What’s Up with Dr. George Perry?

Geroge Perry

Geroge Perry

When I analyze and investigate possible predatory publishers, there is one name that I frequently see: George Perry.

Professor Perry is the Dean of the College of Sciences at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He’s a biologist and specializes in the cytopathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Perry’s vita is extremely extensive and impressive, except for one thing.

He is the editor-in-chief of numerous questionable journals and serves as a member of the editorial board of many other questionable journals. More worrisome, he’s the editor-in-chief of no less than seven OMICS Publishing Group’s journals, a publisher I have identified as among the worst of the predatory publishers.

The table below shows predatory journals for which he’s the editor-in-chief or associate editor-in-chief:

Journal

Publisher

Position

Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Techniques OMICS EIC
Journal of Biotechnology & Biomaterials OMICS EIC
Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability OMICS EIC
Journal of Cytology & Histology OMICS EIC
Journal of Cell Science & Therapy OMICS EIC
Journal of Marine Science: Research & Development OMICS EIC
Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs: Open Access OMICS EIC
The Open Pathology Journal Bentham Open Co-EIC
Atlas Journal of Medical and Biological Sciences Atlas Publishing EIC
International Journal of Pharmacy and Medical Sciences  IDOSI Assoc. EIC
Annual Review & Research in Biology ScienceDomain EIC
Note: EIC means editor-in-chief

Also, according to his vita, he’s serving as the associate editor of the following BioInfo Publications journals:

  • 2010-16 Associate Editor, International Journal of Drug Discovery
  • 2010-16 Associate Editor, International Journal of Biotechnology Applications
  • 2010-15 Associate Editor, Neuroscience Research
  • 2010-15 Associate Editor, Advances in Medical Information
  • 2010-15 Associate Editor, International Journal of Parisitology Research
  • 2010-16 Associate Editor, The Advances in Computational Research

BioInfo Publications is another publisher I’ve identified as predatory; it is a mega-publisher with over 300 journal titles. Perry also holds an honorary position, the President Editor for Global Journals, another one of the publishers on my list.

I see two problems here. First, Dr. Perry doesn’t seem to discriminate when he receives the same invitations to serve on editorial boards that we all receive. Why would such a renowned scholar allow himself to be associated with such low-quality, dubious, and sketchy journals?

Second, I don’t understand how it is physically possible for one human being to serve in so many positions and also serve as the dean of a college. I think this would require more than 24 hours work per day. Dr. Perry also serves on editorial and editorial board positions on numerous (more than 100)  legitimate journals.

I sent Dr. Perry an email asking him about this and received the following response on February 27, 2013:

Excommunicating Scientific Discourse from the Imprimatur of Authority
George Perry
College of Sciences, University of Texas at San Antonio,
San Antonio, Texas 78249

Major human advances have closely followed those of communication technology; language, writing, printing and electronics have each changed the economy of information dissemination.  Electronic publication has swept over our world to put information at the fingertips of most at an affordable cost, while only beginning to address the social context of scientific publication and its reliance on social and scientific norms through the peer review structure.   We have to look back over five centuries to the invention of printing and its use, first as a means to continue the old order of the Catholic Church through printing Bibles and indulgences, and later as Luther’s tool in the Reformation.  Academic order and scientific publication emanated from authority, whether from learned societies or the pope.  Imprimatur was critical in a world of limited information availability and low educational attainment, and where searching for absolutes was viewed as essential. Reliance on journal reputation and rigorous review does add value, as did the imprimatur, but at what cost? In the Renaissance it restricted Galileo, Copernicus, and countless others now unknown because their ideas were repressed. In a time when information can be rapidly compared, cross-checked and corrected, does retarding information from hypotheses, ‘failed’ experiments or novel but developing supporting ideas advance knowledge?    WebmedCentral has addressed this issue head-on by developing two parallel journals, one with post-publication review and the other with pre-publication review.  Both are based on peer review that embraces and looks to leadership from the scientific community for validity rather than narrow authority.  These are exciting times for publishing and even more so for the truth.

19 Responses to What’s Up with Dr. George Perry?

  1. Yurii says:

    Pretty good example of a political corect non-answer.

  2. If we were to embrace Dr. Perry’s ideas, we would require that ALL predatory open publishers had an efficient system of eliminating manuscripts that didn’t pass post-publication review AND informing this to ALL the people who had read the failed manuscript. They should also ensure rogorous post-publishing review. WebmedCentral must be seen as an experiment only.

  3. Shawn says:

    His wiki page doesn’t include those publications: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Perry_%28neuroscientist%29

    I think they should be added to his Professional Appointments

  4. Equality says:

    Everyone has a right to choose whatever they want as long as they have a sound reason behind that. Even I think the predatory publishers are a serious problem in the academic world, however, I appreciate Dr George Perry’s choice and reason.

    • john williams says:

      Jeffrey Beall’s list provides a rational basis for selecting open access journals for serious consideration, but we don’t have a similar list for traditional journals. I recently agreed to become a member of one of OMICS journals’ editorial boards. I agreed to join in order to find out more about the fee-based open access publishing process and I am still doing so, while keeping an open mind for now. So far I have been asked to review only one paper, but it was not in my field of expertise so I declined. As it happens I review around two papers per month for established and highly regarded print journals and I get my reviews done within 3 weeks or I start getting annoying reminders. My more recent experience as a co-author of papers submitted to highly regarded print journals is that the review process has become quite unsatisfactory. Some take 6-9 months or more and in recent years tend to result in a single short review with an editorial letter stating that the editor has had difficulty finding reviewers and has decided to review the paper himself and then reject it on some vague general grounds. Why this should take 9 months or more is hard to understand. This is one problem that I think is leading authors like myself to begin thinking about better ways to publish our work.

      Another problem with the traditional method of scientific publishing is that while I agree with the value of having a system of peer review and want my own work to be reviewed before it is published, it is not an open process and there are few, if any, checks on or reviews of reviewers’ work. An open review system would go a long way toward fixing that and would put established traditional journals on more equal footing with the open access upstarts (or vice versa).

      A third problem with the traditional system of publishing is that scientific misconduct and plagiarism still exist and are perhaps just as rampant in established journals as people fear is the case with these so-called predatory publishers, but I suspect some of this remains hidden.

      A while ago I was asked to review a paper that was a complete replica of one I had published with a coauthor. The hypotheses, study design, methodology and analyses were all identical as was the presentation although not exactly word-for-word, but paraphrased. The figures while not exact replicas, illustrated exactly the same content and there was no mention of our paper at all. Based on my review the paper was rejected. To my surprise It was published in the same format in two other major highly regarded print journals a short while later. Obviously it had been submitted to three journals at the same time. When my co-author and I complained to the editor of one of these journals, he responded that, while the incident was regrettable he had no objection to the publication because it is good to have work that has been published replicated by others. It seems there is confusion even among editors of established and highly regarded journals as to the difference between replicating someone’s study and plagiarism. The readers of these two journals will never know any of this. Earlier this year I became aware of another less obvious incident of plagiarism of work I had co-authored that was published in a journal run by one of the largest publishers in science. I wrote a letter to the editor expecting that he would either handle this by asking the authors to respond or publish my letter. He did neither and stated that there was no room in the journal to publish my letter. I was so frustrated by this lack of editorial responsibility that I wrote an editorial for the OMICS journal for which I am an editorial board member. Mindful of the possibility of lawsuits I am leaving the particulars out, but it has almost completely undermined any faith I might have had in the established publishing system.

      At this point I see less real difference in scientific value between costly established journals with their closed and hidden review policies and sometimes (in my own experience more than sometimes) lax or absent editorial oversight and the overwhelming and bewildering barrage of fee-driven open access journals, other than the fact that the latter are completely out of control and flooding us with journals that have no meaningful coherence in topic or theme. But, in the end, we as scientists, judge published work on its own merits anyway. It makes no difference to me where a paper is published when I am reading it unless it is in a field I know nothing about. I am more interested in knowing who did the work and how it was done.

      Let’s not forget that large publishing houses can be just as predatory as small and individual bandit operations. Libraries pay enormous fees for their subscriptions to the journals we have all come to believe are “safeguarding” our science and validating and preserving the scientific process. As others have pointed out large publishing houses engage in predatory practices of their own. Ultimately we must all pay these fees.

  5. Trevor says:

    I strongly disagree with you on this post, Jeffrey. We should opine and debate about open-access journals’ quality and policies, but not attack persons.

    • Shawn says:

      If a scholar attached his name and reputation to a publication, there is absolutely no problem in publicly stating that they are associated with these publications. Statements of fact should never be feared in academics.

    • Trevor, I regret you see this as a personal attack. I did not intend it as an attack. It is meant as an inquiry. Dr. Perry is a public figure, and as a critical thinker, I think it’s reasonable to question why he is the EiC and on the editorial boards of so many questionable journals.

    • Trevor says:

      We, Americans, believe so much in fair competition and market mechanism. Let the market work on its own. Scholars and academic decision-makers are not stupid; they know their potential levels of attainment and retention. For instance, those OA publications would not be considered at all for a Harvard professor. However, there might be many teaching-oriented schools that do not mind having their professors publish in those journals (rather than not publishing at all). Similar analogy is, why I am stranded at University of B…surely and logically because I am not offered a position at University of A.

      My thrust is: let the market decide. Low quality products and services will die due to competitive process. Unless we want to become like those sub-par and poor countries where universities, accreditation institutions and everything are heavily regulated.

      • Hi, Trevor,

        Part of the free market includes reviews, commentaries, case studies, investigative reports, and the like. For example, if someone publishes a book, the free market includes people who write and publish book reviews about the book. The review component is a secondary free market that adds value to the first free market. The magazine Consumer Reportsis another example. So, you are correct that the market will decide. It will decide with the help of the free press that describes and evaluates what the free market has to offer.

        Jeffrey

  6. If Dr. Perry has such a low view of publishing, why is he so heavily invested in it?

  7. Al says:

    I very much doubt that the OMICS Publishing Group actually pays Dr. George Perry for his services. So why does he continue to be associated with them???

  8. Wow. That’s a very long non-answer, but at least it’s original (not copied from the interwebs).

    @Trevor — he’s not attacking him. He’s questioning his professional ability to undertake the obligations of a REAL Assoc Editor, since NOT working responsibly either support predatory journals OR leads to poor results for a legitimate journal.

  9. Nils says:

    I guess that at some point in a scientific career, collecting memberships in editoral board can become addictive, much in the same way as executive/administrative board memberships become addictive to managers and politicians. The danger being, of course, besides the fact that it is impossible to contribute meaningfully to too many boards, that the risk of becoming involved in a scandal increases. I believe one should think twice before accepting membership in an editorial board, and ask oneself (1) do I endorse the politics of this publisher? and (2) do I have the time to make the job seriously?

  10. Very interesting. I agree we are none the wiser. My Dean works every day of the week. On being a Dean.

  11. […] It’s definitely worth a visit to Beall’s site. Not only does he keep an up-to-date list of publishers and journals that are “predatory” in nature, he also shares much of his investigation into particular circumstances, such as this one guy who is the “Editor in Chief” of several “journals.” […]

  12. […] and discusses in his blog about actual people involved in many of these shady publishing platforms (one example and another one). He even keeps an eye on plagiarism […]

  13. DarkLord says:

    Agreed “I don’t understand how it is physically possible for one human being to serve in so many positions and also serve as the dean of a college”. I don’t understand how it is physically possible for one human being to serve in so many positions and also serve as the dean of a college and also to publish large number of papers and also to understand every and each scientific and medicinal method. I am confused. http://scholar.google.com/citations?user=ySklo5EAAAAJ&hl=en

  14. DarkLord says:

    His CV says marine biologist but OMICS says pathologist

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