I’m Following a Fringe Science Paper on F1000Research

F1000Research

The article I’m following.

I am following the progress of the article “Culture and identification of Borrelia spirochetes in human vaginal and seminal secretions” in the journal F1000Research, which is published by Faculty of 1000 and is not on my list. This open-access journal uses the post-publication peer review model, publishing papers upon submission, and then subsequently accepting peer reviews and comments.

I’m following the paper because of its controversial conclusion: “The culture of viable Borrelia spirochetes in genital secretions suggests that Lyme disease could be transmitted by intimate contact from person to person.” The paper finds that Lyme disease could be sexually transmitted.

The article was published on December 18, 2014. Its lead author is affiliated with the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society in Bethesda, Maryland, a group that seems to me to have a political agenda related to Lyme disease and its treatment.

It's indexed in Google Scholar.

It’s indexed in Google Scholar.

The paper is indexed in Google Scholar.

The United States Centers for Disease Control has a Lyme Disease FAQ that asks and answers the question, “Can Lyme disease be transmitted sexually?” The first line of the extended answer says, “There is no credible scientific evidence that Lyme disease can be spread from person-to-person through sexual contact.”

The first open peer review report was added yesterday, January 5, 2015. It says:

Not Approved
There are a number of issues that mitigate against the authors’ conclusion that Lyme disease can be transmitted sexually. 

As of this writing, there is one comment appended to the article; here are some selections from it:

Reader Comment 29 Dec 2014

Phillip Baker, American Lyme Disease Foundation, USA

“The concept of sexual transmission of borreliosis, which has been resurrected recently by Middelveen et al., was refuted years ago by the well-designed and controlled studies of Moody and Barthold, as well as Woodrum and Oliver, internationally known experts on Lyme disease. These investigators used well-characterized animal models of borreliosis in which infection is much more disseminated and profound than it ever is in humans”

“Sadly, preliminary oral reports of the observations of Middelveen et al. have already generated an inordinate amount of fear and anxiety within the lay community due to sensationalized reports of their unconfirmed findings by an uncritical – and often naïve – press. This has already caused much harm. To date, I have received numerous inquiries from distraught individuals, wondering if they now should even consider marrying their spouse-to-be for fear of contracting Lyme disease that some mistakenly believe to be incurable. Some fear the possibility of giving birth to an infected or congenitally deformed child, because their spouse or spouse-to-be had been diagnosed and treated for Lyme disease in the past.”

Indeed, the article is being reported and described in social media without the qualification that the article has not yet completed peer review, and someone even paid to publish a PR Web press release to publicize the article. The press release has the title, Expanded Study Confirms that Lyme Disease May Be Sexually Transmitted.

Note: This image is a composite of two screenshots.

A paid press release promoting the article as accepted science. [Note: This image is a composite of two screenshots.]

The press release doesn’t mention the incomplete peer-review status of the paper.

The press release brags, “We have taken Lyme disease out of the woods and into the bedroom.”

How does the transparency that the F1000Research peer-review model provides balance with the harm that potentially false science can cause when it’s published using the open-access model? This article is an interesting case study.

56 Responses to I’m Following a Fringe Science Paper on F1000Research

  1. Ken Witwer says:

    I very much like the idea of open peer review, but open peer review does not have to involve immediate open-access posting. This example underlines the pitfall of putting all manuscripts online immediately. Without even cursory scientific review pre-posting, journals following this model will become magnets for otherwise unpublishable work. Some of this work could be remediated during the review process, but some authors may be satisfied to have their “publication” online in any form.

  2. Joe says:

    It’s unclear to me what the real difference is–in terms of the end result, anyway–between this publication/review model and a traditional model IN THE CASE THAT THE REVIEWS ARE SLOPPY AND THE WORK WINDS UP GETTING PUBLISHED. That is not a straw man argument, because that scenario happens more often than researchers & editors want to admit. (Hint: if you get back a review that says something along the lines of “looks good, publish as is”, you can be fairly certain that the reviewer didn’t bother reading your paper carefully.)

    I suggest that the public dissemination of the possibly bogus Lyme-disease research has occurred not because of the particular publication/review model, but because (1) it’s trivial for anyone with an internet connection to do keyword searches, (2) the news media LOVE to create the perception of controversy, and (3) journalists don’t understand how science is done.

  3. wkdawson says:

    One interesting point is that the reviewer is identified and the review is there for all to see. This won’t solve all the problems of the system.

    However, done well, it could reduce malicious of an author by the peer reviewers, it would tend to encourage reviewers to write useful reviews because other people can see the review, and it could help moderate or expose authors of slipshod work or hype infested drivel.

    When there is next to no penalty for abusing the review process either by doing slipshod work or using innuendo to taint the integrity of the author, the system fails the purpose of peer review. Likewise, nonsense can end up published in a lot of places that are not OA by unsuspecting editors, so when authors need only say “it was published”, we have no way to know whether the reviewers did their job or where things went wrong and we have to do all the labor on our own from scratch to evaluate the work. If it is not particularly in ones area of expertise, unless the work is just twaddle, sometimes it can be very difficult to tell the difference between a strange but clever original idea, and nonsense.

    As you suggest, the main problem is that one has numerous ways to broadcast the title without being equally forced to directly broadcast the reviewer’s comments. Many people would probably just read the title and never look at the original document with the reviews. It would also be more helpful if a link to the reviews were up front next to the title/author list rather than somewhere down at the bottom.

    • Just a note on your last point that we do actually include a shortened URL (bit.ly) in the title of our articles that links readers directly to latest referee reports. On the article page, we also have an ‘open peer review’ box on the righthand side at the top which summarises the referee status, who the referees are, and also again directly links to the individual referee reports (and comments).

  4. herr doktor bimler says:

    I don’t know if the problem is really with the f1000 publication model so much as with the laziness of journalists and their reliance on press releases. If the authors had not pre-published in F1000 (and jumped the gun of peer reviewing), but rather had skipped peer review completely by squeezing the paper out through a mockademic journal, lazy churnalists would still republish their press release.

    Expanded Study Confirms that Lyme Disease May Be Sexually Transmitted

    My flabber is ghasted by the word “confirms”, with its implication that sexual transmission had earlier been reported and that the current study is a replication. Dishonesty in media promotion, I am shocked!

  5. Dan Riley says:

    The press release appears to have been issued by Union Square Medical Associates, a practice specializing in Lyme disease, led by the corresponding author of the paper, Dr. Stricker.

    Previous papers by some of the same authors have been on pretty fringy stuff like chronic Lyme disease and Morgellons. Previous publications were in a variety of journals, including normal peer reviewed journals, F1000, and the OMICS Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research.

    I am amazed that none of the authors list any competing interests.

  6. Well – the paper raises the following questions:

    1. The authors state a close phylogenetic relationship between Borrelia and the syphilis spirochete without providing any data on their divergence from each other. Are we talking close as man and chimp, or is it on another scale? Indian lotus (and relatives) is most closely related phylogenetically to American sycomore (and relatives) – but they diverged some 100 million years ago and clearly evolved very different survival modes…

    2.Their assertion that “virtually identical strains of Borrelia” in couples genital secretions indicates that the bacterium can be transmitted sexually is worthless without data on sequence variation within and between Borrelia populations. It is quite easy to miss a tick-bite…

    3. I don’t understand table 6 at all! First off – how where the data in the table selected? It sure wasn’t by taking the first BLAST hit of whatever sequence they submitted as is evident when checking the supplemental data for patients… And to publish a BLAST scores with E-values of 1.5 and 2.1 without even commenting suggest that non of the authors can interpret a BLAST search. Why wasn’t the sequences subjected to BLAST published?

    4. Their assertion that sequence similarity between couples/patients is “analogous” to epidemiological tracing of HIV-strains lack supporting evidence of “analogous” strain variability and mutation rates between the Borrelia bacterium and the HIV virus.

    5. What are the “technical limitations” in studying Lewis rats and Syrian golden hamsters that are circumvented by using mice, ducks, cats and dogs?

    6. The authors write in both the abstract and the discussion that “recent reports … indicate that more than 300 000 cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed yearly in the USA” – which I find is bordering on fraudulent behaviour. The CDC report that is referenced uses the word “estimate” not “indicate”. I am not a native speaker of english, but I am pretty sure that those two are not identical from a data-point of view…

    And these are points beyond those raised by the invited reviewer who didn’t approve of the content.

    • herr doktor bimler says:

      Their assertion that “virtually identical strains of Borrelia” in couples genital secretions indicates that the bacterium can be transmitted sexually is worthless without data on sequence variation within and between Borrelia populations.

      That was my thought as well. If both individuals in a relationship have contracted a similar strain of Borrelia, they probably contracted it in the same location.

    • herr doktor bimler says:

      The CDC report that is referenced uses the word “estimate”

      To be fair, the CDC report has “Preliminary estimates … indicate”, so some of the blame lies with their barbarous turn of phrase.
      But the wording in the “transmissible” press release does not even brook the ambiguity or uncertainty implicit in ‘indicate’:

      … with over 300,000 new cases diagnosed each year in the United States

      • I would say that an estimate can indicate conclusions, but to remove the estimation part (as done by the authors in this case) is to indicate that the data is factual and supports the conclusion. But again – english is not my first language…

  7. Imad Ben says:

    Dear Mr. Jeffrey Beall, I would like to submit my paper in the International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks, Hindawi Publisher Corporation here is the url of the journal : http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijdsn/ can you confirm if it’s a good journal or not and Thank you very much.

  8. JATdS says:

    This is an important story because it covers an aspect that has not yet been analyzed in the boundary between open access, open peer review and post-publication peer review. I was somewhat critical of f1000 Research back in 2013, because I had noticed at least one paper that was rejected, but was in essence published as open access, serving as a plus for the authors, no doubt. Even so, it does represent a positive alternative publishing model, but clearly with flaws. After all, how many rejected papers can be published in the same journal that rejects them? My ideas appear on a page where the first retraction appeared in this journal:
    http://retractionwatch.com/2013/11/20/open-science-journal-f1000research-posts-its-first-retraction/

  9. Thank you for picking up on this article, which we think is actually an interesting showcase for the importance of open peer review and peer review conducted post-publication. There are plenty of similarly controversial articles published in journals where peer review has already been completed and ‘passed’ and even indexed in PubMed, giving them a level of approval and ‘quality’ status that may not be further questioned. These articles often don’t include open/transparent responses to the article. By contrast, the open inclusion of two scientific-based responses on the F1000Research article by Middleveen et al. makes it clear that there are strong voices in the scientific community that do not agree with the author’s conclusions: open, non-anonymous debate. There is no way to stop the media inaccurately reporting on new science and in fact, the traditional pre-publication and anonymous peer review system can give ‘bad’ science inappropriate credibility – the MMR and autism scandal is a case in point.

    If F1000Research hadn’t published it, this particular paper may well have ended up published in another peer reviewed journal somewhere (and hence have ‘passed’ their anonymous peer review process) and been similarly press released, with no evidence on the paper that (named) experts within the scientific community strongly disagree with the findings. We take peer review so seriously that it is included as an inextricable part of the article itself, and believe we are unique in this approach. As a society, we need to put pressure on the media to take more responsibility for behaving appropriately, particularly on stories that affect people’s health.

    F1000Research’s aim is to ensure that authors can share their research without barriers (and be fully accountable for their research as a result), and to facilitate open debate amongst scientists in a fully transparent way. Our whole approach is built around transparency and clarity of an article’s status (peer reviewed or not, positive peer review or not, who wrote the review, did the author respond, did the author write a new version, etc). We take our responsibilities in this process very seriously in making sure that anyone reading our articles is clear of their current peer review status, which is indicated in the article title and prominently displayed in the HTML and PDF version. Articles are not indexed in PubMed and Scopus until they have received approval from our invited expert reviewers. We provide the media and readers with tools (our Track button) to receive alerts on the progress of an article as referee reports, comments and new versions of that article are published and the article is approved (or not approved) by the referees. We strongly encourage readers to comment openly on the article by Middleveen et al., as well as other articles published in F1000Research!

    • wkdawson says:

      I have noted above that the peer review system _can_ have serious problems, but I also am indebted to some reviewers for rightly asking me to fix my manuscripts too. I have to admit that when the peer review system actually has worked, the result was something much better.

      I note that you pointed out that the reviews come with the manuscript, so at least if a reader decides to go to the source, the information is there.

      However, assuming an author has some good material but (unintentionally) the delivery in the manuscript is hopelessly unclear, or there are major mistakes in equations that unfortunately went unnoticed, etc., wouldn’t this be also a nightmare? Of course, peer reviewed papers with major errors can be published, so the author has to do everything possible to write well the first time, but probably few if any works have much hope of being perfect without several rounds of comments.

      What recourse does the sincere author have to clean up a substandard work, once problems are recognised, other than withdrawing it?

      • Thanks for that question. A critical review is not the end of the line, and we’ve come up with a system to indeed let authors improve their article based on reviewer feedback.
        F1000Research works with versions: authors are encouraged to upload a new version after referee comments, and that version is linked to the original one. Referees look at each version (similar to looking at revisions of manuscripts at other journals).

        It’s easiest to see this in action, on an article with multiple versions, like this one: http://f1000research.com/articles/2-198/v3
        Only articles that pass peer review are indexed in PubMed, so there is an incentive for authors to make suggested changes and pass review in a new version

        See also our FAQ page which answers several questions about the system: http://f1000research.com/faqs

  10. Alex SL says:

    I am fairly sceptical of post-publication peer review. In this case it may work precisely because the topic gets a lot of attention, motivating people to criticise the paper. But what if that practice became widespread?

    Scientists never have enough time, and peer review is not what they are primarily paid for or evaluated on. So if there are a couple thousand papers out there every year that don’t panic the spouses of lime disease infected people or something like that, papers that “only” report on the evolution of an obscure genus of ferns or on the characteristics of a rare chemical compound, who would be motivated to actually do the review? What is more, what would motivate the authors to make necessary corrections? Regardless of how faulty their paper is, it is published, time is money, on to the next project! When the incentives are that strong, “we need to put pressure on” and “we strongly encourage” will stay in the realm of “and a pony for everybody”.

    Post-publication review seems like a very bad idea all around.

    As an aside, however, I wonder about the phrase “indexed in Google Scholar”. I may be mistaken but I understood GS to be a search engine, not an indexing service. Isn’t it precisely for that reason that predatory journals claiming to be “indexed” in GS should not be taken seriously? One could just as well say that this blog is indexed in Bing…

    • Pro-PPPR says:

      It is obvious that you have not spent enough time at PubPeer to appreciate the great value of post-publication peer review. The PPPR denialists no longer have a place in science or science publishing. PPPR is evolving as rapidly as Twitter.

    • We invite all referees for post-publication review at F1000Research (just like a pre-publication review journal) to make sure that all articles receive a fair review process, regardless of the topic.

      • Alex SL says:

        I am not sure how to understand “all referees”, but even assuming the best, there is still one problem: that paper is already published. That is, in my eyes, the crucial failure of the approach.

        Yes, of course even the strictest journals sometimes publish bad papers; everything is a heuristic, nothing more. But my current heuristic is to take things that made it through the peer review of Syst Biol or Amer J Bot seriously until proved otherwise and to disregard stuff in vanity presses that people did not get reviewed as potential crankery until proved otherwise. Faced with thousands of papers, that is a very helpful heuristic indeed! If everybody can just dump their manuscripts in a database where they are all sitting equally next to each other it will be much harder to figure out what to take a closer look at and what not.

        An alternative heuristic would be to look only at the big established names in the field, but of course that would severely bias against competent newcomers.

        Pro-PPPR,

        How very mature of you. What does Twitter have to do with scientific quality control? Stuff evolving does not necessarily mean that it evolves in the right direction.

        Also, if we are talking public peer review as opposed to post-publication peer review, which are two completely independent issues, then I have different reservations. As an example: if the name of the reviewer will be known to the authors, will a young postdoc desparate to get their next grant which will make or break their career dare to produce a negative review of the paper of a very influential person in the field who is known to sit on the grant committee?

        More generally, it seems as if a major problem in these discussions is that some people see factor X as problematic under the established system, and then they try to develop a new system that is designed primarily to avoid X – without carefully considering the trade-offs and incentives that will result.

      • wkdawson says:

        ” if the name of the reviewer will be known to the authors, will a young postdoc desparate to get their next grant which will make or break their career dare to produce a negative review of the paper of a very influential person in the field who is known to sit on the grant committee? ”

        Would it be wise for a young postdoc to agree with a poor paper or even an idea that is wrong when his/her name is also listed? If the paper is rubbish, a praising review or a worthless review is also there for all to see.

        In general, this sort of thing is called conflict of interest. A reviewer should bow out if there is no way to be objective and reviews should be written to help the authors either understand how to fix a manuscript or why the manuscript is inappropriate. The author should also has the right to defend himself/herself — also for all to see.

        Conflict of interest is a major problem within the peer review process presently: politicians in lab coats who get away with murder and, likewise, authors who meddle with references and list other people in their cable who will generate favourable reviews to unwitting editors. This is not a problem unique to OA, I know an editor in the “reader pays” system who also runs up against this from time to time. What seems most lacking presently in the system is transparency in the review process.

        At least if the names are given, nobody can hide or cover their behind like the current system.

      • Alex SL says:

        wkdawson,

        All points well taken, but the “at least” part works just as well the other way around: At least under the current system one can write an openly negative review without fearing career-damaging repercussions.

        The thing is that all approaches – OA or reader pays, open review or anonymous review, pre-pub or post-pub review – come with their own sets of good and bad incentives and dynamics. I am not happy with the traditional system either; if you ask me all publishers should be non-profit public utilities. What annoys me are all those people who will blithely ignore the downsides of their favourite new approach until it is too late.

        The current system, as problematic as it is, was not built overnight as the conspiracy of a sinister cabal, instead it evolved into its current shape because it demonstrably worked to filter out most crap science and to give people a heuristic for where the good papers in their field can be found. When it is dismantled in a burst of over-enthusiastic creative destruction, new problems will be introduced that would, at this stage, be entirely avoidable if one were more careful.

      • wkdawson says:

        Alex SL

        Anonymous peer review has many advantages when the process on the part of the authors and reviewers is done in good faith. It doesn’t even have to be because it is a junior researcher doing the review: having your name on a review could result in retaliation if a disgruntled author is unethical.

        Yet the fact that an unscrupulous author can retaliate is a sign that the system is badly corrupted. We grow by constructive criticism and we should want that to improve our communication no matter how old and experienced we are.

        One reason for this increasing lack of good faith (reviewers and authors both) is probably because of the intense competition for funds. This factors into promotions and therefore there is lots of incentive to protect ones turf. Another problem is probably globalisation and the potential decline of common cultural standards and understanding of the purpose of publication and review.

        I don’t see how this would be fixed by making all publications non-profit utilities, though maybe that would relax some of the incentives simply to publish hype to increase sales (and readership) in reader pays models.

      • “All referees” in this case means: The formal peer review comments on each article were made by invited and approved reviewers, so we don’t have a problem with some articles not receiving any peer review. All articles are sent to reviewers.
        The articles also have a comment section, and anyone can leave a comment there, but that is in addition to the *invited* reviewers.

        Regarding your comment about only searching for articles in journals where they are already peer reviewed, you can search F1000Research by “indexed” articles only, which are the ones that have already successfully passed peer review. We only send the articles that have passed peer review to PubMed, so if you come across any of our articles in there, those have all passed review, and are equivalent to what you might find in a journal that did pre-publication review.

      • Alex SL says:

        wkdawson,

        Yet the fact that an unscrupulous author can retaliate is a sign that the system is badly corrupted.

        Sorry, but I believe that that is naive. Proud and unreasonable people will exist under any possible system.

        I don’t see how this would be fixed by making all publications non-profit utilities

        I pointed out myself that there are three toally independent issues: whether review should be anonymous, when review should take place, and whether journals should be OA. This remark was merely meant to indicate that for all my skepticism about hasty changes I am not a blind believer in “they way it is now is totally awesome”; and the thing is that while this would be a simple solution to the price-gouging going on at the moment, I do not see a simple fix-all for the review process.

      • wkdawson says:

        Alex: I think we are largely on the same page on the issues here.

        It certainly has not been a career advancing experience to have told a few big kahunas the truth in my case. On the other hand, though hackneyed to say so, one learns through such hard experiences that good people are not the product of upbringing, ethnic or cultural identity, but of individual character. These are just words until one lives them and keeps having to rediscover them with new faces.

        For me, it is not exactly being naive; rather, it is being (perhaps too much of) an idealist.

        There are advantages to pessimism. After all, pessimists are actually optimists because they are never disappointed. :-)

    • J.J. says:

      Post-publication peer review is very useful as long as it happens after and additionally to the regular peer-review. Recent events show how critical it can be to sort good science from junk that has been missed in the pre-publication round of review.

  11. peer says:

    Of interest, Raphael B. Stricker, the corresponding author, falsified data in a NIH grant application and NEJM paper:

    http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not93-177.html

    • In the manuscript, Dr. Stricker selectively suppressed data that did not support his hypothesis, and reported consistently positive data whereas only one of four experiments had produced positive results. In the publication, Dr. Stricker reported that an antibody was found in 29 of 30 homosexuals, but not found in non-homosexuals. However, Dr. Stricker”s control data, which he suppressed, showed the antibody in 33 of 65 non-homosexuals. The falsified data was used as the basis for a grant application to the National Institutes of Health.

      Well-spotted!

  12. Joro says:

    Most of the journals of EGU (european geosciences union) are exactly the same as f1000:
    http://www.egu.eu/publications/open-access-journals/
    and long before f1000.
    The paper is published as is as a preprint and then reviewed but it stays there even if it is rejected. So far this works perfectly well.
    So f1000 is following a very good model for an oa journal,
    The problem is with the scientifically illiterate journalists.

  13. kysh says:

    dear Prof Guy, how can slides presentation at any conference or seminars, and poster presentation counted as registered publication in PRISMa? even an original press release is not considered as one. tqvm

  14. patricia says:

    good day JEFF
    please am considering a journal current research in nutrItion and food science ISSN: 2347-467X, Online ISSN: 2322–0007 . i didnt see the journal listed in the list of possible predatory journal however the publisher enviro appear to be on the list . can there be good journal but predatory publisher. could yo help authenticate this journal. thank you.

    • Yes, I have Enviro Research Publishers included on my list and recommend that all researchers avoid submitting their work to all the journals this low-quality company publishes.
      If you look at the website for the Current Research in Nutrition and Food Science, it’s pretty clear that it’s a predatory journal. The website says,

      Deadline for submission: 31st March, 2015
      Publication date(Print edition): 30th April, 2015

      Also, it prominently displays a bogus impact factor:

      InnoSpace – SJIF Scientific Journal Impact Factor-3.006

  15. The findings reported by Middleveen et al. in their paper, “Exploring the association between Morgellons disease and Lyme disease: identification of Borrelia burgdorferi in Mogellons disease patients” defy credibility ( http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/s12895-015-0023-0.pdf ) . They are strikingly at variance with the results of a thorough and extensive study finding no evidence to indicate that any infectious agent is involved in Morgellons, “a poorly characterized constellation of symptoms with the primary manifestations involving the skin” (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0029908 ). Obviously, in situations like this, independent confirmation is essential before the findings reported by Middleveen et al. can be given serious consideration by the scientific community. To date, there is no such confirmation.
    The need for independent confirmation of the work of Middleveen et al. is also compelled by the fact that two of the co-authors have a past history of publishing suspect data. Dr. R.B. Stricker was found guilty of falsifying data for both a published manuscript and a Public Health Service-supported publication reporting research on AIDS; he was severely disciplined for such egregious misconduct ( http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/not93-177.html ). Dr. E. Sapi and co-workers published results using a novel unvalidated method for culturing Borelia burgdorferi (Int. J. Med.Sci. 10: 362-376, 2013); unfortunately, other investigators were unable to confirm their findings and noted a high percentage of false positive cultures, most likely due to the laboratory contamination of patient specimens (Johnson, BJ, Pilgard, MA, and Russell, TM . J. Clin. Microbiol. 52: 721-724, 2014).
    In other studies, Dr. R.S. Stricker claimed that a decrease in a CD57 lymphocyte subset may be an important marker of chronic Lyme disease, and that changes in this CD57 subset may be useful in monitoring the response to therapy (Immunol. Lett. 76: 43-48, 2001). The publication of Stricker’s findings encouraged various Lyme literate physicians (LLMDs) and their associates to view the CD 57 test as a major advance in the diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease (https://heallyme.wordpress.com/2009/01/28/understanding-the-cd-57-test/ ). However, Marques et al. found that the number of CD 57+ natural killer cells is not significantly different between patients with post-Lyme disease syndrome and controls (Clin. Vaccine Immunol. 16: 1249-1250, 2009), thereby questioning the validity of the CD 57 test as a diagnostic test for chronic Lyme disease.
    There is considerable misinformation about Lyme disease being disseminated on the internet as well as in the media (http://www.aldf.com/Misinformation_about_Lyme_Disease.shtml ). The situation described above does not help matters and indicates the need for greater assurances that scientific publications — especially when they concern the public health– are subjected to rigorous peer review. Otherwise, the outcome is total and complete chaos in which no one can trust the findings reported in any scientific publications. Scientific organizations were once responsible for monitoring the quality of papers published in their officially sponsored journals, largely by ensuring that such journals had a competent editorial board and that all manuscripts submitted were reviewed competently with great care. Obviously, with the emergence of open-access journals and their ilk, that is no more the case.

  16. Elisabeth Hahne says:

    Hello Jeffrey,
    In your 2014 list I dont see any listing for The Open Rehabilitation Journal published by Bentham Open.
    Does this mean then that they are not predatory?
    With grateful thanks
    Elisabeth Hahne

    • No. I try to list at the publisher level whenever possible, for there are too many individual journals for me to track. In this case, I do have Bentham Open on my list and intend for this listing to apply to all the journals it publishes. Thanks.

  17. Elisabeth Hahne says:

    Thank you for the swift reply!
    Best regards
    Elisabeth

  18. […] I see this as part of a broader problem involving the proliferation of scientific journals that do not adhere to accepted practices, which in turn is a form of cargo cult science.  It is certainly appropriate to bring attention to journals that fail to engage in a rigorous peer-review process.  Articles published in such venues should not be regarded by the scientific community in the same manner as those that have been vetted and revised in response to informed critiques prior to publication.  So-called ‘post-publication’ peer review models raise some similar issues: https://scholarlyoa.com/2015/01/06/im-following-a-fringe-science-paper-on-f1000research/. […]

  19. anaisnin says:

    Do you have any suggestions for publication in a good quality open source that publishes within the domain rehabilitation/children/adolescents/acquired brain injuries?
    Thank you for your good work,
    Best
    Elisabeth Hahne

  20. anaisnin says:

    Hello Jeffrey,
    waht is your opinion on Jacobs publishers, Austin, Texas? Reliable open source?
    With grateful thanks
    Elisabeth Hahne

    • Jacobs Publishers is a horrible publisher. It claims to be based in Austin, Texas, but this is a lie. It’s really based in Hyderabad, India. Its owner is Jacob Nixon Geddam, who also owns other low-quality open-access publishing operations.

  21. anaisnin says:

    Thank you so much. Again.
    Best regards,
    Elisabeth Hahne

  22. African journals consortium has released list of African journals with their respective journal influence factor (JIF). This consortium is the same consortium that ranked African Universities. What is your idea on these ratings?
    Thanks

  23. some journals were listed in Thomson in 2009. Eg. African journal of Biotechnology and journal of Medicinal plant research. They are not in the list now. Rather, they are listed in Academic journals (consiered predatory publisher). Papers that were published when the journals were thomson indexed are not being considered for promotion or incentive now. what do you suggest?

    • This is a decision that each university or each academic department has to make.
      For academic indexes that remove journals from their coverage, I think the current trend is to remove them prospectively (from now forward) only, leaving past journal issues included in the index. This would argue for giving credit to someone who published articles in the journal when it was included in the index.

  24. anaisnin says:

    Dear dr Beall, what is your recent opinion about the journal American International Journal of Contemporary Research ?
    Thank you,
    Best
    Åsa Fyrberg

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