From: Zac Rolnik <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 22:26:25 -0500


I agree that it is hard for the publisher to really know the quality
of articles we publish since we are usually not academics in those
areas, but I think we have a sense when the quality is there and when
it is not.  The idea that the publisher relies on the editor who
relies on the guest editor seems like we are distancing ourselves from
our responsibility as publishers.  Furthermore, I don't see how online
editorial systems necessarily improve quality control and I might even
argue the peer review is declining as the number of articles increase
beyond the available pool of high quality reviewers.  This was not
just bad science, but "computer generated gibberish".  Unfortunately,
I happen to believe that there is a lot of human-generated gibberish
also getting published.

Zac Rolnik
now publishers

-----Original Message-----
From: Anthony Watkinson <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 2014 10:02:57 +0000

I thought Jean-Claude might come up some sort of remark along these lines.

This story highlights a problem that anyone who has actually worked in
publishing is familiar with. It is generally accepted that the
proceedings of a conference are better placed in a journal than
published stand alone. I appreciate that some disciplines rate
conference proceedings much higher than others, but the recent
CIBER/UTK study on Trust in information sources for the Sloan
Foundation (in which I was involved) found that even in those
disciplines journals are rated higher see:

Publishers and journal editors routinely get requests from the
organizers of symposia: it is no longer (I understand) quite such a
big deal as it once was when supplements often bought to give to
recipients were very helpful both to the journal visibility and to its
finances. As we see from the "gibberish" this is not just commercial

Now, it was not uncommon for editors very familiar with the organisers
of symposia, people they rate highly and trust, to delegate editorial
responsibility to them to do the proper refereeing. The editor is at
one remove from the peer review and the publisher is two removes. A
long time ago I found myself forced to intervene (as the publisher)
when the peer review for an Italian symposium had just not been done -
as was clear to the copy editor who reported it. Fortunately we had
copy editors of such calibre.

I have made the point before - and not everyone agrees with me, but it
is my view that standards of controlling peer review are much higher
across all types of publishers than they were, partly if not mainly
because every article goes through the online editorial systems which
enables much more oversight.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jean-Claude Guédon <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:44:50 -0500

We all know that the value added by publishers is peer review....

And it is what justifies the "reasonable" prices of access licenses...

Perhaps the "rogue" category of journals should be considerably enlarged.


Le lundi 24 février 2014 à 21:48 -0500, LIBLICENSE a écrit :

From: Ann Okerson <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:42:31 -0500

The news du jour:  "The publishers Springer and IEEE are removing more
than 120 papers from their subscription services after a French
researcher discovered that the works were computer-generated
nonsense." In today's article by reporter Richard Van Noorden, you can
even find out how to make a start on your own gibberish paper.  These
were published mainly in conference proceedings.