Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Doug Arnold on the Elsevier boycott

Douglas N. Arnold, the former SIAM president who wrote about Mohamed El Naschie and Ji-Huan He's citation scam in Integrity Under Attack:
The State of Scholarly Publishing
and later in Nefarious Numbers with Kristine K. Fowler, now has written a blog post called More reasons to support the Elsevier boycott. The boycott was mentioned in passing on El Naschie Watch here and here. In Arnold's latest, the paragraph that concerns us is this:

The Elsevier journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals published more than 300 papers by the journal's Editor-In-Chief (58 in a single year). That these papers were not subject to peer review was later confirmed by the EIC's declaration that "senior people are above this childish, vain practice of peer review." Although the copious self-publication had begun nearly 20 years earlier, the EIC's retirement from the journal occurred only in 2009.

Thanks to the anonymous reader who pointed this out, writing

I suppose it was too much to expect a link to El Naschie Watch?

Not being cited when I should be bugs me, but I'm OK with this. Arnold's focus is Elsevier, not El Naschie. He didn't mention the great man by name, nor even link to his own aforementioned papers, so this doesn't seem to be a slight.

Translate English to Arabic
محمد النشائى El Naschie Watch محمد النشائي El Naschie News محمد النشائى محمد النشائي All El Naschie All The Time محمد النشائى


  1. Arnold writes about a paper published under the enlightened editorship of J.-H. He:

    "An egregious example is the 2-page paper "A computer application in mathematics" in Computers and Mathematics with Applications, vol. 59 (2010) pp. 296-297, which purports to prove the parallel postulate (!) with no formulas, no references to other published works except for two papers by the same authors, and, as best as I can tell, no meaningful content whatever."

  2. Haha. Thanks, Kaan. Computers and Mathematics with Applications (CMA) by the way is number 23 on our Master List.

  3. A yes, one of the illustrious journals of Rodin...there's a treasure trove of material about that on here, if the people who need more reasons to boycott Elsevier dig in.

  4. Why kick Elsevier?

    The Great Man is given as an example of unethical publishing pratice.

  5. The academic publishing model is broken

    The CSF practice is characterized as "purely self-promoting".

  6. Arnold wrote about Elsevier boycott in the Notices of the AMS: http://www.ams.org/notices/201206/rtx120600828p.pdf

    Funny, in the "reply" (more like flustered bumbling) from Elsevier they say they're sorry for Chaos, Solitons & Fractals but fail to mention The Great Man (TM) by name (wonder why?): http://www.ams.org/notices/201206/rtx120600833p.pdf

    Also they fail to mention they fired Rodin and his editorial boards from 3 (!) journals...nothing to see here, move along. Not that the firing of the boards stopped JHH from publishing in Comput Math Appl, as I was posted somewhere here recently in the comments.

  7. Here are those links enabled:

    Mathematicians Take a Stand (pdf)

    Elsevier’s Response to the Mathematics Community (pdf)

    and from the latter, the veiled acknowledgement that El Naschie's CSF was worthless:

    Quality of Journals

    The discussion about publishing and large subscription agreements has also highlighted concerns about the quality of particular journals. In the specific case of Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, this is a journal which has been rebuilt, with a new set of editors—whose work and commitment we would like to acknowledge—and much involvement from in-house Elsevier staff. We think that we did the right thing to seek to rebuild this journal. This journal has changed and informed the way in which we work on many journals, from our basic editorial contracts with editors to the use of much more formal editorial processes, electronic peer review, clearer statements on ethical issues, and the introduction of additional staff in support of journals.

    We have put a great deal of effort in recent years into developing our support for journals, including significant editorial changes. Publishing judgment can go wrong and that will happen in any organization. But we learn from our mistakes and make considerable efforts to address and resolve them.

  8. But in the first link, Arnold calls out El Naschie:

    "Ethics and Peer Review

    Another source of frustration with Elsevier is their history of lapses in peer review and ethics. The case of the journal Chaos, Solitons & Fractals (CS&F) has become widely known. This journal published 273 papers by its own editor in chief over eighteen years, 57 of them in a single year. Suspicions that these papers were not subject to peer review are cor- roborated by the editor’s declaration that “senior people are above this childish, vain practice of peer review.”16 Elsevier owes the community an explanation for this and other fiascos. Was there no oversight in place? Have changes been made so this will not happen again? What about the other papers in CS&F? Are there records of peer review? Will any papers that were not peer reviewed be retracted or otherwise flagged? The current situation leaves the literature in a bad state and compromises the position of authors who submitted manuscripts for peer review in good faith. If Elsevier wants to place this issue behind them, they need to deal with it thoroughly, forthrightly, and transparently."

  9. Thank you. By the way the first of those articles was embedded in Arnold and Cohn on boycotting Elsevier.