Anti-Roundup (Glyphosate) Researchers Use Easy OA Journals to Spread their Views

Interdisciplinary Toxicology

Toxic journal.

I’ve added the journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology (interTOX) to my list. The journal is associated with the Slovak Toxicology Society (SETOX).

In my opinion the journal is not aimed at communicating science but instead aims to promote a political agenda, namely that most manufactured chemicals cause harm to humans.

The journal’s editor-in-chief is Michal Dubovický. According to Dr. Paul Strode, author of the blog Mr. Dr. Science Teacher:

Dubovický has 53 career publications according to the Web of Science. Since June of 2008, when Interdisciplinary Toxicology was launched, he has published 27 times. Two of those publications were editorials in Interdisciplinary Toxicology and 10 were full length papers in the journal. So, 40% of Dubovický’s publications over the last six-and-a-half years are in his own journal!

The journal was brought to my attention recently because of a 2013 article it published co-authored by MIT’s anti-Roundup crusader Stephanie Seneff. The article was “Glyphosate, pathways to modern diseases II: Celiac sprue and gluten intolerance,” and it appeared in volume 6, number 4 of the journal in 2013.

According to Dr. Strode:

 Stephanie Seneff is a 65-yr-old computer scientist in the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Like [her co-author] Samsel, Seneff has magically become an expert in glyphosate biochemistry and human disease while maintaining a career in artificial intelligence. Seneff’s last eight articles have also been published in the journal Entropy, which means she and her coauthors have spent $10,816.00 to publish in the last two years.

entropy journal

Chaotic journal.

Wait, did he say Entropy? Yes, he did. Who publishes Entropy? MDPI, one of the publishers on my list. Stephanie Seneff and her co-authors have successfully used this MDPI journal as their own scholarly vanity press, publishing eight papers in it since 2012.

An excellent blog post about Seneff and her questionable research appeared in the ScienceBlogs blog Respectful Insolence on December 31st.

People with science/political agendas are increasingly using journals like Interdisciplinary Toxicology and publishers like MDPI to disseminate their work, work that quality journals will not publish.

When publishers like MDPI disseminate research by science activists like Stephanie Seneff and her co-authors, I think it’s fair to question the credibility of all the research that MDPI publishes. Will MDPI publish anything for money?

29 Responses to Anti-Roundup (Glyphosate) Researchers Use Easy OA Journals to Spread their Views

  1. Evert Nijenhuizen says:

    Entropy has an impact factor of 1.564. So, with other words, perhaps the SCI Index-system might be corrupted as well. This requires further investigation. We might have something big here.

    • It’s feasible that some of the MDPI journals get cited a lot because so many researchers cite their articles to refute them as junk science. These additional citations drive up the impact factors, and this may be one of the reasons the publisher accepts the junk in the first place. Ditto for the articles’ altmetrics.

  2. Sudesh Kumar says:

    but isn’t i true that such incidence can occur with any journal irrespective of it being open access or closed access? there is nothing to stop an editor-in-chief of a closed access journal from published his own papers in his journal or publishing papers ascribing to an agenda.

  3. wkdawson says:

    I must admit that I was rather surprised at encountering this biosemiotic entropy… I really don’t have any idea what Knuth was thinking when he approved this series.

    Moreover, some of the articles do not even have the word entropy anywhere in the body of the article. It doesn’t appear that the guest editor did much of anything or simply agrees with this view. The least that could have been done was tone down the assertions.

  4. Anatoli says:

    Does it mean that journals should also inquire about the science/political agenda of the authors before accepting articles? Isn’t editorial and peer review enough? Let the public and blog writers do the former and journals do the publishing only instead off turning into social and political watchdogs.

    • They’re not doing a legitimate peer review; that’s the problem. OA publishers want to earn as much money as possible so they accept unscientific papers and then pocket the author fees. MDPI published eight papers from this author in two years.

  5. bueller007 says:

    See also this PubPeer thread. All of Seneff’s Entropy publications were in a single special edition of the journal, which was edited by a linguist who advocates unorthodox health views and who later coauthored a publication with Seneff that made heavy use of references from the “special edition”.
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/C7497636B078354505F94D13F72C27

  6. bueller007 says:

    Also, do you have any thoughts on this “journal”?

    http://www.organic-systems.org/journal/92/index.html

  7. herr doktor bimler says:

    publishing eight papers in it since 2013
    I think you mean “since 2012”.
    All but one of those articles were in the “Special Issue Biosemiotic Entropy: Disorder, Disease, and Mortality”, which might more accurately have been called the Seneff Special Issue. Dates are confusing because the Special Issue was released in dribs and drabs over a couple of years.

    It doesn’t appear that the guest editor did much of anything or simply agrees with this view.
    The guest editor (John W. Oller, Jr) was an antivax loon who writes about the “autism epidemic”. Let us say that he had an agenda.

    Her most recent paper — “Biological Water Dynamics and Entropy” — is an attempt to rehabilitate Homeopathic Magic Water, disguising it in a sepia bafflegab cloud of

    quantum coherent nanomolecular clusters of magnetized water.

  8. I am surprised that Seneff and co. published “Biological Water Dynamics and Entropy” in “Entropy”, when it would be more appropriate for “Water” — another journal from the MDPI, devoted to “the special properties of the second phase of liquid water, resulting from its quantum-coherent behaviour at room temperatures plus an alternative value of the phase of the quantum vacuum”.

  9. RobRN says:

    Jeez – That’s all we need… MORE of Stephanie Seneff’s pseudo-scientific word salad available as ammunition for use by fringe elements!

  10. Sunday Brownson Akpan, Nigeria says:

    Hello Beall
    Please comment on the following journals/publishers.
    Should i submits manuscripts to them?

    (1) Expert journals of Economics (www.expertjournals.com)
    (2) Journal of Global Agriculture and Ecology published by International Knowlegde press
    (3) Mitteilungen Klosterneuburg (http://mitt-klosterneuburg.com/)

    Anticipating your responses

    • (1) Expert Journal of Economics (www.expertjournals.com)
      I had not heard of this publisher before (Expert Journals). I analyzed it and found that it meets the criteria for inclusion in my list, so I have added it. I would recommend that you not submit your papers here. The journals are all broad in scope, perhaps to increase submissions and therefore revenue, and all four journals have the same co-EiCs, at least one of whom is the owner of the outfit.

      (2) Journal of Global Agriculture and Ecology published by International Knowledge Press.
      As far as I can tell, International Knowledge Press is not an open access publisher. I limit my work to open-access journals and publishers, so I have not fully analyzed this publisher. My guess is that this publisher’s journals have very few subscribers, so in submitting your work here you’d not be getting very much exposure for your work.

      (3) Mitteilungen Klosterneuburg (http://mitt-klosterneuburg.com/)
      This is the hijacked version of a legitimate journal. Please ignore the version of the journal that is at this website. See my list of hijacked journals here: https://scholarlyoa.com/other-pages/hijacked-journals/

  11. bueller007 says:

    Any thoughts about Ivyspring International Publisher (http://ivyspring.com/)?

    Journals are indexed and (at least some) have impact factors, but they certainly seem questionable.

    • I agree. I’ve analyzed it before, but I find it borderline, and I prefer not to add the borderline publishers to my list.

      • bueller007 says:

        Thanks, Jeffrey, I appreciate it. Lastly, I recommend that–if you haven’t already–you take a look at “JPR Solutions” (http://jpronline.info/index.php/jpr/about).

        They are the current publishers of Drug Invention Today (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/09757619), which is the (former) Elsevier journal that got caught up in the “Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?” sting. It’s hard to tell if they are “predatory”, but at a minimum the content appears to be relatively low quality. And they do list a presumably fake impact factor:
        Impact Factor TM ( India ) = 2.667 as on date (12.03.2014)

        They also have a weird “updating system” for their papers where you can keep updating your published paper. Presumably you pay each time, and you are supposed to cite your original paper, which would–of course–increase the citation count for their fake impact metric. Articles don’t have DOIs as far as I can tell, so there’s that also.

      • Thanks — I’ve added the Journal of Pharmacy Research to my list here.

  12. wkdawson says:

    It certainly raises a flag to see Seneff publish this work in Entropy, which is not typically the place to publish a subject like this. Nevertheless, the WHO (World Health Organization) has concluded that there is evidence suggesting that Roundup is carcinogenic:

    http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/MonographVolume112.pdf

    The present EPA report, also mentioned in the above article is here
    http://www.epa.gov/iris/subst/0057.htm

    I am not expert enough to evaluate these matters, and therefore, I am only pointing this matter out. However, I did try to read a couple of Seneff’s articles just to see, when this came to my attention. Again, I don’t know the field sufficiently to establish the level of scholarship, but it didn’t read like the work of a crank either (despite its location).

    Jeffery, I would suggest that you put on top of everything else, content. Authors can end up in obscure journals for different reasons. Some end up there because they really are just cranks; however, others end up there because they are simply vulnerable. At the end of the day, it is the __truth__ that should win, and sometimes these things end up there because the truth was the victim!

    Nevertheless, the location does puzzle me too.

    More to the point, on the general issue you raise in your blog, I also can agree that authors who are struggling in the latter category (vulnerability) should avoid mistakenly publishing their work in journals where plagiarism, slipshod work and poor scholarship are common. It invites excuses from opponents. Obscure journals have been with us for a long time, but out-and-out fly-by-night operations were rare before the advent of desktop publishing.

    • kevinfolta says:

      wkdawson, just to clarify, the IARC did not “conclude that there is evidence suggesting Roundup is carcingenic” They labeled it as a “probable carcinogen”, and did so with no new data and very spotty data that came from borderline-significant statistical associations from a tiny segment of retrospective studies. In other words, the best data do not show this association. This was largely a political decision and had a lot to do with IARC committee composition. Lots written on this.

      Many other organizations have looked at this compound carefully and do not come to that conclusion. Maybe it is best to consider the IARC as the minority opinion that it is. Look at the data that were the basis of the decision. As a scientist, I’d never base policy or recommendations on such a flimsy foundation.

  13. […] alle scuole superiori (si chiama Mr Dr Science Teacher, al secolo Paul K. Strode) poi ripreso da Jeffrey Beall sul suo blog in cui osserva criticamente le riviste open access come la nostra. Quello che viene […]

  14. sharon says:

    How can you”experts” discredit Seneff’s research as not peer reviewed, when all of the “research” showing Glyphosate as “safe” is from Monsanto and others that are compensated by Monsanto? To me, the more important information in her article relates to the multiple references to microcephally being related to glyphosate. That will prove to be the cause of the birth defects, not ZEKA. Her article was published in 2013.

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