Retraction Watch

Tracking retractions as a window into the scientific process

Judge denies motion by researcher to quash Diabetes expressions of concern

with 20 comments

Mario Saad, via unicamp.br

Mario Saad, via unicamp.br

American Diabetes Association 1, Mario Saad 0.

As reported by the National Law Journal, a federal judge in Boston has denied Saad’s requests to stop the ADA’s flagship journal, Diabetes, from publishing expressions of concern about four of Saad’s papers, and to prevent the journal from retracting the studies.

Saad filed suit against the ADA on February 5. Judge Timothy Hillman wrote in his order yesterday that approving the researcher’s motion would have violated the right to free speech:

Dr. Saad has moved for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction (1) requiring the ADA to remove the digital expression of concern that was published on the Diabetes website; (2) enjoining the ADA from publishing the hard-copy expression of concern in the March print issue of Diabetes; and (3) enjoining the ADA from retracting Dr. Saad’s four articles from Diabetes. The motion essentially asks for a court order preventing the ADA from expressing its concern about Dr. Saad’s work—a classic prior restraint that is presumptively invalid under the First Amendment.

Elsewhere, Hillman wrote:

Whatever interest Dr. Saad has in preserving his professional reputation, it is not enough to overcome the heavy presumption against the proposed order’s validity. This is precisely the type of circumstance in which the law forbids courts from halting speech before it occurs.

According to Saad’s original filing, the journal planned to publish the expressions of concern — which had only been posted online thus far — in their March issue yesterday, February 24. They did so.

Saad’s lawyers told the National Law Journal that Hillman’s ruling

has permitted the journal Diabetes to continue to defame Dr. Saad, his co-authors, and the University of Campinas in São Paolo, Brazil, by questioning the reliability of the data in the articles, while at the same time ignoring the findings of the university that there was no evidence of dishonesty on the part of Dr. Saad.

The university and the ADA have strongly differing opinions on the validity of Saad’s work, as we’ve reported. An ADA spokesperson declined to comment to the National Law Journal.

Written by Ivan Oransky

February 25th, 2015 at 8:30 am

Comments
  • Ed Goodwin February 25, 2015 at 8:47 am

    If Dr. Saad finds that he does not agree with a journal’s policy during the process he should self retract on that basis rather than try to silence the journal. Its a simple freedom
    of expression (speech) issue. Its hard for some to get used to the idea that not everybody agrees with them, but its part of becoming a mature professional and understanding
    the US constitution. Additionally and importantly, most university self-investigations are whitewashes and no professional journal should automatically defer to them.

    • Junk Science February 25, 2015 at 9:14 am

      “Whitewashes”, especially in this case as Liem pointed out in the previous post about this case: “Investigation was carried and signed by Paulo Mazzafera, Ronaldo Pili, Anibal Vercesi and Licio Velloso. They all currently share a grant as principal investigators with Professor Saad”. In addition, Saad is a frequent coauthor with both Vercesi and Velloso on several papers.

  • AMW February 25, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Not a surprise but nevertheless a reassuring development for those interested in the integrity of science.

    The next question is if the University will actually arrange a full investigation of the matter. There are at least 20 publications listed on PubPeer with serious problems with the images. And since the images are mostly representative of a large number of replicates, it is reasonable to question whether the entire body of work was in fact never undertaken.

    The university is now in serious trouble. Their international reputation, and that of several of their professors, lies in ruins, a state that will continue to exist until they deal with the problem at source. But sorting it out will definitely require a detailed and independent investigation into the whole lab’s work over the last 5 years. This is apparently something that might begin in March according to the previous documents. But do they actually have the conviction to do it properly after the first abject failure?

    And it seems almost inconceivable that Saad would take it lying down and co-operate.

    This is likely to go on for a long time.

    • D Cameron February 25, 2015 at 12:49 pm

      Based solely upon the shameful, faux “investigation” already conducted by that university – and it is with great restraint that I not decorate the word ‘university’ with quotation marks – I believe the likelihood of them conducting what you term a “full investigation” is near zero. All politics is local, and Saad and his institution are clearly playing a political game: the big bad Gringos are oppressing the local Hero! That theme plays very well locally, and especially with the local politicians who provide most of their funding.

      This institution is not in “serious trouble,” or indeed in any trouble at all, because maintaining a good “international reputation” isn’t even on their radar. In their bottom-line minds, why should it be?

      • AMW February 25, 2015 at 7:02 pm

        Yes, that argument makes sense. A single journal issuing expressions of concern does little to change the day-to-day running of the university and the complex web of relationships that exists there, with research misconduct still a minor element.

        It would probably require a much wider threat to change that, akin to the group of around 15 anaesthetic journals that acted in the Boldt case. So far most of the other journals involved in the 20 papers listed in PubPeer and RW are probably unaware of the problem (although Saad’s action must have raised awareness!). It would also require hard work and a little risk for readers who have spotted the problems to convert these observations into firm letters to editors – very few have the combination of skills, time and drive to do that. And as Paul Brooks has pointed out, PLoS have clearly been made aware of one case and done absolutely nothing. Nevertheless, ADA’s exemplary handling of the issue has at least started the ball rolling, so it should now be easier to get other journals to see the problem and issue similar expressions of concern.

        However, independent of this, it is also reasonable to wonder if the university can so easily ignore these issues in the long-term. Diabetes currently refuses to accept paper’s from the entire university – only a single journal but a disgrace for an institution nonetheless. And research misconduct is a corrosive force in other ways. A lot of people must have been involved in the image manipulations and what appears to fabrication of entire papers from nothing. While whistleblowing might seem a remote possibility, it is possible that facts will begin emerge now that an external agent has clearly expressed their mistrust of Saad.

        And isn’t it at least possible that somewhere deep down in the bowels of the university’s ‘conscience’, people will remember what their actual mission is supposed to be? Or is that idealistic daydreaming?

        • D Cameron February 28, 2015 at 1:10 pm

          Based on the available evidence, and until we receive any evidence to the contrary, I would say it is wishful thinking. What do we have: a litigious, overly-defensive “scientist” who is neck-deep in multiple, serious questions concerning the integrity/validity of his work; an overly-defensive “academic institution” that has already conducted one sham investigation and which might be in the process of conducting another; an internationally respected journal and organization standing in opposition to the overly-defensive “scientist” and “academic institution” on a foundation of scientific integrity (and freedom of expression, a freedom and concept that ‘scientists” like Saad, Ariel Fernandez, et al., seem to particularly fear and loathe).

          At this point there is little reason to think that either Saad or his institution are anything other than POLITICAL entities. They are certainly not dealing with the issues at hand as people who embrace the concepts of academic honesty and scientific integrity. They are instead applying political tactics in an effort to achieve a political outcome. The entire episode is pathetic, but let’s not fool ourselves: there is no evidence – NONE – to suggest that Saad or his institution will ever change.

    • Lucas Gallindo February 26, 2015 at 8:11 am

      These links (in portuguese):
      http://info.abril.com.br/noticias/ciencia/2015/02/pesquisador-da-unicamp-tem-artigos-investigados.shtml
      http://ciencia.estadao.com.br/blogs/herton-escobar/revista-questiona-trabalhos-de-medico-da-unicamp-e-impoe-moratoria-a-universidade/

      That newspiece states that the Rector instated a new investigating comitee composed by international authors, but criticizes Diabetes for publishing the EOC before the final investigation report in mid-march. Saad was asked to comment and reinstated that the edited images were mistakes during the typesetting (story which the Rector’s office appears to accept).

      This might change how science is treated around here. Saad was a serious Rector candidate and former chairman of their med school.

  • Liem February 25, 2015 at 10:57 am

    This is a very important step to preserve journal’s editorial freedom. Another point that completely invalidate Saad’s action is copyright. ADA request copyright transfer when authors accept to publish their work there. Diabetes is an editorial publication, and the copyrights to the material posted there belong to them. Thus, ADA has the rights to do whatever they want with their published articles, including suing expressions of concern and retractions.

  • Miel February 25, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Liem, I assume that in your last sentence “suing” is a typo. Issuing, perhaps? This issue of copyright is really fascinating actually, because it empowers Diabetes. If, as Ed Goodwin suggests above, Saad feels that he is still right, then let him cancel his contract with Diabetes, including recalling his copyright, and let him retract the four papers and resubmit them to other journals where he might feel that his ego is more respected. However, a cautionary note: if Saad does decide to retract his papers (also thus dealing a bit of a slap in the face to ADA), he will still be faced with tough questions about his “problematic” figures in these four and in the remaining dozen+ papers listed at PubPeer.

  • Scrutineer February 25, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Yay – top news this!

    Congratulations to the journal Diabetes and a big thank you to Judge Hillman. We are in a state of flux regarding open scientific discourse but the key thing is to allow explicit and unconstrained criticism of the content in any and all scientific publications. In multi-author papers with visibly obvious issues, it should be clear that it does not follow that implications of dishonesty (if there were such) apply equally to all authors.

    If a journal desires to issue an expression of concern, there should be no legal justification whatsoever to prevent it. Retractions are more complicated as of today, given that usually the institute and/or authors determine this and the journals usually do not.

  • AMW February 26, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks to Lucas for the above links to Brazilian news.
    Apparently UNICAMP thinks that ADA should not have issued the Expression of Concern given that they had already set in process another investigation due to take place in the first two weeks of March.

    I believe that ADA were correct to proceed with the ADA given:
    1. The complete failure of UNICAMP’s internal investigation to actually investigate – even to the extent of not asking to see the images for other replicates (the manipulated images are only representative)
    2. The scale of the issue – both in terms of the number of papers (>15) and the nature of the problems. It would be astonishing if a robust investigation could be undertaken in two weeks and even the idea that it might be already suggests that UNICAMP is desperate to reach the same conclusion that it did the first time.

    It will be interesting to see what is actually achieved in the next month.

  • Noboby February 26, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Dec/10/2014 –
    A plague of Brazilian science: the
    second class articles

    The profusion of journals that publish any study, by less rigorous it is,
    requiring only that the author pays for it, is a plague that Brazil has been
    sticking with disturbing enthusiasm – even those institutions that should assure
    the excellence of research in the country

    Fernanda Allegretti

    A specter is haunting the international scientific community: the of
    non-credible journals. It is not difficult to see the reason. Some of the most
    extraordinary advances of science were made public for the first time in the
    form of articles edited by heavyweight journals. Prevails in them what is at the
    heart of the very own scientific methodology, the peer review, or the review by
    peers. This process aims to replicate the results of a study in order to check
    it, without the presence of the author or authors. There is no other way to make
    science deserves its name – and move forward. Two examples will suffice to give
    the exact dimension of the importance of authentic scientific journals: the
    theory of relativity, by the German Albert Einstein, had its birth record
    documented in a series of four essays carried between March and September 1905
    in Annalen der Physik, one of the oldest journals of its kind, founded in
    1790 in Berlin; while the DNA structure, unveiled by the British Francis Crick
    and by the American James Watson, was presented to the world in a short text
    signed by them in the issue of April 25, 1953 in Nature, the prestigious British
    magazine whose debut number circulated in November 1869. In addition to putting
    new research – and their authors, of course – in the spotlight, the publications
    that excel in scientific rigor drive studies in the involved areas, rotating,
    thus, the wheel of knowledge.

    A recent phenomenon, however, is jeopardizing this virtuous circle: the
    proliferation of publishers who run journals whose only obstacle to the
    dissemination of pseudo-academic articles is the payment of a publication fee,
    which varies a lot, but usually starts at around $ 600 USD. It matters little
    whether the texts are based on poor or no research; whether they are originals
    or plagiarisms; if they conform to minimum criteria of methodology and
    seriousness. As the essay production is a valuable criterion for career
    advancement in the academic world, and given that the publication of articles in
    journals with credibility usually follows a relentless and slow process of
    selection, an increasingly large number of scientists are turning to the trick
    of paying to, quickly, have their texts edited. If for pseudo-scientists the
    volume of published articles can allow climbing intellectual prestige steps –
    also inflating the personal vanity – for the owners of second class scientific
    journals, as in any business, the increase in customers usually means higher
    revenues.

    This was not, it is true, the initial goal of publications called open access
    model, that emerged in Europe and the United States in the 90s. The idea was to
    expand the dissemination of knowledge and offer more opportunities to
    intellectual of developing countries. It did no take long, however, that the
    scope gained other contours. Giving up the rigor – The American journal Science
    (1880), to get an idea, publishes only 7% of the articles that receive – and by
    minimizing the time for the dissemination of texts, new journals have become a
    shortcut to the bad scientists and a good source of income for those willing to,
    let’s say, engage in this new branch. The magazines and traditional scientific
    journals do not specifically charge for editing articles, although often require
    that the texts are accompanied by graphics and photos, which incurs costs, and,
    after the publication, charge from those who want to read the article – on
    average $ 32 USD. Anyway, do not appear unreasonable demands.

    Not every OA journal, it should be emphasized, has as main characteristic the
    scientific sloppiness; however, all sloppy scientific journal is OA. Brazil
    adhered to this model with worrying enthusiasm. Already more than 1000
    publications OA, which puts the country behind only the US (where they surpass
    1200). At the same time, a quick online survey reveals that it is large the
    number of Brazilian researchers who use questionable journals, national or
    international, to publish their work. Impresses even more the fact that many of
    these journals are well ranked by the Higher Education Personnel Training
    Coordination (CAPES), the funding agency for research linked to the Ministry of
    Education. Under its watch is the QUALIS, a quality assessment system of
    scientific journals, which assigns them concepts A, B and C, decreasing,
    according to certain parameters. Such grades are considered by universities and
    institutions at the time of grant funding or even promotions to researchers
    attending the pages of those journals. If the publications that despise
    scientific predicament are well ranked by CAPES – and this occurs, as we will
    see – it is clear that it will take place a serious distortion. There will be
    researchers benefited from false merits. And that, often, with public funds.
    Now, the worst: it is possible to detect among the customer of journals without
    credibility professors who belong to CAPES, that is, exactly those who should
    ensure the academic production excellence of the country.

    If they were cadres of low rank, it would be bad. However, the president of the
    institution himself, the biomedic Jorge Almeida Guimaraes, agreed to avail a
    questionable OA publisher of books to publish a book chapter from which he is a
    co-author. Through the

    payment of 670 Euros
    (about 2100 Reais), the Croatian publisher

    InTech Open
    made
    available on the internet the chapter "Acute
    Kidney Injury Induced by Snake and Arthropod Venoms
    ", written by Guimaraes
    and two researchers from the Federal Universities of Minas Gerais and Rio Grande
    do Sul. In the text, they state that bites of snakes and poisonous arthropods
    are important public health problems neglected by Brazilian and foreign
    authorities. The InTech, which has changed its name at least four times
    since it was founded in 2004, is in the black list of scientific journals
    prepared by Jeffrey
    Beall
    , librarian at the University of Colorado in the United States, a
    reference on the subject. Like the index prepared by

    Lars Bjørnshauge
    , former director of libraries at the University of Lund,
    Sweden, the list set up by Beall is consulted regularly by international
    institutions and researchers in time to make their assessments. Sought by VEJA,
    the press office of CAPES replied that Guimaraes had no time available to
    address the issue.

    Another academic scholar whose position would imply taking care of the quality
    of research in Brazil, but who also enjoys the facilities of low credibility
    journals, is Jailson Bittencourt de Andrade, a professor at the Federal
    University of Bahia, counselor of the Brazilian Society for the Progress of
    Science and consultant of CNPQ, CAPES, FAPESP and FINEP. Andrade – who did not
    respond to the request for interview by VEJA – signed as

    co-author a published text
    in
    Scientific Research Publishing

    (SCIRP) at a

    price of $ 1,000 USD
    (just over 2500 Reais). This Chinese publisher is the
    same used by the Egyptian Mohamed El Naschie, alleged opposer of the theory of
    relativity, whose

    trajectory of overruns
    was pointed out by Nature in 2008. In 2010, the
    magazine published another text warning about the

    unethical practices
    of the very SCIRP, which copied articles from other
    reputable websites and added them to the pages of its more than 200 journals in
    order to make them look trustworthy. In addition, the SCIRP added to its
    editorial board flashy names that did not even know of its existence.

    This trick, by the way, is more frequent in the academic underworld than one
    might suppose. By this trick avails the publisher Multidisciplinary Digital
    Publishing Institute
    (MDPI) – where also appears
    articles by
    Andrade
    . The founder of MDPI, Shu-Kun Lin, has his name associated with
    corruption and plagiarism.

    The publisher says it is based in Switzerland and even charges for article
    publication in local currency, however great part of the employees are in China.
    The Italian biologist and geneticist Mario Capecchi, who won the Nobel Prize of
    Medicine in 2007, was included in the MDPI editorial board without being
    consulted. In this problematic publisher, which
    charges 1,600
    Swiss francs
    (4,200 Reais) to disseminate scientific articles, was published
    the article "Molecular
    Diagnostic and Pathogenesis of Hereditary Hemochromatosis
    ", which has among
    its authors the research’s dean of University of Sao Paulo, Jose Eduardo
    Krieger. "In works written by many hands, not always my will prevails,"
    justifies Krieger.

    It could be argued that many researchers end up publishing articles in journals
    without academic rigor induced by the score that they display in QUALIS. The
    Nigerian
    African
    Journal of Agricultural Research
    appears with the A2 concept in the
    CAPES classification, that is, only one step below the highest grade, A1,
    attributed to Science and Nature. Well: the journal became a

    laughing stock
    in Indonesia earlier this year after accepting a scientific
    document copied from the Web and with the name of the real authors replaced by
    two regional artists.

    In order to test the trustworthiness of the OA publishing model with doubtful
    profile, the biologist and journalist John Bohannon sent a fake scientific
    manuscript to 304 journals based in dozens of countries. One was the Brazilian
    publication Genetics and
    Molecular Research
    (GMR), owned by biologist Francisco Alberto de Moura
    Duarte, retired full professor at the University of Sao Paulo and president of
    Ribeirao Preto Scientific Research Foundation. In addition to the work contain
    blunders, the biologists that signed it (Roboodee Agnor, Annyassee Barree and
    Bellakah Motoday)were simply invented, as well as the Institute of Medicine
    Wassee, to which they said to belong, supposedly based in Eritrea. Of the 304
    publishers, 157 fell into the American’s trap and accepted the fake article. The
    GMR, which has journals classified with grades A1 and A2 at QUALIS, was among
    them. "The journalist acted in bad faith," justifies Duarte. The experience of
    Bohannon, that produced a

    long report in Science
    last year, recalls a scandal that became known as
    Sokal Affair. In 1996, the physicist and mathematician Alan Sokal, the
    University of New York, sent an purposely scam article to the postmodern journal
    Social Text, linked to Duke University Press. The idea was to prove that a essay
    full of half-truths and meaningless theories could be published if it was well
    written and exalted the ideological positions of the editors. The article
    claimed, among other things, that the number pi, one of the oldest geometry
    constants, was merely a product of Western thought, that is, if it had been
    discovered by Chinese, would not be equal to 3.1416 – and still so it was
    published without restrictions. Simultaneously with the publication of Social
    Text, Sokal announced the fraud in another publication, the Lingua Franca, and
    described the article as "a pastiche of leftist jargon, fawning references,
    pompous citations and complete nonsense".

    Although the perverse effects of sloppy scientific journals are still little
    discussed – and even little known – in Brazil, in other countries have already
    caused academic earthquakes. In February this year,

    Ibrahim Gashi
    , dean of the University of Pristina in Kosovo, ended up in the
    press for publishing articles in various suspicions journals. His goal was to
    accelerate a process of promotion. The university students revolted and had to
    be contained by the police. The situation only calmed down when Gashi resigned.
    A similar case occurred that month at the University of Iceland, where

    Þórhallur Örn Guðlaugsson
    , associate professor of management, who used to
    earn bonuses by published text, was suspended after the discovery that he relied
    on journals without credibility to disseminate his articles.

    The Kosovo students’ revolt is completely justified. By using the services of an
    academic journal, magazine or website that publishes anything by payment, the
    researcher has contributed to a chain of mistakes – that can even influence the
    choice of a well-positioned university in a ranking of higher education
    institutions based, in part, on faculty productivity. This type of distortion,
    unfortunately, has already reached Brazil. In the analysis from Thomson Reuters,
    a company with the largest database of scientific articles in the world, the
    country climbed eleven positions between 1993 and 2013, in the ranking of
    nations that produce the greatest amount of studies – today occupies the 13th
    place.

    If these studies were of good quality, would have an impact in another survey,
    the one from the British magazine

    Times Higher Education
    . This is the most respected international ranking
    of universities, which takes into account thirteen indicators to rank the 500
    best higher education institutions of the world. The excellence of the research
    is the item that influences most the classification. For years, only two
    Brazilian universities are among the 500 and, from 2011 until 2014, the
    University of Sao Paulo (USP) and State University of Campinas (UNICAMP) lost
    positions – USP fell 35 and UNICAMP, 38. Says the editor Phil Baty, responsible
    for the survey of the Times Higher Education: "Brazil should not worry about
    increasing the volume of its publications, but rather focus on high impact
    studies that expand the limits of our understanding of the world." In other
    words, the academic institutions in the country must not forget that second
    class scientific journals only publish second class articles. And with them,
    science is not going anywhere.

    The step by step to reach the pages of
    trustworthy journalsThe process of checking and
    technical review of a study can be repeated two, three or even more
    times
     

    Two fundamental characteristics separate the science
    dissemination journals guided by the seriousness of those who give up
    any rigor: the time between the receipt of the article and its eventual
    publication and the, so to speak, technical review process, performed by
    peers. In journals, magazines and science websites where payment is
    enough to have the article published, the content analysis of the texts
    is flawed or absent – not by chance, some publications offer online
    articles in just 48 hours. In renowned journals such as Nature or
    Science, the entire procedure, from the manuscript sending to its
    dissemination, it may take up to a year. Understand why.
     
    1 – The researcher sends the manuscript of his study to be evaluated
    by the scientific journal.

    2 – The editors of the magazine or specialized journal make sure that
    the subject of study is one of the topics covered by the publication –
    the most respected titles addresses a limited number of themes within a
    given field of knowledge.

    3 – The manuscript is sent to an editor familiar with the topic of the
    article, which evaluates it in partnership with scientific advisers
    chosen by him. Originality, clarity, conclusions and impacts on the
    involved community are some of the items considered at this stage.

    4 – Approved the manuscript, it is sent to the peer review process. The
    editor who evaluated the study in the previous step refers to two or
    three scientists capable of checking the technical aspects and the
    veracity of the research. Reviewers can reject the study – if there is
    considerable technical objections – or ask the author to make changes to
    correct any errors, make the article more understandable etc.

    5 – The reviewers can reject the study – if there is considerable
    technical objections – or ask the author to make changes to correct any
    errors, make the article more understandable etc.

    6 – Made the recommended adjusts, the author resends the manuscript for
    scientific publication. In publishers of undeniable credibility, the
    process of peer review can be repeated two, three or even more times.

    7 – The article is published when most reviewers agree that it is free
    of any failure.
     

  • John Smith February 27, 2015 at 12:42 pm

    Translated from the original in Portuguese. Published in FOLHA – influential Brazilian daily newspaper.

    Jan/06/2015 – Scientific production and academic garbage in Brazil
    http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/fsp/opiniao/202892-producao-cientifica-e-lixo-academico-no-brasil.shtml

    The resistance of the mediocres and the lack of political courage by authorities prevent the growth of high quality science in our country.

    Rogerio Cezar de Cerqueira Leite (*)

    Two articles recently published in the British journal “Nature”, specialized in science, leave Brazil and in particular the Brazilian academic community, deeply ashamed.

    The “Nature” accuses us, in the first place, of producing more garbage than knowledge in science. In the most severe magazines about quality of science, selected as excellent by the journal, Brazilian scientists fill only 1% of publications.

    When including less qualified journals, however, still included among the indexed, Brazil is responsible for 2.5%. What the “Nature” generously omits are the publications in non-indexed journals, which contain significant number of Brazilian publications, a true academic garbage.

    The second humiliating blow to the Brazilian science exposed by the magazine refers to the efficient use of resources applied to research. Out of 53 countries surveyed, Brazil is in 50th place. Better than only Egypt, Turkey and Malaysia.

    Take an example. The Brazil published 670 articles in prestigious journals, while in the same period Chile published 717 in those same magazines. The deeply disturbing fact is that while Brazil spends on science $ 30 billions USD, Chile spent only $ 2 billions USD.

    I mean, Chile, which incidentally is not among the first in efficiency in the scientific world, is 15 times more efficient than Brazil. Something is wrong, deeply wrong. The Brazilian academy, that is, universities and research institutes produce more low quality than good quality research and produces it at very high cost. There are certainly causes, perhaps many, for this inadequacy.

    The first stems from a demagogic “distributivism”. Clearly it would be desirable that new research centers could be developed in areas not yet developed in the country. But it is a serious mistake to expect that a research activity whatsoever will economically develop a region without proper culture to live with this research.

    It would be desirable that massive investments were applied to research in institutions located in underdeveloped regions, but whose environment is able to absorb the benefits of this insertion.

    The second evil, which is cause of the unquestionable small and expensive production of knowledge is obsolete labor regime governing the labor of the research sector in public universities and most institutes.

    The researcher wins a contest – frequently falsified – early in his career. It is lifelong. Often there is no need to work to have a raise or climb positions in his career. Now, what would then be the motivation to do research?

    The third problem is the management system of public universities and research institutions, whose bureaucracy buries any initiative of the few well-meaning teachers and researchers who have not quit yet.

    Well. There is a formula that avoids all these evils and has already been successfully tested in some of the scientific institutions in Brazil: The social organization. The resistance of the mediocres and parasites and lack of political courage of some of our authorities prevent the solution of this problem.

    (*) Rogerio Cezar de Cerqueira Leite, physicist, is professor emeritus of UNICAMP, member of the National Council of Science and Technology and member of the Editorial Board of FOLHA.

  • Viva! February 27, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    So, Fernanda Allegretti has said what I have been saying for at least 2 years now: massive support for questionable OA journals, not only as authors, but even more importantly as editors. I simply cannot understand what benefit the Brazilian Government could have possibly found in spurring its scientists to flood the literature with OA papers and apparent pseudo-academic influence at a very heavy cost. That massive influx of garbage in many instances (one has to just look at the piles of it in Nigerian Academic Journals’ journals to get a feel for this) is going to bite them back in the place where it really hurts, the proverbial Portuguese “cu”. Brazil is a serious case, IMHO, because it is one of the most powerful BRICS members, with the most powerful economy in South America, plenty of land, and natural wealth also being horribly explored). A rapid rise to power and wealth is also accompanied with scandals: history has always shown us this. Now who is going to analyze all of that literature published in the “predatory” OA journals by Brazilians? How can there ever be economic justice for wasted funds? Maybe Ivan and Adam can get more detailed insight in their trip to the Rio congress in the middle of this year.

  • AMW February 28, 2015 at 12:14 am

    But let’s remember that in the Saad case the papers are in real journals, particularly Diabetes.

    As for the C-list journals, no one should analyse any of these papers; the best thing is to see them as existing on an entirely different planet. The problem is that they can nevertheless distort things; for example how can students setting out in the field of science know what is reliable and what is genuine?

    • Jose Silva February 28, 2015 at 7:53 am

      Brazil has a problem with predatory journals. Examples:

      1 – The article with 13 pages and 2 authors, including the former director of the UNICAMP School of Medical Sciences – Mario Jose Abdalla Saad, took 35 working days to be accepted for publication by MDPI at the price of $ 1400 CHF ($ 1472 USD).

      http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/3/829
      Received: 19 November 2012 / Accepted: 15 January 2013

      2 – The article with 15 pages and 8 authors, including the current President of the Brazilian Society for the Progress of Science – Helena Bonciani Nader, took 30 working days to be accepted for publication by MDPI the price of $ 1800 CHF ($ 1892 USD)

      http://www.mdpi.com/1660-3397/11/8/2722
      Received: 3 May 2013 / Accepted: 17 June 2013

      The following link shows what Jeffrey Beall has to say about the MDPI.

      http://scholarlyoa.com/2014/02/18/chinese-publishner-mdpi-added-to-list-of-questionable-publishers/

  • Viva! February 28, 2015 at 2:52 am

    AMW, indeed, your observation is absolutely spot on. If the elite is abusing the top level journals, and the bottom-end feeders are also abusing the naiviety and easy money to publish whatever they want in the non-academic journals, then what incentive is there in Brazil to work honestly, or with pride? How does one differentiate what is good and what is not? I am not Brazilian, but if I could look Saad in the eyes, I would tell him, your attitude and your legal recourse was wrong. For one simple reason: you sent the absolutely wrong message to young Brazilian scientists. I thought that leading scientists were supposed to be role models, not show-offs. But showing off one’s power in the way Saad did sends the absolute wrong message to our youth. Open, frank discussion, even if critical, is the only way forward for science. As scientists, we all are responsible towards our science, and when there are criticisms, we have to address them, no matter how difficult it is. Mentalizing the older generation, in particular, is proving to be quite difficult, because they have had it good, and fairly leniently, until quite recently, when the rules, the scrutiny and the “ethics” had been quite lax (at least as I see it comparing the times now and let’s say 10 years ago).

  • Nobody February 28, 2015 at 9:54 am

    VIVA!: Would you say that full professors, who served as dean of UNICAMP medical school, are giving good examples by publishing in notable predatory journals on Beall’s list?

    Jose Antonio Rocha Gontijo
    http://file.scirp.org/Html/11-8202074_30851.htm
    Received 6 March 2012, accepted 21 April 2012
    (33 working days to acceptance)

    Mario Jose Abdalla Saad
    http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/3/829
    Received: 19 November 2012, Accepted: 15 January 2013
    (35 working days to acceptance)

    PS: co-authors on some of the articles under concern by DIABETES.

  • Viva! February 28, 2015 at 12:59 pm

    Jose and Nobody, although I can appreciate the criticisms of MDPI and SCIRP, and my own experiences with these publishers have been negative, do you have evidence that bad or no peer review actually took place within 30-35 days, or that there are academic faults in these 4 papers? If yes, then please post them at PubPeer using the DOIs. So, if peer review did take place, and if it was valid, then in fact, many scientists, not only Brazilians, would be quite happy to pay those prices because they would know that rapid quality control and processing was assured. If, in fact, valid and strict peer review took place, and if in fact there are no academic weaknesses to those two papers, this would in fact fortify MDPI/SCIRP as valid scholarly and academic OA publishers, surely? On a final note, the Beall list is imperfect, and it is not fixed, that is why he states “Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers”. The fact that many good papers and good scientists have published in these publishers’ journals does, I admit, make the argument more difficult to make either way because the waters are muddied.

  • Nobody February 28, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Viva!

    http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/64/3/673.abstract
    Received May 1, 2014, Accepted October 9, 2014 – 114 working days

    hint 100 > 30 😉

    A business is always oriented to satisfy the necessity of the client. When the author pays, the publisher is oriented towards acceptance in order to please the author, who is the client. When the reader pays, the publisher is oriented towards quality in order to please the reader, who is the client.

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