Monday 13 July 2020

Dutch scientists’ names pop up in bogus scientific journals


Over Dutch 500 scientists have published articles in bogus scientific journals or attended fake conferences, the Volkskrant reports.

The paper bases the allegation on the findings of international investigative journalism collective ICIJ which earlier exposed the names of people using tax havens.

The paper was given access to the collective’s database of articles pulled from the Indian-based OMICS which publishes some 700 scientific journals and Turkish WASET, a company that organises conferences and publishes the papers presented there.

Unlike reputable journals, the journals published by OMICS ask a fee for publishing and, according to the journalists, the articles are not peer-reviewed or otherwise checked, the paper writes.

The Dutch scientists found to have published articles in the bogus journals or had conference papers published include virologist Ab Osterhaus (Erasmus MC) and chairman of the association of phycisians KNMG Rutger Jan van der Gaag.

In most cases they are not the main author and their names do not come up more than once. According to the Volkskrant, the scientists were ‘well-intentioned’.

‘We could not get our paper on autism published anywhere, Van der Gaag told the paper. ‘I still think it was important to publish. But we failed to look at the journal properly.’ The authors of the paper paid $800 dollars to have it published in one of the bogus journals, the paper said.

The paper cites the need for scientists to distinguish themselves in competitive fields. The pressure to publish and the fact that some papers don’t pass muster for the more prestigious journals gives the bogus companies their chance, the paper writes.

Both companies – which have faced legal scrutiny in the United States-  deny any wrong-doing.

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