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It's funny.  Laugh. Australia Education The Media

Seven Science Journals Have A Dog On Their Editorial Board (atlasobscura.com) 106

An anonymous reader writes: A professor of health policy at Australia's Curtin University got seven different science journals to put his dog on their editorial board. The dog is now associate editor for the Global Journal of Addiction & Rehabilitation Medicine, and sits on the editorial board of Psychiatry and Mental Disorders. The professor says he feels sorry for one researcher who recently submitted a paper about how to treat sheath tumors, because "the journal has sent it to a dog to review." The official profile of the dog lists its research interests as "the benefits of abdominal massage for medium-sized canines" and "avian propinquity to canines in metropolitan suburbs."
An Australian news site points out that career-minded researchers pay up to $3,000 to get their work published in predatory journals so they can list more publications on their resumes. "While this started as something lighthearted," says the dog-owning professor, "I think it is important to expose shams of this kind which prey on the gullible, especially young or naive academics and those from developing countries."
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Seven Science Journals Have A Dog On Their Editorial Board

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28, 2017 @06:36PM (#54502949)

    Pay for the most expensive school, then load your CV with pay to publish articles, and eventually you will get grants and "win"!

    If any industry needs disruption, it's the education industry.

    • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @07:06PM (#54502995)

      If any industry needs disruption, it's the education industry.

      Education costs have risen faster than any other cateogy [zerohedge.com] for the last 20 years. Faster than housing or even healthcare.

      • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @07:18PM (#54503027) Journal

        Education costs have risen faster than any other cateogy [zerohedge.com] for the last 20 years. Faster than housing or even healthcare.

        And it's happening at a time when universities are replacing full faculty with very low-paid adjuncts who don't even get basic benefits.

        The sad part is that of the three (housing, healthcare and education), higher education would be the easiest to reform, but university administrators and board members, who are increasingly coming from private industry, have little to no incentive to do so. I'm glad I got out of the game when I did.

      • by Vermonter ( 2683811 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @10:36PM (#54503681)

        Education costs have risen faster than any other cateogy [zerohedge.com] for the last 20 years. Faster than housing or even healthcare.

        Well, when you make it really easy for people to get student loans, of course prices are going to go up. It's basic economics - if the demand increases, costs go up. Good or bad, it's one of the side effects of federal sponsored student loans. If you created federal mortgages that made it easier to people to buy homes, you would see home prices skyrocket as well.

        • ...and if you give them an UBI, then everything basic skyrockets.

          • Yeah because welfare has caused everything to skyrocket too.

          • Maybe, but I'm not so sure. UBI gives people a certain amount of money to spend on whatever they want. Federal student loans, however, is specifically for higher education. Since UBI is not focused on a given market, it may not have much impact on prices.
          • Yeah, because of the big bucks you make with UBI, we might have a shortage of Ferraris really soon...

            But yes, basic food might become more expensive now that more people can afford it. True, true...

        • Education should be free or completely decoupled from people's income or ability to pay. Education should however not be easy or universal. The idea that everyone goes to university is stupid on the face of it.

          • Quite the opposite, everyone should be able to get into a university. That would allow them to weed out left and right and make sure that only the absolute best really graduate. Drop out rates of 90% should actually be the norm, at least when 100% can afford to enroll.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by thegarbz ( 1787294 )

              That would allow them to weed out left and right and make sure that only the absolute best really graduate. Drop out rates of 90% should actually be the norm, at least when 100% can afford to enroll.

              Sorry but disagree. University is for serious education not for giving everyone a go. Dropout rates should be low and people should be weeded out before they get to that stage. I mean there's a whole lifetime of school leading up to university where attendance is high which could be used as an indicator.

              The last thing you want is a lecture hall with 1000 people where 900 aren't interested.

              I say this from experience. In Australia classes are assigned with fixed positions and those are filled based on talent

              • Just because your country implemented it badly doesn't mean that idea of giving everyone the opportunity to study is a bad one. We, too, have a rather large number of people starting every year. It clears up quickly, though.

                Even stupid people notice that they're wasting their life, and people in general don't really like doing that.

                • Just because your country implemented it badly

                  Who said that? I said no such thing. My country implemented it very well and the situation we were in was an anomaly in an otherwise excellent educational system.

                  I also didn't disagree that everyone should have the opportunity to study. I just said that AT the university is the wrong place to figure this out. Sort it out outside of the university. By throwing everyone in all you do is increase the cost of university (by diverting resources to those who won't finish), lower the quality of education (by divid

      • by quetwo ( 1203948 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @07:38AM (#54504707) Homepage

        And you should be asking "why?" is it rising faster than any other category.

        A large part of the 'cost' of education rising so fast is that public schools are being increasing defunded from public sources -- putting the cost of education to the student rather the state or fed. In 1996, the State of Michigan supported on average 85% of the total budget of the largest three research schools -- today they support less than 15%. Similar stories in most other states. The actual cost of schooling somebody at a public school, taking into account all funding sources has been flat or has gone down in most cases. That accounts for the rising cost of health care, energy, etc. that have been rising as well.

        Private schools, however, have been increasing the price to match the apparent increase to students in the public sector. Since most private schools's students are eligible for federal loans, there is no incentive to keep the costs down.

        https://mediad.publicbroadcast... [publicbroadcasting.net]

      • Bubble bubble bubble bubble...
        Anyone care to speculate what happens when the education bubble finally pops?
    • by habig ( 12787 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @08:32PM (#54503279) Homepage

      Pay for the most expensive school, then load your CV with pay to publish articles, and eventually you will get grants and "win"!

      Doesn't work. People evaluating your publication record (your dept. head, your dean, someone reading your CV when you apply for the next job) know which journals are junk pay-to-win rags, and not only discount those items, but then figure you don't know what the heck you are talking about since you even had those useless items on your CV.

      Had you read the summary (not even TFA), you'd see that the "victims" are "the gullible, especially young or naive academics and those from developing countries". Not "the most expensive schools".

      Funding agencies are even more discriminating. When your program has only 10-20% of the funds available needed to fund the incoming proposals, crap like this doesn't even make the first cut in a grant application. Why? There's not enough money available to fund the really good proposals. Go ahead, make my life as a proposal reviewer easier by giving me an excuse to move one of the huge stack to the "do not fund" pile.

      If any industry needs disruption, it's the education industry.

      Maybe: but if you want to make that argument, make one that holds water.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Doesn't work. People evaluating your publication record (your dept. head, your dean, someone reading your CV when you apply for the next job) know which journals are junk pay-to-win rags, and not only discount those items, but then figure you don't know what the heck you are talking about since you even had those useless items on your CV.

        Nope, it works up to a point. It helps to get a foot in the door. I have a student (and am posting anonymously for that reason) who obviously had some journal publications in his CV that I assumed were not really peer-reviewed. I read them. After I took the student, I discovered that, basically, all his publications were in such outlets. It was quite a surprise that an IEEE conference would publish pay-for articles in IEEE proceedings without requiring the author to appear at the conference. Ough.

        Bottom lin

    • Pay for the most expensive school, then load your CV with pay to publish articles, and eventually you will get grants and "win"!

      The first assumption is only valid in the US. Top-ranked universities in many countries outside the US are generally no more expensive for national students than any other university (in the UK they even used to be free). They are very selective on grades to get in though but that is something which costs you time and effort to acquire.

      Secondly, any institute who accepts this pay-to-publish articles in dodgy, predatory journals in the CV of a prospective faculty hire is not doing their job. As someone w

      • I'm not sure how applicable most of this is outside of the UK. In the UK, departments are ranked by the REF and previously by the RAE, which looks at roughly one 'output' (typically a publication) per year per academic. Publishing a lot of different things doesn't help you, publishing one thing in a top venue does. I'm not aware of any other country that uses a similar system.
      • by tempmpi ( 233132 ) on Monday May 29, 2017 @03:53AM (#54504309)

        Serious candidates need to have publications in journals that those in the field know about and have a good impact factor and the area experts generally read a few of the papers. Having a large number of papers in a dodgy, predatory journal will kill any chance of being hired.

        I would even go further: A single paper in a dodgy journal on your CV can easily kill your career in science. It is a red flag that shows, that you lack one of the most basic skills any researcher should have. You show that you are unable to tell the difference between a real and a predatory journal and often it even shows that even your advisor was unable to do so. A PhD from a clueless advisor is almost worthless.
        Quantity over quality is not a valid excuse. There are plenty of non-predatory, real lower rank conferences that will happily publish anything with only the slightest bit of scientific value.

    • That sounds more like a rat race than a dog's life to me.

    • Pay for the most expensive school

      Except every school costs the same when you are getting a PhD in a STEM field: $0. Everyone gets an assistantship. You actually get paid to go to school. Moreover, grants come largely from organizations like the NSF where awards are given by panels of other academics who are acutely aware of fake journals. The system is not perfect but it is not "pay to win".

  • by ProzacPatient ( 915544 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @06:45PM (#54502961)
    The dog is on the editorial board to sniff out bullshit
  • by Anonymous Coward

    I don't see the problem here. How is this any different from a real person using a stage name, pen name, or sock puppet? Any work credited to the dog is ghostwritten by the owner.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 28, 2017 @07:05PM (#54502991)

    Its pretty simple, non peer reviewed generals do not represent good science and research. Stop citing them, stop reading them. People publish in them not necessarily because their results are bad, but because their research methods are trash and often unrepeatable.

  • by Steve1952 ( 651150 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @07:11PM (#54503005)
    Actually, all that this article shows that a minimum of seven science journals have a dog on their editorial board.
  • by The Real Dr John ( 716876 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @07:16PM (#54503021) Homepage

    Look, our lab has published in standard pay walled journals, and in open access journals. They both put you through the usual peer review, which can be honest and thorough, quick and uncritical, absurdly overcritical and just plain silly sometimes. Each journal is different. Some journals are so bad that their editors can put their dog on the editorial board. Many are much better than that. But the scientific review process is so fractured and disconnected that there is no way to know which publications are reliable, and which are not. Even the top tier, pay walled journals publish crap sometimes, and even they have to retract some papers after serious problems are found. Opening up the review process to the public and making reviews more inclusive, honest and accountable (no anonymous reviewers) would go a long way to improving the system.

    Paying $3000 to get your work published in an honest and properly peer reviewed open access journal is a good thing, it means that everyone can read the work for free. Fixing the existing peer review and scientific publishing problems is going to take a lot of concerted effort on the part of scientists and publishers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      "our lab has published in standard pay walled journals, and in open access journals."

      My lab hasn't published yet, he's more concerned about playing with his kong. But I'm sure if he decides he wants to publish, it won't be difficult.

    • "Paying $3000 to get your work published in an honest and properly peer reviewed open access journal is a good thing, it means that everyone can read the work for free."

      Having everyone free to read your work is good, but paying $3000 is not. It's just a rip off. A rip-off that I endure because some one tells me that I have to.

      "Fixing the existing peer review and scientific publishing problems is going to take a lot of concerted effort on the part of scientists and publishers."

      Publishers have no role in this

      • First off, it it usually more like $2000, but you are right that it isn't right. Like I said, this is what capitalism does. It monetizes everything, including knowledge. I would greatly prefer that the NIH budget be doubled so that more high quality research can be done, and then some of that extra money used to pay for publication costs. The formatting and editing of a large scientific paper is an arduous task. They take a crappy looking Word doc file and some TiFFs and turn them into a polished looking sc

        • Presumably, you have to pay to be published because no one is ever going to read a word of it. The idea of publication is that you have readers paying to read, and advertisers paying to reach the readers. It appears that you have no readers and, hence, no advertisers. Paying to be published makes about as much sense as paying to masturbate.

          • You must be either kidding, or an idiot. Hopefully not the latter. Check out the Dunning-Kruger effect would you please?

            Currently journals charge people $30 to read a single research article. No one could afford to pay that kind of money when researching a topic, I might need to download 40, 50 or more articles in order to properly reference a manuscript.

            And you are right, a typical scientific article that is in a standard journal might only get a few thousand reads. I don't see how that is relevant.

            How you

    • by Trogre ( 513942 )

      I think the distinguishing feature is that those top tier journals do print retractions when serious problems are found.

      • Almost all journals that are published on citation sources like PubMed print retractions when a major issue comes up with a published paper. Beall's List used to keep track of publishers that have low standards and publish anything if they get paid, but that now appears to have shut down.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @07:19PM (#54503035) Homepage Journal

    Global Journal of Addiction & Rehabilitation Medicine is published by Juniper Publishers, and Psychiatry and Mental Disorders is published by Austin Publishing, both on Beall's infamous list of predatory publishers [weebly.com].

    If you don't know what a predatory publisher or journal is, it's basically a scheme to monetize the publication of fake or unpublishably bad science. Say you want to publish your vaccines cause autism paper; you pay a predatory journal a fee and they put your paper in the journal. To a layman who doesn't know what the real journals in the field, it looks indistinguishable from a genuine publication.

    Bogus editorial boards are one of the key tipoffs that a journal is predatory. It's a hell of a lot of work to be on the editorial board of a real journal, and it's not easy to get invited to join the board of Nature or The New England Journal of Medicine. But if you look at the boards of predatory journals their editors are often on a ridiculous number of boards, more than a human being could handle.

    Now if this guy got his dog on the editorial board of Lancet, that'd be stop the presses news: the sky would indeed be falling. But bogus is what bogus journals are in the business of.

  • The White House is run by rabid weasels.

    That's a big deal.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <[moc.talfdren] [ta] [tkram]> on Sunday May 28, 2017 @07:37PM (#54503091) Journal

    The professor says he feels sorry for one researcher who recently submitted a paper about how to treat sheath tumors, because "the journal has sent it to a dog to review."

    Why? How bad was the dog's criticisms of the paper?

    • by mccalli ( 323026 )
      It was rabid.
    • by Subm ( 79417 )

      > > The professor says he feels sorry for one researcher who recently submitted a paper about how to treat sheath tumors, because "the journal has sent it to a dog to review."

      > Why? How bad was the dog's criticisms of the paper?

      She ate it.

    • Why? How bad was the dog's criticisms of the paper?

      Let's just say that this proves that reviewer 2 actually is a bitch.

  • by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Sunday May 28, 2017 @09:07PM (#54503399)

    She was hired for her expertise in detection of trace compounds in gaseous media. Bonus: as a Staffordshire terrier, she could defend herself easily at conferences.

  • Find the iffy journals, submit a couple of fabricated papers, bingo! A 50+ y/o software engineer might get a new job.
  • at least the dog wont be bribed....

  • How does the dog compare to her replacement?

    Sadly, I wouldn't be surprised if she is doing a better job than the human she replaced.

    (I read the article to check if the dog was male or female to get the gender right, but held back replacing "dog" with "bitch," which would be more accurate. I recommend rereading this entire thread, replacing "dog" with "bitch" for a more entertaining and still PC read).

  • Are any of the dogs named "Incitatus", by chance?

  • I'm not quite getting it why these dodgy journals keep being a problem. Why aren't there people keeping blacklists, or setting up some rating system? Publish in one of them an nobody will take you seriously any more. Cite a paper that has been published in one of them and your own paper is automatically assumed to be garbage quality. Soon enough nobody will feed money to these junk journals and they will die out with a whimper.
  • F.D.C Willard sends regards...
  • In the Star Trek movie series, it was announced that James T. Kirk cheated on the Kobayashi Maru test, and undefeatable program to teach learners about the experience of failure in a situation where they couldn't defeat the enemy and win.
    --
    Now the relation to this story; it effing worked, didn't it? Now people are talking about it and even Slashdot has a post on it. Not only did he succeed, but now the "free advertising" has more people reading his initial work that wouldn't have even known it existed bef

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