So, you think academic peer review works?

If you think peer review is sane, consider this example:

El Naschie is editor in chief of the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals. This journal is published by Elsevier, one of the biggest players in the science publishing business. But here’s where things get interesting: this journal also lists 322 papers with El Naschie as an author!

The journal has a high impact factor and a high rating by the Australian Academy of Sciences.

Source: Nielsen.

See also my posts The insane world of academic publishing, Why aren’t there more scientific breakthroughs? and Peer review is an honor-based system.

Published by

Daniel Lemire

A computer science professor at the University of Quebec (TELUQ).

One thought on “So, you think academic peer review works?”

  1. I was simultaneously fascinated and horrified by this account: and blame you Daniel for causing me to take 30 minutes reading the n-Category Cafe page on this! 😉

    Why not disqualify editors from publishing in the journal? Like the model we have for judges: they are respected lawyers who are selected to judge. They cannot also be the counsel for the defence at the same time.

    However, for academic publishing it would be less restrictive: whereas in most countries the judge does not practice law at all: in this case the editor can still publish in other journals.

    It is the price to price to pay for being an editor.

    Of course, for small specialized disciplines where there are few journals this might be problematic. Perhaps this could be fixed by having all peer-review of editor-submitted articles non-anonymous and published, thus putting greater onus on the reviewers. And maybe having more reviewers for this special case.

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