Tuesday 23 October 2018

Publish rubbish

Got another unsolicited, unintentionally funny, e-mail asking me to send my next manuscript to an Invention publisher:
Dear Sir/Madam,
Sub: Publish paper in Best Impact Factor Journal
Invention Journals have following different open access Journals: 
1. International Journal of Engineering and Science Invention (IJESI) 
     ISSN (Online) : 2319-6734 ISSN (Print) : 2319-6727 
2. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Science Invention (IJPSI) 
     ISSN (Online) :2319-6718 ISSN (Print) :2319-670X 
3. International Journal of Business and Management Invention (IJBMI) 
     ISSN (Online) : 2319-8028 ISSN (Print) : 2319-801X 
4. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science Invention (IJHSSI) 
    ISSN (Online) : 2319-7722 ISSN (Print) : 2319-7714 
5. International Journal of Knitting and Batik Invention (IJKBI) 
    ISSN (Online) : 2319-7724 ISSN (Print) : 2319-7717 
6. International Journal of Mathematics and Statistics Invention (IJMSI) 
     ISSN (Online) : 2321-4767 ISSN (Print) :2321-4759 
This is unfortunate on so many levels. Comic sans is a laughably inappropriate font for scholarly discourse - unless you're the Irish Department of Agriculture, which used to require its 6 monthly reports on Comic sans forms. IJKBI have taken the positive meaning of Invention = Necessity is its mother etc., blissfully unaware [because English their first language not is?] of the meaning of untruth or fib; which is a strict No No in scholarly discourse: worse than Comic sans even.

Couple of real, not invented, stories about scientific publishing in the air last week. The First

1) An editorial in Nature Show Your Working about how the Chinese, and others, are trying to avoid predatory publishers, which are a waste of PRC money and of the reputation of their scientists. It's all very well to have China outstrip USA in the number of scientific papers [true dat] but it's a hollow ideological victory if most of those papers are low quality dross. The PRC government is punishing their workers if they publish in the official list of predatory journals. It might be a better, and easier to implement, idea to flip this and build a list of approved journals. Whichever, it is important to have the criteria for inclusion or exclusion evidence-based, clear and transparent and not subject to arbitrary whim. Cabells of Texas flags suspicious signs which mark a suspect publication to blacklist, such as the inclusion of fictional or dead editors, and pore spelinge. The positive-vetting side will approve journals if they: "list their profit or non-profit status clearly, list editors who are aware they are editors, use basic technology to detect plagiarism, and ensure that, if reviewers suggested by the author are used, they exist, and are competent in the field".

That final throw-away part about reviewers suggested by the author WTF?! is a wide-spread practice and seems to undermine the whole point of peer review. Inevitably authors will suggest reviewers who are friendly, or at least not arch-rivals. And if you-the-editor need help finding reviewers for the copy which gets submitted to your journal then maybe being an editor isn't within your competence. One of the games which authors play is 'guess the anonymous referee' which is not so hard in the narrow over-specialised fields in which most scientists work. A dead give-away is that reviewers find it hard not to mention their own timeless-classic papers as helpful comments to improve the paper under evaluation.

The 2) story is about the Profits in Publishing vimeo which I cited on Sunday. I'll post about that later when I've sorted my notes and have a clearer idea of my position. Probably: Down with this sort of thing!

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