Predatory open-access journals stand ready to publish junk science that legitimate journals reject for publication. Anyone with a pseudo-scientific idea can write articles supporting or “proving” the idea and quickly and easily have them published in predatory journals.
The articles are then indexed in Google Scholar and other academic databases, such as ProQuest. Here’s the story of one man who’s been writing such articles, Finland’s Antero Ollila.
Antero Ollila is (or was) an emeritus adjunct associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Aalto University in Helsinki. He spent most of his career in industry and came later to academia.
His research denies an anthropogenic etiology of global warming and instead posits that cosmic rays and space dust, among other things, are driving climate change. His research goes against the scientific consensus.
Here’s a selection of Ollila’s denial articles published in questionable journals:
Ollila, Antero. (2012). Changes in cosmic ray fluxes improve correlation to global warming. International Journal of the Physical Sciences 7(5): 822 – 826.
Ollila, Antero. (2013). Earth’s energy balance for clear, cloudy and all-sky conditions. Development in Earth Science 1(1): 1-9.
Ollila, Antero. (2014). The potency of carbon dioxide (CO2) as a greenhouse gas. Development in Earth Science 2: 20-30.
Ollila, Antero. (2015). Cosmic theories and greenhouse gases as explanations of global warming. Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering 5(4): 27-43.
Ollila, Antero. (2015). Clear sky absorption of solar radiation by the average global atmosphere. Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering 5(1): 19-34.
Ollila, Antero. (2015). Anthropogenic carbon dioxide (CO2) amounts and fluxes between the atmosphere, the ocean, and the biosphere. Physical Science International Journal 8(1): 1-17.
All the articles cited above are published in journals whose publishers are included on my list. Only one of the papers had anything like a review process, and it was weak. Most of the papers either lacked Received-Revised-Accepted dates, or they showed three-week turnaround time between submission and acceptance.
The journal Development in Earth Science (note the ungrammatical title) is published by Science and Engineering Publishing Company. This firm claims it’s based in Indiana, but I think it’s really run from China.
The Journal of Earth Sciences and Geotechnical Engineering is published by Scienpress Ltd. It claims it’s based in London. This strangely-named publisher has been on my list for years.
Physical Science International Journal is published by India-based ScienceDomain International. This publisher has been on my list for a long time, and I’ve written about problems with its peer review. I am not surprised to see a junk science paper published among its many articles.
Ollila’s 2012 article is published in International Journal of the Physical Sciences, from Nigeria-based Academic Journals. The article was published in January 2012, and this journal published five issues in that month. It published 41 issues in 2012.
Olilla has discovered a helpful promotional strategy called self-citation. Also, though he uses lots of tables, images, and equations in his papers, I think he just makes stuff up. His science is just babbling. Why do so many emeritus professors publish pseudo-science in predatory journals? What attracts them to the Dark Side?
Predatory publishers are polluting the academic record with junk science. The junk science is frequently included in scholarly indexes, which makes it harder for legitimate scientists to carry out literature reviews.
Worse, such publications add science’s “seal of approval” (publication in a scholarly journal) to non-scientific rubbish. Students read it, and “blog scientists” and journalists use it as source material.
Researchers like Ollila know their article submissions will not survive an honest peer review at legitimate journals, so they flock to predatory journals. In fact, his work would likely suffer a “desk rejection” after a quick review by any competent journal editor.
Hat tip: Dr. John Mashey