Publishing Pseudo-Science

International Journal of Science and Technology

A threat to honest science.

When I write about predatory publishers, I often mention that their lax or non-existent peer review allows pseudo-science to be published as if it were authentic science. Here, I’d like to give an example of pseudo-science being published as true science.

Alim, Md. Abdul. (2012). “New Theories, Models, and Explanations of Science.” International Journal of Science and Technology 1.11:638-643.

This article is pure bunk*. It is a simplistic and perhaps deranged attempt to explain quantum mechanics and cosmology. The article does not cite any other works, nor does it have a bibliography. I am not a cosmologist, but I do read books and magazines about cosmology and astronomy, yet even my limited knowledge of the subjects confirms to me that this piece is an example of amphigory.* Here are some examples: First, in the section called, “New explanation about 23.50 inclination of earth’s orbit,” the author states,

And again, to compensate the properties of rigidity in space, the earth moves towards south till 22nd Dec. On that day the earth is at furthest point from the sun and the sun is sighted towards maximum north (23.50 N).

It appears he is just making stuff up here. Second, the last paragraph of the article is called “Theory of everything.” Here is the paragraph:

The electromagnetic wave loops or light is the basic of all forces. The electromagnetic wave loops make bond among the quarks of an atom as strong force. They make bond among the atoms of an object as weak force. They also make bond among the objects of the universe as gravitational force. The electromagnetic force or energy is transmitted through medium with the help of electromagnetic wave loops. This is the long awaited and expected theory of everything, because it can explain everything from atom to universe.

This is pure hogwash!* A theory of everything in six sentences! Nonsense! According to the publisher, the author fee for this article was $64.99. For that amount, one can publish nonsense as science, at least in this corrupt journal. The journal’s publisher is the Centre of Professional Research Publications, a bogus organization contrived just to publish this bogus journal and to get the author fees. It purports to be based in the U.K. but is probably based somewhere in South Asia. This bogus cosmology article brings into question the quality of all the other articles in this journal. The journal has a page that describes its peer review process, but it’s clear that no peer review really occurs here. It’s a vanity press, and it’s a threat to science.

*Definitions [all copied from Wictionary]

  • Bunk = Bunkum; senseless talk, nonsense.
  • Hogwash = Foolish talk or writing; nonsense.
  • Amphigory = A … rigmarole, with apparent meaning, which on further attention proves to be meaningless.

15 Responses to Publishing Pseudo-Science

  1. R V Krishnakumar says:

    Dr.Beall, Let me thank you first for moderating comments here. By this you have ensured decent talk. The article above is a perfect example of ‘exploitation’ of the concept of OA by an author and I am sure it is going to serve some ‘purpose’ only for the author himself. This author would show this article to some and even become the Minister for Higher Education. This is certainly not the concern of Physicists. I believe most OA authors belong to this category. They know they bunk and need a junk to accommodate them. For now, I think creating an awareness among scholars is the best bet rather than expecting these publishers vanish in the near future. What do you think is the ‘impact factor’ of your blogs? I mean how far does it reach? It needs to be certainly very high. Even if I were not aware of this wonderful page of yours, I dont think I would have fallen prey. There are millions of scholars who are smarter than me. So, there is no real danger.

    • Colin Barron says:

      In reply to Dr Krishnakumar, there is a big danger. A number of lecturers at my University have published in journals listed on Jeffrey Beall’s list. When it is pointed out to them that publishing articles in these journals may harm their careers, their responses are usually one of 3:
      1 they are under great pressure to publish, especially if they are seeking promotion
      2 lists like Jeffrey Beall’s are merely “Western plots” to undermine the research of lecturers in developing countries
      3 even if an article has little or no academic merit, young researchers need to be encouraged

      Colin Barron

    • Atanu Chatterjee says:

      Krishnakumar , how can be you so prejudiced?

      Please clarify what you meant, “I believe most OA authors belong to this category”???

      • R V Krishnakumar says:

        I should have been more clear by saying, “most OA authors who publish in Beall’s predators”. Is it OK, Atanu.

  2. R V Krishnakumar says:

    I agree Colin. But I dont think we can buy these ‘reasons’. Any reason other than “I got tricked” may not be a honest one. Thats the reason I think ‘Pevention is better than Regret’ as far as OA publications are concerned. Also, I consider those who come out with the above reasons are ‘weaklings’ and Science would certainly not given in to them.

    • Colin Barron says:

      I am not suggesting, Dr Krishnakumar, that these responses should be accepted. What they indicate is that the people who make such comments, may be smart, but they lack academic integrity and academic rigour. This is alarming and dangerous because these qualities are required to maintain academic research standards and to drive knowledge forward. Some of the people who have made comments like those in my first post are professors or aspire to be professors in the near future. They will be sitting on promotion boards. If they are prepared to accept low quality journals and low quality articles, they are not going to challenge them on the boards. The reputation of the authors and the university will suffer in the long run.

      • R.V. Krishnakumar says:

        I understand, Colin. Still, there is no big danger for Science, but to the reputation of Institutions. Journals, when accepting papers do not go into the reputation of institutions but quality of content. I do not mean to disagree with your points. When I commented, “there is no real danger”, I meant Science. None of my teachers were Ph.D.s when I was in college. Yet, they took care of every laboratory session as if it were a space mission and taught us as if the world would end the next hour. The students benefited and thus the Institution which then had a very high ranking in the State. There may be some who can do good teaching and there may be some who can do good research and some both. What if I am not among the top 100 researchers, I still have an option to be in top 100 teachers. My message is simple : “Try best to teach good and burn the brain a little for research. Teach well and walk with pride. If you have made out a small publication out of the little (or no!) infrastructure that is accessible, remember Archimedes”.

      • Wayne Dawson says:

        You have a point. This is one of the directions that this can go. However, I think “academic integrity and academic rigour” can be judged by content. One can find twaddle in every journal under the sun. Some even believe it for a long time. Then there are Nobel-prize winning works in obscure journals (though none of them, at least so far, in predatory ones). It is, of course, reasonable to anticipate that questionable work will have a better chance of being published in a “lesser journal” (predatory or not), and maybe the pay-to-dump predatory journals makes it easier for these kinds of people to get away with it.

        Benjamin Franklin wrote to an editor on one of his papers: “If my hypothesis is not the truth, it is at least naked; for I have not with some of our learned moderns disguis’d my nonsense in Greek, cloth’d it in algebra or adorned it with fluxions.”

        What we see now has happened many times before in the past. There is nothing new under the sun. At the end of the day, it is important to judge a work by what it is, not by the journal it appears in or the institution or country it comes from or whatever other trivializing criteria we prefer.

  3. [...] la concorrenza, il prezzo cala insieme alla qualità. Esempio 64,99 dollari soltanto per far uscire sull’International Journal of Science and Technology questa [...]

  4. Is it mostly universities in developing countries that consider publication in one of these pay-to-publish journals as legitimate? Please tell me that no U.S. university would award tenure based on articles published in one of these so-called journals!

  5. Science and technology? Mixing science and theology is the best recipe for pseudoscience. Check this one! European Journal of Science and Theology (Impact factor = 0.389). :))

    Matter matters: the eschatology of matter.

    http://www.ejst.tuiasi.ro/Files/38/3_Pichalakkatt.pdf

    in the same issue:
    The dentist’s role in preserving the elderly patients’ dignity

    http://www.ejst.tuiasi.ro/Files/38/10_Bodnaretal.pdf

    • I strongly recommend that researchers NOT submit papers to this silly journal.

    • Dr Zientehasta says:

      Religion was the birth of science, the birth of philosophy and the birth of many things. clearly you don’t understand that so you are not well placed to comment. all science study began with the question of the heavens and our origins and purpose, to not credit religion is like not crediting newton with current gravity theory because general theory takes president.

  6. Dr Zientehasta says:

    You do realise the book you are questioning says “NEW THEORIES!!”

    I suggest you go look up that word in your wiki…its retentive people like yourself that hold back science by only regurgitating the science of the past, new science is driven by THEORY, the science comes later…You sir are a fool!

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