Monday, October 4, 2010

M.S. El Naschie and Ji-Huan He catch more flak

Nefarious Numbers, by Douglas N. Arnold and Kristine K. Fowler is an excellent new article on impact factor manipulation. Chaos, Solitons and Fractals (CSF), International Journal of Nonlinear Sciences and Numerical Simulation (IJNSNS), Ji-Huan He and Mohamed El Naschie all figure prominently. The paper can be thought of as a sequel to Integrity Under Attack: The State of Scholarly Publishing.


Nefarious Numbers

See also:


Thanks to the anonymous reader who pointed this paper out in the arXiv.


Posts about Douglas N. Arnold:


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14 comments:

  1. "there are too many others to list here, since He serves
    in an editorial capacity on more than 20 journals (and has just been named Editor-in-Chief of four more journals
    from the newly-formed Asian Academic Publishers)"

    Q1: Where did Arnold find the first number?

    A1: Master list of Ji-Huan He's editorial positions

    Q2: How recent is "just"?

    A2: My email to Asian Academic Publisher

    :D

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  2. Arnold reads us. He admits it. Same with Drösser. In fact, everyone with an interest in El Naschie and He reads us, friendly or unfriendly.

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  3. Yes, Arnold knows about this blog. What he probably does not know is how widespread this nonsensical HAM,HPM,ADM etc. business among journals. It's not only He, there are others like Liao and dozens of other smaller dogs.

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  4. I forget what ADM is. (Something something method.) Readers can read about Liao, HAM and HPM here. Note that there are three separate issues. One is whether the acronymious methods are good enough to have been published at all. Two is the dispute between Liao and He over who was first. And three is impact factor manipulation.

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  5. I think you are missing the point of Arnold's piece. He may or may not know of "HAM,HPM,ADM" tempest in a teapot, but his goals are much more global than flagging a nonsensical method or even a network of frauds on editorial boards of minor journals. What he really wants is to stop the tenure/promotion committees and funding agencies from relying on citation counts, journal impact factors and suchlike. This is likely a loosing battle though: without such automatic/quantifiable data, the only way to judge somebody's work would be to actually read the papers & judge for oneself. And that is next to impossible because (a) the current science policy results in an impossible number of papers; (b) modern math is too fractured & most people lack background to have a sound/independent opinion about the work of anyone working outside of their immediate area; (c) everyone is too busy writing those papers & nobody wants to invest time to read unless they know in advance that the paper is useful or interesting or at least amusing. (The papers of He & El Naschie fall into the latter category, of course.)

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  6. I agree about Arnold's piece and his purpose. I explained the acronyms only because the previous commenter brought them up and this blog does actually get new or casual readers from time to time, who could be mystified. Kind of like an interviewer who interrupts the interviewee with clarifications that seem idiotically obvious to better-informed members of the television audience. "...Mr. Cameron...." "Excuse me. You're talking about David Cameron, the British Prime Minister."

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  7. This is a very nice article by Arnold and Fowler. Question: is it actually going to be published? This is the type of thing that should be making the letters & discussion pages of Nature or Science. I have a feeling, however, that this may never happen as the editors of those journals are just as interested in the games of impact factor and citations as He or El Naschie. Only difference is that the editors of respectable journals like Nature or Science don't overtly cheat at the game, they just play it. In my opinion, however, that is just as bad given that the impact factor game makes a mockery of science.

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  8. I don't know. It is unusual for giving no indication of submission anywhere, and no list of references. Not even a date. It's clearly a very informal document.

    There are two schools of thought. One school advocates replacing the impact factor with a less-easily-gamed metric. The other advocates shaming the violators. I think you should do both. Unfortunately there are many, many wusses who have no stomach for the shaming part.

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  9. I believe the system could benefit much from excluding self citation. This could be easily done and will make the gaming issue much harder. Another strategy, though not as easy as the former, is to exclude citation from former co-authors, former Ph.D students, and perhaps even university colleagues. If that seems very radical, then at least you can introduce some weighting factor and make these "questioned" citation weigh less than the others.

    Just my 2 cents.

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  10. Hossam, I think that would help in the short term, but only until the scammers take aim at the new statistic. People like He will figure out which potential citers will raise the statistic, and work cooperatively with them. You know he'll do it. At the bottom of page three of Nefarious Numbers you can see that He did something to force citations into the two-year window that counts toward impact factor. He's a crook, and will cheat at any game you make him play.

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  11. You are right Jason. Scammers will always find a way to manipulate the system but that doesn't mean we should make it easier for them. Also the "shaming the violators strategy" could play the lead role in this case. If not as a pressure on the individual scammer then as a pressure on the publisher itself. After all that is how Elsevier fired El Naschie.

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  12. Interesting observation by Christina Pikas:

    "This is a brief piece that walks through some manipulations of JIF in applied math – note the famous El Naschie makes a return (and you thought he was done when he left his Elsevier journal)"

    More Journal Impact Factor Manipulations

    :D

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  13. Good find, Shrink. It is worth monitoring the comments on those. If they talk more about El Naschie, He, Alexandria etc., I will do a post.

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