AM
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39: Ok, I guess I was thinking more of the gray area between good and bad journals. But looking at the difference between truthful and fraudulent journals, there's a gray area there too: lots of papers in Nature* have pretty good underlying science, but the style of presentation is way over-optimistic and over-confident.

*and other high-visibility journals intended for broad audiences.


Posted by: torrey pine | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 11:02 AM
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Most people do some mixture of the two

I, for one, am fond of Piketty's learned footnotes like "Fortunately, Duchesse and her kittens ultimately meet Thomas O'Malley, an alley cat whose earthy ways they find more amusing than art classes."


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 11:10 AM
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43

When I think of fraudulent journals, I also think of defrauding the authors. If you aren't working with experienced people and you write a paper that gets accepted, how do you know if paying page fees is a fraud for that journal?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 11:14 AM
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40: Everyone gets a travel stipend, so it comes out of that with no questions asked. After that, you can apply for more travel money, and his field is technical enough that the university-wide committee wouldn't necessarily have the chops+desire to question his application too much. Especially if he were presenting, which he likely would be.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 11:16 AM
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45

Yeah, someone needs to draw the line that no research is better than BS research.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 3:37 PM
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46

What's the gray area in between fake journals and real journals?

*Cough, cough*.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 8:16 PM
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47
Our flagship business publication, McKinsey Quarterly has been defining and informing the senior-management agenda since 1964.

So that's who to blame!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 07-12-14 9:19 PM
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48

This thread got me to reading my spam this morning. I just noticed the fake journals have fake impact factors from fake impact factor companies. Wheels within wheels.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 07-14-14 6:30 AM
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