One Problem with the Scholarly Publishing Industry

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cambio_de_color_a_diferente_pHs.jpg

Escape into publishing

One main problem with scholarly publishing in the west or westernized countries these days may not have much to do with subscription access vs. open-access. I suggest it may have more to do with a common problem shared by many — if not most — of the executives, principals, and managers who have been hired by the scholarly publishing industry, whether subscription-based or open-access.

Let me hasten to add these are personal, impressionistic thoughts. I’ve done no empirical studies to draw these conclusions.

One main problem with scholarly publishing may be that some of its top editorial employees are former university researchers or frustrated clinicians. They seemed to have, for one reason or another, dropped out from the research enterprise.

Perhaps they were frustrated with their salary levels. Perhaps they had an appetite for entrepreneurial success. Perhaps they didn’t make the cut on the “publish or perish” track. For whatever reasons, they sought or were picked up instead as employees by scholarly publishing industry.

What kind of behaviors might they then be continuing?

Some have Ph.D. degrees in microbiology, chemistry, or physics. Others achieved M.D. degrees and worked for a time as clinicians.

Many also worked as postdocs, bouncing around from lab to lab. Some published a few key papers in scholarly journals, co-authored with their lab partners, but their careers (regretfully) failed to thrive. They eventually left scientific research.

They then entered the vigorous enterprise of scholarly publishing, a field for which they had to be trained for (there aren’t that many degree programs in academic publishing…).

In many ways eminently qualified, if tangentially, with their doctoral degrees and strong sense of background knowledge, they entered the industry as (obviously?) instant experts. Anyone else, after all, would have to learn these fields all on their own.

I’ve attended a few scholarly publishing industry conferences over the past few years. Some of these could easily be confused with Society for Cell Biology conferences, given the number of biology Ph.D. degree holders attending. Don’t some or even many in the scholarly publishing industry seem over-qualified (in their subject area) and pedantic (in the way they speak) — not communicating well with those “in the trenches”?

Don’t some seem to think they know scholarly publishing only because they worked in a lab and published a couple papers? How did they get accepted so eagerly, then, into the commercial sector?

Those who work for open-access publishers also become zealous, but also earnest, open-access advocates. They aggressively support a system that might supply a hefty paycheck, their paycheck. After all, there are many more authors in the world with potentially lucrative APC grant support than there are wealthy academic libraries.

Some use The Scholarly Kitchen as a foghorn. They proclaim their expertise in the scholarly publishing enterprise, but rarely do they emphasize a previous, incomplete career in the enterprise of science.

Some may begin their lives with a dedication to science or medicine for the purpose of helping humanity. Do they really help that much in the enterprise of communication and sharing, or do they end up primarily helping themselves?

You’d have to conclude the outcome for yourself.

65 Responses to One Problem with the Scholarly Publishing Industry

  1. Robert Cameron says:

    I don’t frequent these meetings, so I cannot assess the motivations etc of those who move from academia to publishing, though I would take a less cynical view. I think a lot of the problems we have in academic research and in its publication are down to the intense competition (getting fiercer) throughout the world. There are simply too many PhDs and post-docs for the posts and resources available, and while STEM especially can pressure governments for support, the scale of the enterprise means that govts and institutions look for easy metrics to determine priorities. So there are a lot of frustrated researchers out there, and academic publishing at least makes some use of their experience. Metrics will always be gamed.
    I suspect that many of the abuses we now take note of have been around since the creation of universities, but now the enterprise is much larger and much more dependent on public funds, we get to know about it.

    • herr doktor bimler says:

      That is my impression too. Lots of PhDs trying to be scientists when there is only so much science to do; lots of arts graduates trying to be literary analysts when there is only so much literature.

      That would not be a problem, but it coincides with the shift from the old academic model — pay-to-read, with the assurance that editors are motivated to fill a gatekeeper role and filter out the crap that’s not worth reading — to the OA pay-to-publish model, where editors are motivated to publish everything.

      Naturally a whole ecology of predatory presses evolves to fill the crapademics’ need for publishable units and promotion. Of course it helps that someone else is paying the fees. Focussing on the career pathways of editorial employees seems to miss the point.

  2. Amogh Bhatnagar says:

    “They end up primarily helping themselves”…. Gregor Mendel, never recognized for his work , Till he Alive…. Because Recognizer are not enough able to understand him (MATH BIO) … That whats research … No one can understood Newton constant, or Edison … Till one try to ……..

    Reviewer are more familiar with trend of research … and that’s what they publish …. Revolutionary words were always opposed

  3. D. Rordorf says:

    A surprisingly refreshing, although cynical read in your blog. In scholarly publishing you will also find a lot of female employees. They are probably over-represented in this sector. (May be this is not so obvious from industry conferences, where likely the male-dominated manager casts meet). A reason here may be missing part-time employment opportunities and the difficulty to combine maternity with academia, given the immense competition for only few jobs in academia.

  4. quiquelps says:

    I concur, based on my interactions with journals as an author.
    In my country, we have the term “bureaucratic rejection” for rejections done before peer review, likely actually done by someone working FOR the editor. They are sent some 24 hours after submission. How can they be so sure about their decisions? Well, you provide with a good answer to this phenomenon.

    • Robert Cameron says:

      I cannot answer for all journals (obviously), but as an associate editor I appreciate that the editor-in chief (an expert in the field) weeds out the manifestly unsuitable immediately, without handing them to associates or reviewers. This is actually better for the authors who can immediately try somewhere else. Even in openly specialist journals, it is surprising what may be submitted.
      However, in larger more general journals it may be that these decisions are delegated, and are not always based on an expert knowledge. A worrying trend I have been told about by younger authors is that these rejections on sight appear to be based not on the science or its relevance to the journal, but on an ad hoc assessment of how likely it is to be cited: at best a guess.

      • CZpersi says:

        I have received a weird rejection like that which said nothing about the article itself, but explicitly stated that I should send it somewhere else “where it would attract more readers”.

      • Harvey Kane says:

        Editors have to know their market and obviously your article did not appeal to their readership.

        What is so confusing?

      • Robert Cameron says:

        For CZpersi: I concur with Harvey Kane. I admit to using a rather soft form of words to indicate that a paper is not going to attract the attention of the readership. Not that I mean the paper if of no interest to anyone, just that, with limited space and a known readership, it is not appropriate. I am sure I and others get it wrong sometimes, but the alternative free for all in which readers have to separate the (rare) wheat from the abundant chaff in all journals does not strike me as a good thing.

  5. […] Por Jeffrey Beall (este artigo foi publicado originalmente no blog do Prof. Jeffrey Beall Aqui!)  […]

  6. dzrlib says:

    I hadn’t notice this but I do notice a steady influx of former commercial publishing representatives now working for scholarly non-profit publishers. This seems to correspond to an increase in ‘hard selling’ for products that should really ‘sell themselves’ primarily on their merit.

  7. Harvey Kane says:

    One needs absolutely no knowledge of a field to be a successful publisher in it, What one needs is a sense of market and a willingness to ask questions. The publisher relies on others who have knowledge.

    Publishing houses hire folks who want to be in publishing and we avoid those seeking a safe harbor because there is none in publishing!

    I do think you are out of your realm here.

  8. Jeff, I like your blog in general, but this post is just mean-spirited, poorly thought-out, and unfair. Reasons:

    1. You present no particular evidence that editors working for publishers are making fat paychecks. I’ve heard that the guy in charge of PLOS makes a ton, but he’s a CEO, not an editor. In particular, how much do *assistant* editors make? How much variation is there? For every “Nature” there are a host of lesser journals.

    2. Your implied standard appears to be, “everyone who gets a Ph.D. and doesn’t become a professor is a failure” is just insane. There are more Ph.D.s than professor jobs. Way more. Producing more Ph.D.s is one of the jobs of a professor. Either the entirety of academia is a soulless pyramid scheme that takes smart people and mostly churns out trash for the benefit of a few smart / lucky / politically saavy products who become professors, or there are more valid life choices than getting a Ph.D. and becoming a professor. I’m sensing a lot more out-of-touch-cantakerous-irrelevant-old-professor coming from you on this point, than any actual sense. I’m pretty sure you don’t actually mean it, or wouldn’t if you actually thought about it.

    Getting a Ph.D. and using it in your job should be considered the crowning achievement of higher education, and a key part of producing a more enlightened society. Not a failure.

    3. As for editors with Ph.D.s…don’t we WANT them to have advanced training? I LIKE it when the editor has some independent ability to judge issues, because god knows, peer-reviewers aren’t always right. In advancing science that is revising traditional notions and methods, the odds are probably 50/50 that a peer-reviewer is wrong about some point, when you as the author are trying to advance some new twist on something. I guess you think an editor should just push buttons and bug late reviewers and then count the votes of the reviewers?

    4. On top of all of this, these particular issues are not unique to open access, they are also present in any of the high-profile for-profit publishers, e.g. Nature etc. If you real point is that all journals should be nonprofit society journals with volunteer assistant editors and a poor-paid half-time chief editor at some small college, that’s fine, but you should make that argument explicitly, and also present a coherent plan for how academia should be organized such that this is a feasible career option in a world where being an editor probably counts for way less than publications to the bean-counters determining tenure, advancements, etc.

    I think you should retract this post and write a revised one that actually thinks through the issues.

    • Robert Cameron says:

      I certainly don’t think Jeffrey should retract this, even though I found it a tad cynical, We should be questioning just what a PhD is for: I agree, not just for academic (tenured) jobs, but there are still far too many, mainly to boost the nominal productivity of the research group leader. You have reached 25+, with a high level qualification that counts for what, exactly?
      I did not see Jeffrey’s piece as directed only at OA publishers. I know of the pressure from employers on editors of Society-based subscription journals. The modern world, not only in academic publishing, has become a rat race. Jeffrey has at least exposed the most degrading consequences of this.

    • Bobo says:

      Nick Matzke nails it.

      I was going to write a post just like this, but I didn’t have the stomach or the energy.

    • Jim says:

      Most of the assistant editors I know are recently graduated English majors. They are not living the high life.

  9. wkdawson says:

    I really appreciate that you are recognising that this is increasingly a general problem not strictly limited to OA, and particularly predatory OA journals.

    However, I also think that having a talented editor would probably be a major asset, at least for the research community. An ability to see the significance of a work and not be swayed by smooth talk and rankings would do a lot to achieve something more like fairness in the publishing industry. This is probably measured more on the quality of the individual rather than how successful there are.

    If you have access to FEBS letters, you might have a look at some of Jeff’s views.

    http://www.febsletters.org/content/jviews

    These were written way back in 2002-4, but they are even more true now. That is the true quality of a _genuine_ editor!

  10. AnnieL says:

    I work in scientific publishing. I’m a production editor, so I’m the one making sure that paper you threw together in half a day and didn’t bother to proofread makes sense to the reader. You’re welcome.

    I have a PhD in molecular biology, so that means that besides the grammatical and spelling errors, I can also correct any scientific content which doesn’t make sense or is ambiguous. Would you rather someone without a scientific background edited your paper and stuck to the grammar and spelling?

    I am also VERY resentful of your implication that I must be a “failed” scientist. Have you seriously looked at how academia is set up? You do a PhD in one place, a few post-docs in another, you move somewhere else to set up your own lab… that’s the expectation. If you stay in one place as an early-career researcher you’re obviously not taking the whole business seriously. Okay, fine for the young and unattached, but what if you happen to already have a family, with a partner who doesn’t want to change jobs every 3 years when they have their own career to consider? Not to mention that it’s quite nice for kids to have some stability while they’re at school. So, what options are open to you if you aren’t prepared to sacrifice your family on the altar of scientific career progression? Well, you move sideways into an industry which supports science, such as publishing (it’s certainly no coincidence that 95% of my co-workers are women).

    If I remember the latest set of stats correctly, there are currently three PhD graduates for every post-doc job available. So I for one am grateful that there are jobs available in publishing, as the odds are pretty slim that I’d find a post-doc, even if I were prepared to move my family all around the globe.

    Oh, and I get paid less as an editor than I would as a post-doc, so your theory that those of us in publishing in some way “sold out” is utter ridiculous too. I’ll add that my publishing house is not-for-profit – all the money we make goes straight back into the scientific community through sponsoring conferences, researcher visits to other labs etc. Again, you’re welcome.

    • I am sorry — this dripping-with-sarcasm, guilt-trip rhetoric does not work. Very telling.

      • AnnieL says:

        Telling of what?! I was an early career researcher. Now I’m an early career publisher. You painted a poor picture of why people like me work in publishing, and so I corrected you. If you feel my tone is at odds with the message I was trying to get across, that’s unfortunate. But I wrote the truth and the truth it remains.

    • Nils says:

      AnnieL, in twenty-plus years academic career, I have never, ever thrown a paper together in half a day; and I always spent quite a lot of time proofreading, at every stage: preprint, submission, revision, final version. Writing a paper is actually quite a long and painful process for me, taking weeks even after the research has been done. I’m sorry to hear that, as you seem to imply, there are people out there who botch their articles. Among the many papers I have reviewed, low-quality ones have been rather exceptional. But perhaps this varies from field to field.

      • AnnieL says:

        Nils, you are right, my opening statement was quite unfair and most authors obviously take a great deal of time over their papers, as a fair reflection of the time it took them to do the science they are now communicating. Those papers are a pleasure to edit. But there are certainly a not-insignificant number of (usually very senior) scientists who apparently feel it’s someone else’s job (mine?) to get their paper into a state of legibility. And thus, it appears to me that these researchers are very much relying on the person copy-editing their paper being able to decipher the science.

    • Jill Miotke says:

      AnnieL,
      First, I would like to point out that I wasn’t sure where to “click reply” in order to put my comment in the stream of replies to your post, so I hope this reply makes sense.

      I agree with Nils, below. I do not know of anyone who is a good scientist who can throw a paper together in half a day. I do know that sometimes my submissions have had spelling or grammatical errors, but that is usually due to my being tired and having read the same text so many times that I have practically memorized it and no longer see the errors, and not due to laziness. In this case, these errors have almost always been caught by the peer review. I also take my job seriously when I do a review, and I correct the spelling and grammatical errors I feel qualified to correct. But once a manuscript has been accepted for publication, I am glad that a professional editor looks at it with fresh eyes, whether it is one of my own manuscripts, or one that I have reviewed.

      Having said that, however, I am actually a bit disturbed by your statement “I have a PhD in molecular biology, so that means that besides the grammatical and spelling errors, I can also correct any scientific content which doesn’t make sense or is ambiguous. Would you rather someone without a scientific background edited your paper and stuck to the grammar and spelling?” I was trained to believe that it is the job of a peer review to point out to the editor requesting the review when scientific contect doesn’t make sense or is ambiguous. Then, depending on how the reviewer feels about those problems, they recommend either to reject the paper, or accept with revisions if those problems are rectified by the AUTHORS. I would not think that a manuscript would be accepted with these problems, and then allowed to be fixed in production by someone who is not an author. I know that I would be very puzzled, or even annoyed, if I got the proofs back and found that some of the content in my manuscript had been changed. Or do I misunderstand the function of a production editor?

      • AnnieL says:

        Jill, I’ve already apologised with regards my “half a day” comment; it was born of frustration with both Jeff’s assumptions about scientists in publishing and a particularly irksome manuscript I’d been battling with that morning. As I said to Nils, most authors obviously take great time and care in preparing their papers and my comment was unfair.

        That said, of course production/copy editors are also editing for scientific clarity alongside English clarity. Otherwise there would be no point in publishers hiring people with a PhD in the first place. They could get non-scientist folk with a BA or even just a high-school diploma and a knack for English for much cheaper, I’m sure. You’re correct that evaluating the overall scientific merit of the submission and asking for major or minor revisions is the job of the Editor and the reviewers. What we production editors do is check the small scientific detail. For example, making sure genes/proteins are formatted appropriately (it’s easy enough to miss out the italics on a gene), noticing when an author refers to the western blot in figure 4B but 4B is a confocal image, making sure genes are referred to by their current nomenclature at least once, making sure the same gene name is used throughout, for both gene and protein. Or something like an error I made throughout my PhD thesis, writing ‘translation’ when I meant ‘transfection’ (don’t know what my brain was doing there). These are small errors that a) a reviewer might not notice while keeping their eye fixed on the scientific relevance of the manuscript and b) someone without a scientific background certainly wouldn’t pick up.

        Additionally, while you say that as a reviewer you would look for and correct those types of mistakes (for which I would thank you, it makes my job much easier), there are other reviewers who don’t as it’s not actually their job, and they assume (hopefully correctly) that these small errors would be picked up by the production editors and proofreaders.

        The corrections we make or the queries we raise about sentences that seem ambiguous to us are made are sent to the authors for approval or rejection before publishing; it’s not as if we unilaterally change content without consulting authors, so I really can’t why you’d be upset. Our authors always seems very happy with the edits we make.

        I am aware, though, that the level of content editing we do at our (small) publishers is higher than that offered by many other journals hosted by the larger publishers. For many of the authors who continue to publish with us, it’s this attention to detail which keeps them coming back. If others don’t like it, well, there are other publishers they can choose. There are a range of publishers out there to match the preferences of most authors.

  11. Robert Cameron says:

    Jeffrey:
    I must admit I am a bit concerned that several people have taken offence. I know you qualified the questions that arose in your mind, but we do need subject expertise among editors and associate editors. And it is a respectable, necessary job. Of course, we need executive editors and other people who can manage the production and marketing sides. Nowadays, not all PhDs expect or want to become tenured faculty. Even way back, of my three (only) students, one went into a research council as an administrator, one became an ecological consultant, and the third became an IT advisor for students. I don’t regard any of these as “failures” and they sure as hell don’t think of their careers as second best.
    I took your post as raising some questions; I did not take it as a blanket assault on all PhDs who worked in publishing. But it does seem that you need to be more nuanced/qualified here. I appreciate that you cannot give individual cases to back up, but it would be reassuring to know that your suspicions were based on more than gut feeling

    • Thanks, Robert, and I was only talking about the scholarly publishing industry, where I personally have observed that many of them didn’t make it in labs or academia and went as career refugees to the industry. So, I wasn’t talking at all about people who became ecological consultants and the like. One doesn’t need a molecular biology degree or some such to be “Head of Publisher Outreach,” for example.

  12. Robert Cameron says:

    OK, but since there are way more PhDs and post docs than tenured faculty positions, there is bound to be an exodus, and the folk have to earn their living. Some will end up in academic publishing. And from my observation it is not only in academic publishing that you find careerist ex-scientists. My take is that the culture around employment generally is toxic right now, and the hard-nosed go where the money/power/prestige is. You have exposed lots of sharp practice in Academic publishing. I doubt that it is confined or even specially prevalent among those with PhDs.

  13. Greg says:

    Is it true, that very few Eastern Europe [Russia, Ukraine] journals and publishers is in your lists?

    To add one, look: http://www.jami.org.ua/ [Publisher: Publisher: Odessa Broker House Ltd]

  14. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva says:

    I think this is an interesting and valuable set of reflections by Jeffrey Beall. Sometimes experience and observation can be superior to evidence-based data, and Beall proves this with his acute sense of observation. In essence, the absorption of some academic drop-outs into the scholarly publishing industry actually makes sense, because some scientists will feel that this is probably the closest that they will ever get to a laboratory after dropping out of the rat race. With more graduating scientists and all too few posts, this trend would not be surprising to me.

    However, and here it would be worthwhile having industry insiders who have dropped out of the industry due to disillusionment, to provide some insight into these queries I have:

    a) what financial and/or other incentives are there for such individuals to abandon the lab and aim for a desk job? What carrot has been dangled before them?

    b) I would like to know the ethical and privacy-related parameters associated with such individuals and the contracts they sign. Have they sold out science?

    c) If such PhD drop-outs did not join this industry, then who would be more suitably qualified, a non-scientist?

    • Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva says:

      My apologies, I forgot to add a bit of a disclaimer. I have a personal interest in this post by Beall for the following reason. I have had a nasty experience with one such “recent drop-out graduate” who works for Elsevier. I am referring to Dr. Emma Granqvist:
      https://www.elsevier.com/authors-update/story/innovation-in-publishing/why-science-needs-to-publish-negative-results

      She is formally described by Elsevier as:
      “Emma Granqvist is a Publisher for plant sciences with Elsevier, and is based in Amsterdam. Originally from Stockholm, Sweden, Emma started her studies in biology at Lund University. Her main focus was molecular plant science, and she subsequently moved to the United Kingdom and studied at UEA (University of East Anglia) in Norwich. After finishing her PhD at the UK’s John Innes Centre, an independent research institute that focuses on plant and microbial sciences, Emma moved on to scientific publishing at Elsevier.”

      A bit more background. In late 2013, I had discovered “irregularities” in the publishing activities of one of the Editors-in-Chief of the world’s No. 1 horticultural journal, Scientia Horticulturae, published by Elsevier. The EIC in question is no other than the honorable President of the Canadian Society for Horticultural Science, Dr. Samir Chandra Debnath of Agri-Food and Agriculture Canada:
      http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/science-and-innovation/research-centres/atlantic-provinces/st-johns-research-and-development-centre/scientific-staff-and-expertise/debnath-samir-phd-pag/?id=1181935271571

      Several of the “issues” related to his publications are now, fortunately, archived at PubPeer:
      https://pubpeer.com/search?q=debnath
      (ignore the first entry not related to him)

      I formally, and politely, requested the journal to investigate. I also requested Elsevier to investigate. Included in those contacts was Emma Granqvist, who is officially listed as “a Publisher for plant sciences with Elsevier”. I also requested the Canadian authorities to investigate. Rather than investigate serious claims, I was banned from this journal:
      http://retractionwatch.com/2014/04/10/following-personal-attacks-and-threats-elsevier-plant-journal-makes-author-persona-non-grata/
      (I have explained my qualms with Dr. Granqvist in more detail at Retraction Watch)

      Shocked and angered by this decision, I also contacted her former Professor, Gilles Oldroyd, at John Inne’s Institute:
      https://www.jic.ac.uk/staff/giles-oldroyd/

      My concerns were how it was possible for a recent PhD graduate to be an expert in publishing ethics, and to be part of a team handing me down a ban for questioning the ethics of an Elsevier journal EIC. My question remains unanswered, I remain banned based on what I perceive to have been a silencing campaign to not reveal the possible academic fraud on the editor board of this journal. And all the while, while I sit penniless and jobless, with decades of experience, Dr. Granqvist, a so-called “professional in plant sciences” with about a handful of published papers to her name, sits on a committee of the world’s most powerful publisher handing out ethical notices.

      If Dr. Granqvist was such a motivated and talented plant scientist, then why did she leave the Oldroyd laboratory? Is there a deeper reason behind her leaving that Prof. Oldroy does not wish to disclose? It certainly cannot be funding because the Oldroyd laboratory has excellent and generous funding. What would make a position in Elsevier make a scientist feel more rewarded than working in a laboratory?

      I find this to be not only fundamentally wrong, I find that this provides a clear-cut example of what perhaps Jeffrey Beall is referring to. I have questioned the qualifications of some similar individuals who suddenly rise to power and who are given fancy titles but that are not congruent with their experience. And each and every time, my queries are ignored, or shot down. In this instance, I have to share my concerns with Jeffrey Beall, based on my personal, very negative experience from which I am still suffering terribly, physically and psychologically.

      As for Dr. Debnath, I have at the end of 2015 called on a formal investigation by the Canadian authorities, including a direct email to the Minister of Agriculture, the Honorable Lawrence MacAulay:
      http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/about-us/minister/?id=1369864009036

      If Jeffrey publishes my comment here at scholarlyoa, I will definitely provide an update on this case. I think that it could provide some valuable insight into this topic.

      In essence, my own personal experience can indicate that there may in fact be wide-reaching and quite massive consequences of hiring a person who might not be that qualified for the job. Or maybe that’s precisely the qualification that Elsevier wants?

      Finally, I should add that I hope that not all such publishing “managers” are of the same caliber, or with the same pseudo-qualifications, so please “AnnieL” above, do not take my critique personally, because it is not directed at individuals like you, who take their tasks ethically, and responsibly.

      • AnnieL says:

        No personal offence taken, Jaime. But you’re hardly the first person to question the publishing practices of some of the journals run by Elsevier (such as the recent walk-out by the entire editorial board of Lingua). Surely the issues you describe are more a reflection of questionable management practices by this particular publisher rather than anything directly caused by academics migrating into publishing?

      • Laura says:

        Why do you so quickly assume that a recent PhD graduate CAN’T be an expert in publishing ethics? If she works for a major publisher, having knowledge in ethics is part of her job. She’s also following the orders of her supervisor(s).

        Moreover, talent and motivation are not enough to get a job these days, as we all know. Why Dr. Granqvist left the lab is nobody’s concern but hers. There are hundreds of possible reasons, most of which have nothing to do with her skills. You clearly never considered that some people find working outside a lab more rewarding — this does not make them lesser human beings unworthy of professional respect.

        That last point is what makes this whole thread of comments and the original post so troubling. They all insinuate (some less subtly than others) that lab scientists are a higher class of people, while those PhDs who choose to work elsewhere are failures.

  15. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva says:

    AnnieL, please note that I was not claiming to be the first person to ever question the ethics of Elsevier. Elseviers ethics have always been in question – more precisely Reed-Elsevier – ever since its involvement in the weapon’s industry a decade ago. I was simply bringing forward a real case study that shows how the underqualified nature of a science drop-out in leading a crusade to get me banned, despite not being a seasoned plant scientist, or an ethics expert, had a very real and negative consequence. I was simply bringing forward a single case study since I did not see anyone else present a case yet. The purpose was not to question the ethics of Elsevier. Its clear lack of ethics is not in dispute any longer. What does make me curious is why scientists are not willing to call Elsevier “predatory”. Why is everyone so fearful? Or perhaps by banning a scientist like me seeds fear…

  16. MC says:

    “Don’t some seem to think they know scholarly publishing only because they worked in a lab and published a couple papers? How did they get accepted so eagerly, then, into the commercial sector?”

    Jeff — They didn’t get so eagerly accepted; they eagerly accepted what they could get it.

    This is true of all the other atypical or even unusual jobs that PhDs have these days. It’s no secret that the vast majority of PhDs and soon-to-be PhDs are not getting the job they thought they would when they started their degree 4-6 years ago. Just sample a random set of labs in science and engineering at any big name schools in the US and Canada, and you’ll quickly find out how few students are getting (or got) the job they wanted (or thought they would be guaranteed to get if they just got a PhD). And I’m not suggesting everyone is competing for tenure-track at a brand name university and about to give the old “there are too few professor jobs and too many PhDs” argument and that fewer people should do PhDs. Many, many students cannot get a job in industry, doing consulting, at a start up, writing copy for a law firm, doing small school teaching, etc, as they had intended and even assumed they would, and now there are more post-docs than ever as a result. I know, first-hand, that the fact is that newly minted PhDs will eagerly take ANY job that they can (as long as it is at least at or near ‘their level’) to avoid becoming a failure. It’s not a failure, in my opinion, to go into the field of your choosing–by choice–but I think it would be hard for many post-docs and perhaps also apparently those in the low rungs of academic publishing to argue that they have not taken whatever they could to get their career started. This, in turn, is maybe not so much a personal failure as it is a combination of both a personal and a systemic failure (too many PhDs not enough jobs, no one telling people at the outset of their PhD how it really is going to be when looking for a job at the end, very little support during the PhD process from universities to give students other, non-science skills that would make them employable, etc..)
    And, as a final note, the job market is brutal, and getting your ‘first job’ at the ‘right level’ is for many new PhDs the only way to start their career. So, I can see why (and have seen first hand) that many students take a job well outside their desired career to just get started and avoid becoming a postdoc or moving back in with their parents.

  17. Vijay Raghavan says:

    Jaime, thank you for boldly stating:
    “Its clear lack of ethics is not in dispute any longer. What does make me curious is why scientists are not willing to call Elsevier “predatory”. Why is everyone so fearful?”

    I am retired from academics and practically out of publishing, therefore being banned matters little to me. I am glad that you cast the first stone and I hope that many more would join you. Elsevier does run some execrable journals that are no better than certain journals of abject quality that come out of, for example, China with American pseudo-addresses. Elsevier has now become the dinosaur of publishing, with profit as the only motive even as it spouts self-righteous homilies on its contributions to science. But I wonder how many crusaders, like the Jeffreys and Jaimes of the world, it will take to bring some order to scientific publishing.

    • Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva says:

      Vijay, thank you for these comments, and I also thank Jeffrey for allowing these comments to be made, because this issue is an important part of the publishing machine we are all part of. In fact, as authors, we are nothing. We are just disposables, and commodities whose intellect is sold and traded among the highest bidders. At the end of the day, it’s all about profit, and for the larger corporations like Elsevier, it’s about satisfying stock-holders. However, I think we need to take some positive aspects of Elsevier, Springer Nature, Taylor & Francis and Wiley into consideration: they remain the safest depositories of scientific information, partly because of their massive profit margin, so they are able to invest in a safe infrastructure for information. I suspect that this may the reason why no journals from any of these publishers have yet been listed on Beall’s lists.

      So, even though we may find bad science, bad editorial work and sloppy editors, and plenty of plagiarism in the literature of at least two of these four publishers, the fact that they are actively doing something about it (see the spike in retractions and errata over the past 2-3 years) indicates that they are “responsibly predatory”, unlike the many of the journals and/or publishers on Beall’s lists that are “irresponsibly predatory”. In other words, even though both “sets” or “categories” are, as I see it, “predatory” (in the sense that they simply want to extract our money and our institutes’ money), what differentiates them is the organizational structure that makes one “safe” and the other “unsafe”.

      That is why, I believe, it is also difficult to include Hindawi, MDPI or Frontiers as predatory OA journals/publishers, because the organizational structure they provide has now begun to offer a level of “safety” that cannot be compared with more “suspect” OA journals. Again, by “safety” I am referring to the repository of intellect, indexing, etc. Again, I suspect that Beall, being a librarian, is most interested in this “safety” aspect and how the journals and publishers on his lists fail to provide that “safety”.

      People often ask me, if you hate Elsevier so much, then why do you wish to continue publishing in their journals? And the reason lies in this “safety” aspect, where we have to imagine our intellect, our aspirations and our legends in 50 or 100 years from now. We have to ask ourselves, if we spend an X amount of time on research, a Y amount of time on writing a paper and a Z amount of energy trying to get it published, ultimately, where do you want that investment (XYZ) to be published? In most cases, I still believe that scientists wish their intellect to be deposited in one of these four main scholarly repositories. This may be as a result of decades of brain-washing, or from decades of not having any other “safe” choices. Call me traditional, or call me stupid, I still believe that Elsevier is most likely the safest depository of scientific information.

      The question is, those who wish for the downfall of Elsevier, think carefully about the future of intellectual information: what happens to the 12 million+ articles if Elsevier takes a nose-dive? This would be a disastrous situation for science. The same applies to the other three behemoths I list above. And that is why these corporations are so powerful: because they know the power of holding the copyright to this intellectual goldmine holds scientists and institutes in check. Holding the right to knowledge represents great, great power, and always has throughout history.

      So, another question emerges, why do I fight Elsevier so hard? Why am I calling for the resignation of the Editor-in-Chief of Elsevier’s Scientia Horticulturae? And this is where things get prickly. I do not believe that banning scientists for being critical of the establishment is going to resolve their problems. If anything, it will anger the base and spread bitterness. It will lead scientists to move away from Elsevier towards alternative publishers like PLOS, f1000Research, BioArxiv, or this whole OA industry that has gone nuts. What I believe Elsevier needs to do is to listen to the voices of discontent and enact reform where it is necessary. So, if the EIC of its No. 1 horticultural journal has been caught self-plagiarizing ad manipulating figures, then how is it possible to maintain such an individual as the academic leader of a so-called scholarly journal? How can scientists believe that the publisher’s motivations are truly academic or scholarly if the leaders have a tainted publishing record? And that is why I think, right now, Elsevier is borderline predatory in terms of “safety”, because it continues to ensure a powerful repository of data and information, which science needs, but it is getting sloppy in terms of dealing with scandals, bad literature and cronyism in the editorial rank and file. Again, this is based on my own personal experience and I have no idea how wide this problem may be. At least for Scientia Horticulturae, my severe criticisms saw the disappearance of about 20 editors, without any public explanation, or accountability. When this happened with the Archives of Biological Sciences, it made headlines, but when it happened with Elsevier’s journal, the community stayed silent. So, there is some level of hypocrisy in the air, no doubt.

      And to end my long comment, there is one worse, much worse elephant in the room than Elsevier. It is Springer. In recent times, I have detected case upon case of partially duplicated data, figures, manipulation, and self-plagiarism that has made my stomache turn. The worst part is that these errors are NOT being corrected, despite formal complaints. And this is extremely worrisome. In my opinion, Springer Nature (the Springer side of the new venture) is extremely dangerous in that the structure in place to deal with errors and fraud is very, very bad, very, very fragile and very, very inconsistent. If I could, I would nominate Springer as a predatory publisher, long before Elsevier. As I see it, Springer is trying to squeeze as much juice out of the lemon as possible before the truth about the real content of its literature starts to emerge.

      What angers me, to be very honest, is the ethical farce of their business operations, claiming to be COPE members, but then not conforming to COPE guidelines. And COPE does nothing. That to me makes them predatory and worthy of mention on the Beall blog.

      • Harvey Kane says:

        It seems to me that the sour grapes you spew would be absent if you were only published in the journal of which you scorn!

    • Harvey Kane says:

      The definition of a critic is one who criticizes. One does not have to know anything about what one criticizes but one does need a sense of outrage. The outrage can be justified or not it just has to be there.

      To think the qualifications of the above critics amounts to: they have read a paper, authored one or not, gone to the library or sat in front of their computer. But, not one has been an editor in chief, an employee of a publishing house, an acquiring or sponsoring editor or a publisher. They may have or not known one of the aforementioned but never have been one. They are observers, not doers but observers and things always seem to be clearer to observers. As my old jump master used to say: You ain’t a paratrooper until you jump out of the plane!

      • Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva says:

        I Googled Harvey Kane and publishing, and found one profile at CRC Press, of Taylor & Francis?
        http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Harvey-Kane/558742093

        If so, then let’s begin to have a frank public conversation about something both you and I know, but from different angles: Taylor & Francis.

      • harvey kane says:

        Interesting I never googled you. Even more interesting is that I never worked for T&F!

        I was VP Publishing American Pharmaceutical Asso., Director Books ACS, Publisher life sciences CRC Press, an editor at Humana Press and at Springer and held various positions at Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc. Started in 1970 and retired 2010.

        I always viewed those who perceived they were slighted and then carried their peeve to the public forum as being small.

        I avoid those kinds of people.

        Also, I avoid those who degrade how people make a living so long as what they do is legal and contributes to the overall good of society. Thus, scientists who chose to partake in the publishing process after being asked generally do so because they like being part of the communication process. The money is for the most part rather small considering the work asked.

        Thus, I view this discussion reprehensible.

        Elsevier was always good competition and never did anything unethical in their ways that I encountered. You may not agree with their pricing strategy and if so don’t buy their products. The choice is yours! An editor may not choose to publish your article, if so, you have a number of choices among them are to go to another or never send them another one!

        If you have complaints about other publishers and they fall upon deaf ears don’t use them. You have said your peace and you were ignored – such is life.

        If a publisher(s) does not meet your high standards,I urge you to start a publishing house and establish standards that others will emulate.

        Publishers select editor’s in chief under the advice of others in the field. Editors in Chief select editorial boards under the advice of their colleagues in the field.

        Manuscript is selected to a large degree by those in the field after the EIC sends it off to members of the board who have expertise.

        MS is copy edited and changes are sent to corresponding editors who approve the MS.

        Now if you have a better system do let me know.

      • Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva says:

        Harvey Kane, it is more than evident that as an industry insider, you would hold these views. I am not doubting that you may have done an excellent job, what I am claiming is that a business is sick, extremely sick, when it makes profit off imperfections and fraud. As I say, and I am pretty confident about this, Springer is making profit off errors, duplicate tables, duplicate data, duplicate figures, self-plagiarism and plagiarism. I know this because I see it almost daily with my own eyes. I know this because I report this from my own keyboard. Just last week, I send a complaint, the third, to a Springer journal, because two manuscripts I had submitted in late 2015 have still not been acknowledged, since no manuscript numbers have been assigned. When I initially contacted the official “publisher” that is listed on all Springer journal web-pages, she said that this was not her problem and that I should take up the issue with the EIC. So how does an author take up an issue with the EIC if the EIC does not respond to emails? This Springer “publisher” then indicated that she would be personally responsible for making the problem right and for getting a response. Well, one month later, here I am debating with Harvey Kane, a former Springer insider, that Springer is not, according to him, a problem.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that there must be many good editors and managers or publishers, but if Springer is claiming to follow COPE editorial and publishing practices, but at the grass-roots level we are experiencing this abysmal level of incompetence and lack of professionalism, then what value does COPE have? That is why “small” people like me speak out, because managers like you hide in your fancy offices where the life is good, and avoid coming into the public arena to address your critics.

        I am quite happy to spar with you because I have rock-solid proof of the corrupted Springer literature, which, incidentally, is being sold for profit. Nothing could be less unethical – or predatory – than that. You may come publicly bearing your long list of positions in industry (Publishing American Pharmaceutical Assoc., Director Books ACS, Publisher life sciences CRC Press, Humana Press, Springer, Macmillan Publishing Company, Inc.), but what is the value of this list face editorial incompetence, mismanagement and a corrupted literature being sold for profit?

      • Harvey Kane says:

        First, I would suggest you no longer deal with Springer.

        Second there is nothing wrong with making a profit. If there were you would not be paid!

        Third, fight your way up the Springer chain of command. Look at their corporate page and go to the top and state your complaint.

        Forth, stop tilting at windmills. The woe is me routine seems to be getting you nowhere.

        Fifth, write a note to each editorial board member and see if one of them can help.

        Lastly, pointing out errors may be self satisfying but understand that very few people if any purposefully make errors. But, understand errors occur.

        I suggest you read the warranties and indemnity clause included in all publishing contracts. You may find your claims of malfeasance misdirected.

  18. Greg says:

    Today I would like to ask your opinion about International Journal of Science and Engineering Investigations: http://www.ijsei.com/

  19. Peter A says:

    Dear Jeff

    Will you include also in your list a publisher that offers free only the Abstract while the full PDF is available only if you pay them 60 USD? They are not Open Access. However, I wonder if they have serious peer review.
    I am waiting your answe

    Peter A

    • MC says:

      Not sure what you mean. There are many reputable and top notch publishers that provide the abstract or “the first page” (for older articles w/o abstract) free, but you must subscribe to view the entire article. This is not open access, obviously.

    • Borhan says:

      Dear Dr. Beal,
      I need to known if http://www.21caf.org/march-17-18-2014-conference-at-harvard.html is a predatory conference.
      Thanks for your kindly support.

      • Somebody’s making a lot of easy money by renting a conference hall at Harvard Medical School and then using the Harvard name to make it appear the conference is sponsored by the university. I recommend not wasting your money on this. Boston is extremely expensive (hotels, food). Find an authentic and specialized conference that matches your field. This has the characteristics of a “scamference.”

  20. wkdawson says:

    I don’t sense that Beall had any ill intention behind the initial thread. The problem is that academia has changed drastically over the last 30 years.

    If you had started out some 30/40 years ago, ending up unemployed or taking some grunt job probably did tend to suggest some “issues” with the individual. Now it is more likely to be yet another indication that the system has failed. Many of these problems have probably always been there, but they have escalated to deafening tenor.

    Beall hedged his point. Though he ventured onto a land mine, I appreciate that he is beginning to recognize that this is a much bigger issue than the mere the skulduggery of a few flimflam predatory OA operators. The “weeds” growing in Academic publishing have roots that go deep into the ground: similar to the Japanese knotweed ( http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/japanese-knotweed-everything-you-ever-4328310 — what you see in the video is no really joke!). I cannot imagine that someone would actually bring something like that from Asia. I didn’t know it actually had any natural enemies even _in_ Japan. Going after the predatory journals is like pulling from the topsoil.

  21. Robert Cameron says:

    I’m with wkdawson here. But I think that this discussion has taken an unhealthy turn, perhaps because it has tended to home in on individual cases that may or may not have merit (how can we possibly tell?). We can, and Jeffrey does, expose bogus publishers and journals, and look at systemic failings. I think that individual cases, especially when assessing individual, personal, motivations are dodgy. There should be other ways of dealing with bad behaviour at the individual level than using a general, hedged worry raised by Jeffrey here. But I realise that it is often hard to get a hearing for your perceived grievance.

  22. I am already waiting 201 days on correspondence from PLOS employee Iratxe Puebla with publisher Taylor & Francis about a faulty paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler. This paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warber, and a 2015-comment, is loaded with fabricated data and it must therefore be retracted, ASAP, and fully in line with the guidelines of COPE. See https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7 and https://pubpeer.com/publications/7DA806A8062EF9474F1A53717B9D1D#fb36200 for the backgrounds.
    .
    Iratxe Puebla, the Managing Editor of PLOS ONE, does not open e-mails from my side about this issue. This is also the case for all of her allies. I am therefore forced to contact publisher PLOS.
    .
    I have contacted PLOS already numerous times about this issue. I received loads and loads of auto-replies. PLOS has not rebutted my statement that Iratxe Puebla has no valid motives that she is unable to communicate with me about the faulty paper.
    .
    It is thus intentional behaviour of Iratxe Puebla that she does not want to communicate with me about the faulty paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler. This is of course very worrisome for publisher PLOS.
    .
    Anyone any idea what to do now? Do I need to continue with sending daily reminders to PLOS?

  23. Dear Harvey Kane, you are totally right.

    PLOS employee Iratxe Puebla is consulting for COPE, and already for quite a long time. See http://publicationethics.org/cope-staff
    .
    PLOS employee Iratxe Puebla is in charge to handle complaints filed at COPE. PLOS employee Iratxe Puebla has sent me an e-mail on 26 July 2015. See https://pubpeer.com/publications/7DA806A8062EF9474F1A53717B9D1D#fb36200 and https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7 for the backgrounds.
    .
    Feel free to contact Iratxe Puebla and/or one of her allies and please ask them to join the debate at Pubpeer, or over here.

  24. Jeffrey Beall wrote in a blog post dated 14 January 2016 ( https://scholarlyoa.com/2016/01/14/another-controversial-paper-from-fronters/ ):
    .
    “COPE, the Committee on Publication Ethics, is experiencing problems that are affecting its credibility. Some believe that it has succumbed to cronyism, and as evidence of this they point to the election of Frontiers employee Mirjam J. Curno to COPE’s eleven-member Trustee Board. I guess if you own a major pay-to-publish operation known for regularly accepting payments to publish highly-questionable scholarly articles, having one of your employees on COPE’s Trustee Board could be quite convenient.
    .
    The COPE board’s chair, Virginia Barbour, has regrettably politicized COPE by writing strident essays favoring open-access and attacking Elsevier. She uses military metaphors (“The battle for open access is far from over”) to fan the flames. I think it’s inappropriate for a publishing ethics board chair to publicly favor one publishing model over another, to singularly attack one publisher that uses her unfavored model, and to politicize a so-called ethics organization. Moreover, like many open-access zealots, Barbour underhandedly fails to acknowledge today’s most significant source of ethical failures in scholarly publishing — and the biggest threat to science — predatory publishers and journals. Increasingly, those who draw large salaries from open-access publishing are the most fervent proponents of it. Their ideology supports their paychecks, or the other way around.”
    .
    .
    I am hereby disclosing copies of some of the e-mails which I have exchanged with Griffith University about issues of Dr. Virginia Barbour. This e-mail correspondence started on 11 October 2015 and it was finished on 15 March 2016. Dr. Virgina Barbour is listed as Academic Titleholder at the School of Medecine of Griffith University ( https://www.griffith.edu.au/health/school-medicine/staff/academic-title-holders ). “School of Medicine, Griffith University” is also listed as the single affiliation of Dr. Virginia Barbour in Barbour et al. 2016 ( http://trialsjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13063-015-1107-1 [received 6 July 2015, published 21 January 2016]).
    .
    I also disclose that I was heavily turned down by Dr. Virginia Barbour et al. in the summer of 2015 when I told Dr. Virginia Barbour et al. that I was expecting that all of them are always working according the VSNU guidelines (see
    http://www.rug.nl/about-us/organization/rules-and-regulations/algemeen/gedragscodes-nederlandse-universiteiten/code-wetenschapsbeoefening-14-en.pdf and http://www.rug.nl/about-us/organization/rules-and-regulations/algemeen/gedragscodes-nederlandse-universiteiten/wetenschappelijke-integriteit-12-en.pdf ). There are many similarities between the VSNU guidelines and the scientific integrity policy of the Sainsbury Laboratory ( http://www.tsl.ac.uk/about-tsl/scientific-integrity/ , see also Kamoun & Zipfel, 2016, “Scientific record: Class uncorrected errors as misconduct”, http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7593/full/531173e.html ).
    .
    .
    1. “From: Klaas van Dijk; Date: 2015-10-11 9:47 GMT+02:00; Subject: Academic Title Holder Dr Barbour is deliberately refusing to work together with me to get retracted a paper which is loaded with fabricated data To: Simon Broadley; Cc: David Ellwood

    Dear Professor Broadley,

    I am hereby reporting to you that Academic Title Holder Dr. Virginia Barbour is deliberately refusing to work together with me to get retracted a paper which is loaded with fabricated data. I fail to understand how this behaviour of Dr. Barbour is in line with the “Griffith University Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research” (TRIM document 2013/0014781).

    I am hereby reporting to you that I am unable to find a COI statement of Dr Barbour on the website of Griffith University. I fail to understand how this is in line with the “Griffith University School of Medicine Conflict of Interest and Sponsorship Guidelines”, in particular because I am being informed that Dr. Barbour has a wide range of (side-)activities.

    Please send me a response in which is stated that you have recieved this e-mail in good order.

    Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk / Groningen / The Netherlands”
    .
    .
    2. “From: Simon Broadley; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Sunday, October 11, 2015 9:46 AM; Subject: Out Of Office – Business Re: Academic Title Holder Dr Barbour is deliberately refusing to work together with me to get retracted a paper which is loaded with fabricated data.

    Dear Colleagues. I am currently away as Head of School on Business and will return to the office on Monday 12th October 2015. During this period, the Acting Head of School will be Professor Gary Rogers. During this time, all urgent School matters should be forwarded to Professor Gary Rogers. If you are requiring: an appointment with myself or the A/Head of School or assistance with Head of School matters, please contact my PA Teresa Russo. For any Administration matters please contact Julie Saville or Tina Koutsellis. Regards, Simon Broadley”
    .
    .
    3. “From: Klaas van Dijk; To: Rick Williams; Cc Andrea Bishop, Richard Porter; Sent: Monday, February 22, 2016 11:24 AM Subject: Please forward to me scientific points of view of Academic Titleholder Virginia Barbour on various queries about a faulty paper which is loaded with fabricated data

    Dear Mr. Williams, Thanks alot for your kind and friendly response of last Friday.

    (1): can you please forward to me, and as well to Richard Porter (in cc), and ASAP, the scientific point of view of Dr. Barbour (cf section 6 of part A of https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/r39.pdf ) about the statement of Richard Porter (‘the following paper was not based upon any validated scientific facts’, see attachment) on a faulty paper about the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler (see https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7 for backgrounds).

    (2): can you please forward to me, and as well to Richard Porter (in cc), and ASAP, the scientific point of view of Dr. Barbour (cf section 6 of part A of https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/r39.pdf ) about the statement of Dr. Çağan Şekercioğlu, a member of the Editorial Board of the journal in question (“From: Çağan Şekercioğlu To: Klaas van Dijk Sent: Saturday, October 17, 2015 5:34 PM, I agree with you that this paper must be retracted, and I implore Max Kasparek to do so.”). See https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7#fb42415 for the context.

    (3): can you please forward to me, and as well to Richard Porter (in cc), and ASAP, the scientific point of view of Dr. Barbour (cf section 6 of part A of https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/r39.pdf ) about the statement of emeritus professor Dumont (Gent University), another member of the Editorial Board of ZME. (“From: Henri Dumont To: Klaas van Dijk Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2015 10:52 AM Hoewel ik geen ornitholoog maar limnoloog ben voel ik aan dat er inderdaad iets niet klopt met de door U bekritizeerde paper. (…) en dat brengt mij tot de volgende vraag: wat bedoelt U met de ruwe gegevens die U wil zien? Ik vrees nl dat die niet bestaan.”). See https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7#fb42415 for the context.

    Thanks in advance for forwarding me the scientific responses of Dr. Barbour on these three queries. Please don’t hesitate to contact me when there are errors and/or mistakes in texts from my side.

    Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk / Groningen / The Netherlands”
    .
    .
    4. “From: Andrea Bishop; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Wednesday, February 24, 2016 11:20 PM; Subject: Re: Please forward to me scientific points of view of Academic Titleholder Virginia Barbour on various queries about a faulty paper which is loaded with fabricated data

    Dear Mr van Dijk, I refer you to the earlier correspondence from Griffith University on this matter, dated 19 February 2016. The correspondence provides the basis for our stated determination that no further action will be taken in regard to your request to remove Adjunct Prof Virginia Barbour as an academic title holder at Griffith University.

    Kind regards, Andrea, Professor Andrea Bishop, Director, Office for Research, Griffith University, Room 0.12, Bray Centre (N54), Nathan campus, 170 Kessels Road, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia”
    .
    .
    5. “From: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Saturday, March 12, 2016 10:05 AM; Subject: The Head of School of Medicine professor David Ellwood must man up and must immediately remove Academic Titleholder Dr. Virginia Barbour from Griffith University

    Dear all, There is until now no response from Mr. Williams on my e-mail of last Monday to Griffith University about ongoing issues of Dr. Virgina Barbour (see below). There is as well no response from anyone else from Griffith University. This implies for example that there are no errors and/or mistakes in texts from my side (see below).

    Dr. Virginia Barbour is still listed as Academic Titleholder at https://www.griffith.edu.au/health/school-medicine/staff/academic-title-holders (despite several requests from my side to remove her from this list).

    I recall that I have reported for the first time on 11 October 2015 to Griffith University my concerns about the behaviour of Dr. Virginia Barbour (see below). This e-mail was received in good order by Griffith University (see below). We are right now 12 March 2016. No one has rebutted that Dr. Virginia Barbour is currently deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct.

    I have therefore concluded that professor David Ellwood, Head of the School of Medicine of Griffith University, fully agrees with my statement that Dr. Virginia Barbour, listed as Academic Titleholder at the School of Medicine of Griffith University, is currently deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct.

    I have also concluded that the non-response from the side of Griffith University on my e-mail of last Monday, and the non-response from the side of Griffith University on other e-mails from my side about these issues of Dr. Virginia Barbour, is caused by an order of Dr. Virginia Barbour that it is not allowed for anyone at Griffith University to communicate anymore with Klaas van Dijk.

    Such a behaviour is of course totally unacceptable for anyone at Griffith University. Such a behaviour is even disasterous for the reputation of a scientist (Bourne & Barbour 2011, http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002108 ).

    I therefore pledge professor David Ellwood to man up, to show leadership, to ignore the requests (etc.) of Dr. Virginia Barbour, and/or the requests of allies of Dr. Virginia Barbour (this includes requests etc. from Dr. Andrew Barbour, the husband of Dr. Virginia Barbour), and to remove immediately Dr. Virginia Barbour from Griffith University, together with a press release with the motives why Dr. Virginia Barbour has been removed from Griffith University.

    Removing immediately Dr. Virginia Barbour from Griffith University, together with a press release with the motives, is the best option to ensure to the rest of the world that Griffith University has indeed 0 tolerance towards people who are covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct. See also http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v531/n7593/full/531173e.html

    Thanks in advance for your efforts and thanks in advance for a response. Don’t hesitate to contact me when there are errors / mistakes in texts from my side.

    Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk / Groningen / The Netherlands

    DISCLAIMER: I am hereby declaring that that this e-mail was prepared in good faith, that this is also the case for all other e-mails and/or texts from my side about the faulty paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler, a paper which is loaded with fabricated data. I am hereby declaring that all of these e-mails / texts from my side, to Griffith University and to all other parties, are 100% honest e-mails / texts. Anyone who is claiming that I am dishonest, and/or that my behaviour is partial, and/or vexatious and/or that my statements about the paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warber are untrue / false (etc.), will first need to provide me access to the full list of requested raw research data (see https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7#fb31538 for the full list), and will need to accept that I, Richard Porter, and all co-workers of Richard Porter are able to scrutinize this entire set of raw research data.”
    .
    .
    6. “From: David Ellwood; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2016 4:06 AM; Subject: Your email correspondence with the School of Medicine

    Dear Professor van Dijk,

    Thank you for your recent email dated March 12th, and the copies of emails to various other members of the staff of Griffith University which I have received over the last few months.

    As you are aware. Virginia Barbour is an academic title-holder at this university, which is an honorary title. Her various roles in medical publishing have no particular relevance to this position, and the School of Medicine has no connection with any of the activities which are of concern to you. We have no intention to respond to your calls to remove her from our list of academic title-holders.

    I must inform you that I consider the frequent emails about this matter, and the content of the most recent one which was copied to multiple others within the school, to be a form of harassment and request that you desist from this immediately. I do not wish to receive any further emails from you about this matter, nor do I want you to correspond with any members of the staff of the School of Medicine,

    Your Sincerely, David Ellwood

    David A Ellwood, MA, DPhil (Oxon), MB, BChir (Cantab), FRANZCOG (CMFM), DDU, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Acting Head of School & Deputy Head of School (Research), Academic Lead for Equity, Selections & Diversity, School of Medicine, Level 8.38, Griffith Health Centre (G40), Gold Coast Campus, Griffith University QLD 4222, AUSTRALIA”

  25. Dr. Virginia Barbour also holds positions at QUT, the Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia https://www.qut.edu.au/
    http://staff.qut.edu.au/details?id=barbourg reveals that Dr. Barbour is a professor at the ‘Division of Research and Commercialisation, Office of Research Ethics & Integrity’ and that she holds a visitor’s position at the ‘Technology, Information and Learning Support, DVC Office (TILS).’
    Dr. Barbour is listed as Advisor of the Director of the Office of Research Ethics and Integrity at QUT, see http://www.orei.qut.edu.au/about/contacts/

    QUT has a bunch of Research Integrity Advisors (RIA’s). “When should I speak to a Research Integrity Advisor? If you have a concern about the conduct of research at QUT or research being conducted in collaboration with QUT, you should speak to a Research Integrity Advisor. The context of your concern is important. Concerns may relate to: the ethical conduct of research (…) research practices (….).”
    See http://www.orei.qut.edu.au/about/contacts/integrityadvisors.jsp

    So I have contacted on 9 February 2016 professor Pettitt, one of the RIA’s, about the current behaviour of Dr. Virginia Barbour. There was no response. I have sent him, and the other RIA’s, a reminder on 12 February 2016. I have until now only received two auto-replies. I did not receive a response on reminder #2, sent on 16 February 2016 to these RIA’s. I did not receive a response on reminder #3, sent on 17 February 2016 to the RIA’s and to the nine scientists with a Featured Profile at http://staff.qut.edu.au/ There was no response on a follow-up on reminder #3, sent on 20 February 2016 to the RIA’s, to the scientists at QUT with a Featured profile, and to some other people at QUT.

    A formal complaint against Dr. Barbour was filed on 20 February 2016 to the Head of School / Executive Officer of the Division of Research and Commercialisation of QUT and, seperately, to the Head of School / Executive Officer of the Division of Technology, Information and Learning Support of QUT. I have until now not received a response.

    So I have until now only received two auto-replies from QUT. This implies for example that QUT has until now not rebutted the statement: ‘Dr. Virginia Barbour is at the moment deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct’.
    See below for the correspondence with QUT about issues of Dr. Virginia Barbour.

    1. “From: Klaas van Dijk; To: A. Pettitt; Sent: Tuesday, February 09, 2016 9:01 PM; Subject: [Research Integrity Advisor] Dr Virginia Barbour of QUT is deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct
    Dear professor Pettitt, I would like to report that professor dr. Virginia Barbour is currently deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct. Please contact Dr. Barbour for the details and please forward to me the response of Dr. Barbour. Please remove ASAP Dr. Barbour from QUT in case Dr. Barbour is unwilling to change her current behaviour. Thanks in advance for your co-operation and for a response. Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk”

    2. “From: Klaas van Dijk; To: RIA’s; Cc: A. Pettitt; Sent: Friday, February 12, 2016 10:08 PM; Subject: [Research Integrity Advisor] Dr Virginia Barbour of QUT is deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct
    Dear RIA of QUT, There is as yet no response from professor Pettitt (in cc) on my e-mail of last Tuesday to him. Also Dr. Barbour has not contacted me. I am therefore sending you a reminder. Please contact Dr. Barbour for the details and please forward to me the response of Dr. Barbour. Please remove ASAP Dr. Barbour from QUT in case Dr. Barbour is unwilling to change her current behaviour and/or when Dr. Barbour is unwilling to communicate with me about the topic in the subject of this e-mail. Thanks in advance for your co-operation and for a response. Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk”

    3. “From: Bianca Capra; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Friday, February 12, 2016 10:08 PM; Subject: Automatic reply: [Research Integrity Advisor] Dr Virginia Barbour of QUT is deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct
    Thank-you for your email. I am on Parental leave from the 22 January until 28th November inclusive. I will only be checking my email sporadically during this period. Cheers”

    4. “From: Martin Sillence; To: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Friday, February 12, 2016 10:08 PM; Subject: Automatic reply: [Research Integrity Advisor] Dr Virginia Barbour of QUT is deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct
    I am currently overseas on business and leave and will have intermittent access to email while I am away. I shall attend to your email witin a few days, or soon after I return on Feb 17. If the matter is urgent please either contact the School Office on (..), or leave a message on my mobile (..) and I shall return your call as soon as possible.”

    5. “From: Klaas van Dijk; To: RIA’s; Cc: A. Pettitt; Sent: Tuesday, February 16, 2016 9:05 AM; Subject: [Research Integrity Advisor] Reminder RE: Dr Virginia Barbour of QUT is deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct
    Dear RIA of QUT, There is as yet no response from professor Pettitt (in cc) on my e-mail of last Tuesday to him. There is as yet also no response from professor Pettitt on my reminder from last Friday to him. I only received two auto-replies. Also Dr. Barbour has not contacted me. I am therefore sending you a reminder. Please contact Dr. Barbour for the details and please forward to me the response of Dr. Barbour. Please remove ASAP Dr. Barbour from QUT in case Dr. Barbour is unwilling to change her current behaviour and/or when Dr. Barbour is unwilling to communicate with me about the topic in the subject of this e-mail. I would like to thank Dr. Capra and Dr. Sillence for sending me an auto-response on my e-mail of last Friday. Both auto-responses imply that my e-mail of last Friday was received by QUT in good order. Thanks in advance for your co-operation and for a response. Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk”

    6. “From: Klaas van Dijk; To RIA’s and to the nine scientists at QUT with a Featured Profile; Cc: A. Pettitt; Sent: Wednesday, February 17, 2016 8:51 AM; Subject: Reminder 3 that Dr Virginia Barbour of QUT is deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct
    Dear all, There is as yet no response on my e-mail to RIA professor Pettitt. I only received two auto-replies on reminder #1 from last Friday. There is as yet no response on reminder #2 from yesterday. I am therefore sending reminder #3. Also Dr. Barbour has not contacted me. Please contact Dr. Barbour for the details and please forward to me the response of Dr. Barbour. Please remove ASAP Dr. Barbour from QUT in case Dr. Barbour is unwilling to change her current behaviour and/or when Dr. Barbour is unwilling to communicate with me about the topic in the subject of this e-mail. I would like to thank Dr. Capra and Dr. Sillence for sending me an auto-reply on my e-mail of last Friday. Both auto-replies imply that my e-mail of last Friday was received by QUT in good order. Thanks in advance for your co-operation and for a response. Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk”

    7. “From: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 10:48 AM; Subject: Dr Virginia Barbour of QUT is deeply embroiled in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct (…)

    Dear all at QUT, There is as yet no response from anyone from QUT on reminder #3, and on reminder #2, in which I report to various members of the staff at QUT that Dr. Virginia Barbour of QUT is currently deeply involved in covering up a clear case of scientific misconduct. There is also no follow-up from anyone from QUT on my e-mail to professor Pettitt, sent to him on 9 February 2016, and on a reminder (reminder #1, sent to the other RIA’s of QUT on 12 February 2016). Also Dr. Barbour has not responded. (…..).
    Part B of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research ( https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/_files_nhmrc/publications/attachments/r39.pdf ) states: “Research misconduct (…) also includes the wilful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others.” That’s what is going on over here. Part B of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research states as well: “Repeated or continuing breaches of this Code may also constitute research misconduct”. Please note that there have already been numerous contacts from various parties to persuade Dr. Barbour that she must change her behaviour. Until now without a result. Please remove ASAP Dr. Barbour from QUT because Dr. Barbour is deliberately engaged in a “wilful concealment or facilitation of research misconduct by others.” Please contact Dr. Barbour for the details and please forward to me the response of Dr. Barbour and please don’t hesitate to contact me when there are errors and/or mistakes in texts from my side. Thanks in advance for your co-operation. Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk”

    8. “From: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 12:34 PM; Subject: Formal complaint to the Division of Research and Commercialisation of QUT with serious allegations of scientific misconduct commited by Dr Virginia Barbour
    Dear reader of this e-mail, I am hereby lodging a formal complaint to the Head of School / Executive Officer of the Division of Research and Commercialisation of QUT ( https://www.qut.edu.au/about/contact/d/division-of-research-and-commercialisation and http://www.resacom.qut.edu.au/redirect-index.html ) with serious allegations of scientific misconduct committed by Dr. Virginia Barbour ( http://staff.qut.edu.au/details?id=barbourg ).

    See below [= see above] for the “revelant information” (cf 2.7.4 at http://www.mopp.qut.edu.au/D/D_02_07.jsp ). Much backgrounds about the current behaviour of Dr. Babour in this case have also been posted online. See
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/7DA806A8062EF9474F1A53717B9D1D#fb36200
    https://pubpeer.com/publications/1C6B56C6600F850C0320D4161278E8#fb43193
    https://forbetterscience.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/join-the-committee-ignore-publication-ethics/
    https://forbetterscience.wordpress.com/2016/01/07/frontiers-christmas-carol/
    https://scholarlyoa.com/2016/01/12/one-problem-with-the-scholarly-publishing-industry/
    https://scholarlyoa.com/2016/01/14/another-controversial-paper-from-fronters
    https://pubpeer.com/topics/1/2E91E8916236A6EE03F372E64FBBAF

    The contents of these blog posts, and the comments, are an integral part of this formal complaint against Dr. Barbour. This formal complaint against Dr. Barbour is based on item 2.7.4 at http://www.mopp.qut.edu.au/D/D_02_07.jsp (and a follow-up after there was no response from any of the RIA’s).

    Please remove immediately Dr. Barbour from QUT in case Dr. Barbour is unwilling to send me a rebuttal and in case Dr. Barbour is unwilling to start to work together with me to ensure that the faulty paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warber, a paper which is loaded with fabricated data, and a comment, will be retracted, ASAP and fully in line with the guidelines of COPE.

    (…). Thanks in advance for sending me a response in which is stated that my formal complaint was received by the Head of School / Executive Officer of the Division of Research and Commercialisation of QUT in good order. Please don’t hesitate to contact me when there are errors and/or mistakes in texts from my side. Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk”

    9. “From: Klaas van Dijk; Sent: Saturday, February 20, 2016 12:05 PM; Subject: Formal complaint to TILS of QUT with serious allegations of scientific misconduct commited by Dr Virginia Barbour. Dear reader of this e-mail, I am hereby lodging a formal complaint to the Head of School / Executive Officer of the Division of Technology, Information and Learning Support of QUT ( https://www.qut.edu.au/about/contact/groups/division-of-technology-information-and-learning-support ) with serious allegations of scientific misconduct committed by Dr. Virginia Barbour ( http://staff.qut.edu.au/details?id=barbourg ). [………]. Thanks in advance for sending me a response in which is stated that my formal complaint was received by TILS of QUT in good order. Please don’t hesitate to contact me when there are errors and/or mistakes in texts from my side. Best wishes, Klaas van Dijk”

    DISCLAIMER: I am hereby declaring that that this comment was prepared in good faith, that this is also the case for all other texts from my side about the faulty paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler, a paper which is loaded with fabricated data. I am hereby declaring that all of these texts from my side are 100% honest texts. Anyone who is claiming that I am dishonest, and/or that my behaviour is partial, and/or vexatious and/or that my statements about the paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warber are untrue / false (etc.), will first need to provide me access to the full list of requested raw research data (see https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7#fb31538 for the full list), and will need to accept that I, Richard Porter, and all co-workers of Richard Porter are able to scrutinize this entire set of raw research data. Please don’t hesitate to contact me when there are errors and/or mistakes in texts from my side.

  26. Jeffrey Beall wrote: “One main problem with scholarly publishing may be that some of its top editorial employees are former university researchers or frustrated clinicians. They seemed to have, for one reason or another, dropped out from the research enterprise. (…) Don’t some seem to think they know scholarly publishing only because they worked in a lab and published a couple papers? How did they get accepted so eagerly, then, into the commercial sector? (….) They proclaim their expertise in the scholarly publishing enterprise, but rarely do they emphasize a previous, incomplete career in the enterprise of science. (…) Do they really help that much in the enterprise of communication and sharing, or do they end up primarily helping themselves? You’d have to conclude the outcome for yourself.”

    I have extensive experiences with a high-ranked editorial employee of the mainsteam open-access publisher PLOS. The name of this employee is Iratxe Puebla, currently the Managing Editor for the mega-journal PLOS ONE. My experiences until now with Iratxe Puebla are bad. This is a mild judgement. I therefore hold the opinion that the above quote of Jeffrey Beall fits very well with the behaviour until now of Iratxe Puebla.

    There is for example no evidence that Iratxe Puebla has a PhD and/or an MD, although one of her colleagues at PLOS indicated in an e-mail to me the opposite. It is also unclear how much papers Iratxe Puebla has published. Pubmed reveals only one paper which is authored by a person with the name Iratxe Puebla. Iratxe Puebla does not open e-mails from my side, so I am unable to communicate with her (about this topic). Queries to PLOS about this topic remained unanswered. Other searches revealed some papers with the name Iratxe Puebla, but I am unsure if all papers with the name Iratxe Puebla refer to the same person.

    I am also already waiting 257 days on the correspondence of Iratxe Puebla with another publisher about a faulty paper which is loaded with fabricated data. Numerous requests to publisher PLOS were responded by numerous auto-replies. That’s all. It is no problem at all for me to write a separate paper about all the auto-responses I have until now received from publisher PLOS about these issues with their employee Iratxe Puebla.

    This very persistant non-response of Iratxe Puebla underlines my statement that Iratxe Puebla has a very bad track record when it comes to maintain and promote a high level of research integrity. This became for example also evident when I was heavily turned down by her when I told her that I was expecting that she always will work for the full 100% according to the VSNU guidelines (“The Netherlands Code of Conduct for Academic Practice, Principles of good academic teaching and research”, see http://www.rug.nl/about-us/organization/rules-and-regulations/algemeen/gedragscodes-nederlandse-universiteiten/code-wetenschapsbeoefening-14-en.pdf and http://www.rug.nl/about-us/organization/rules-and-regulations/algemeen/gedragscodes-nederlandse-universiteiten/wetenschappelijke-integriteit-12-en.pdf ).

    A query in the autumn of 2015 to publisher PLOS to provide me firm evidence (for example papers in peer-reviewed journals) that Iratxe Puebla ‘has extensive experiences in the field of publication ethics’ remained unanswered until now. I was unable to find this evidence and I have therefore concluded that there is until now no evidence for the statement: ‘Iratxe Puebla has extensive experiences in the field of publication ethics’.

    Iratxe Puebla joined COPE, the Committee of Publication Ethics. I tend to think that science journalist Leonid Scheider is correct with his statement about COPE (“Join the Committee, ignore Publication Ethics”), when it comes to my experiences until now with Iratxe Puebla (see https://forbetterscience.wordpress.com/2015/10/31/join-the-committee-ignore-publication-ethics/ ).

    It is not disclosed on the website of PLOS that Iratxe Puebla ( https://www.plos.org/staff/iratxe-puebla/ ) has a side-job as consultant for COPE. It was until recently also not disclosed on the website of COPE that there were ties between Iratxe Puebla and COPE (a search for Iratxe and a search for Puebla never provided hits). Publisher PLOS has also never responded on a query about the financial ties between COPE, the journals of publisher PLOS (all are member of PLOS, and thus all must pay an annual memberships fee) and (the money which is paid to) consultant Iratxe Puebla. COPE has sent me a less than helpful message when I asked the same questions to COPE.

    Jeffrey Beall wrote on https://scholarlyoa.com/2016/01/14/another-controversial-paper-from-fronters/ “COPE is experiencing problems that are affecting its credibility. Some believe that it has succumbed to cronyism, (…)”.

    Dr. Virginia Barbour, the current chair of COPE, was until around one year ago, a high-ranked employee of publisher PLOS. She is thus a former colleague of Iratxe Puebla. Dr. Barbour also does not open e-mails from my side, and the same is the case for all others who are affilated to COPE.

    I am hereby inviting Iratxe Puebla to start in public, so over here, a scientific dialogue with me about the faulty paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warber, and tell me, and the other readers of this blog post, and in plain language, if she agrees with me, and with all of my allies, that this 2013-paper is loaded with fabricated data, which implies that it must be retracted, together with a 2015-comment, ASAP, and fully in line with the guidelines of COPE.

    DISCLAIMER: I am hereby declaring that that this comment was prepared in good faith, that this is also the case for all other texts from my side about the faulty paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warbler. I am hereby declaring that all of these texts from my side are 100% honest texts. Anyone who is claiming that I am dishonest, and/or that my behaviour is partial, and/or vexatious and/or that my statements about the paper on the breeding biology of the Basra Reed Warber are untrue / false (etc.), will first need to provide me access to the full list of requested raw research data (see https://pubpeer.com/publications/CBDA623DED06FB48B659B631BA69E7#fb31538 for the full list), and will need to accept that I, Richard Porter, and all co-workers of Richard Porter are able to scrutinize this entire set of raw research data. Please don’t hesitate to contact me when there are errors and/or mistakes in texts from my side.

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