Following “personal attacks and threats,” Elsevier plant journal makes author persona non grata

Scientia HorticulturaeAn Elsevier journal has taken “the exceptional step of ceasing to communicate” with a scientist-critic after a series of “unfounded personal attacks and threats.” The move means that the journal, Scientia Horticulturae, will not review any papers that include the critic, Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, as an author.

Here is the text of the letter (pdf here, obtained from an anonymous source), signed by Gert Jan-Geraeds:

I am a Publishing Director for Elsevier, publisher of the journal Scientia Horticulturae. I am contacting you with regard to your communications with the journal’s editors and publishers since 2010.

Elsevier fully supports scholarly discussion as a vital part of scientific communication and progress. In that spirit, our editors and publishers have repeatedly responded to your concerns over the past years. However, there is a difference between healthy dialogue and disagreement about science and unfounded personal attacks and threats. In addition, we find unfounded accusations forwarded to outside parties, whom have little or nothing to do with the science at all, inappropriate and not conducive to scientific discourse.

For example, you have heavily criticized the editors’ requests for you and your co-authors to confirm that all authors have fulfilled the authorship criteria. As we have explained to you, the reason for these requests is that we know of instances where you did not qualify as an author under our journal guidelines, which are identical to the ICMJE criteria for authorship.

Therefore, we now take the exceptional step of ceasing to communicate with you, and that includes any review of your papers. Since you do not communicate with the Journal and Elsevier in a professional manner, we will neither recognize nor respond to your attacks. The Editors of the journal also agree with this decision. We regret that we will have to take this very unusual step, but in this case there is no other choice.

The restriction is apparently limited to Scientia Horticulturae, and the letter does not use the word “ban,” although this is of course effectively the same thing.

Readers of Retraction Watch will be familiar with Teixeira da Silva’s name, as he is a frequent commenter. For those who do not know him, he is a former plant researcher at a Japanese university who has been crusading for years against what he considers corruption in scientific publishing, particularly in the plant sciences.

For a sense of what the journal is referring to, here is quote from a message Teixeira da Silva sent the editors, copying a number of other scientists, after the journal rejected one of his papers:

I will expose your fraud to every scientist I know, and make my case public from now on that corruption and fraud, lack of professionalism and libel are the four corner-stones for the publishing frame-work by Elsevier and this journal, Scientia Horticulturae.

In another email, in which he called for the immediate resignation of the journal’s two editors-in-chief, Teixeira da Silva wrote (capital letters his):

Moreover, if I do not see a resignation in 72 hours, I will immediately post this libelous case of editorial bias and witch-hunting on Retraction Watch and other blogs.


We asked Teixeira da Silva to comment on the letter, whether he agreed with the decision of the editors and publisher, and how he would respond to allegations that he has engaged in “unfounded personal attacks and threats” and “unfounded accusations.” He did not respond directly to our specific questions, but sent this comment:

I am quite surprised to be receiving a PDF file from Retraction Watch that is addressed to me and not to Retraction Watch. That document was only in my hands for at most 2 hours. Considering that this is a confidential document that was provided by Elsevier Ltd. to me, exclusively, and that Retraction Watch has not formally received this document from me, I can only conclude that there has been foul play. Has Elsevier provided this document to Retraction Watch? Has the content and the background been duly researched by Retraction Watch? If yes, then there is absolutely no need to respond to any query by Retraction Watch since Ivan and Adam will thus know all the answers.

Elsevier declined to comment, saying that the letter spoke for itself.

108 thoughts on “Following “personal attacks and threats,” Elsevier plant journal makes author persona non grata”

  1. I wish to thank Retraction Watch for this opportunity of very briefly addressing this important issue, as I have not been offered sufficient time to prepare, or provide, comments that summarize several years of conflict with Elsevier Ltd., that will impact all plant, including horticultural and agricultural scientists, that have published in, or decide to publish in Elsevier journals. I also consider that all quotes by Ivan and dam to have been taken out of context. And, understandably, Elsevier has declined to provide comment as they will continue to reap massive profits while distorting the truth.

    Here are my answers to the two questions posed to me earlier and to which I responded as indicated above: “Do you agree with the decision of the editors and publisher? How do you respond to allegations that you have engaged in “unfounded personal attacks and threats” and “unfounded accusations?”

    1) I am delighted with the decision made by the publisher and editors. It now gives me the freedom to expose what I consider fraud by the editor board of this journal, the conflicts of interest, and the unsuccessful attempts by the publisher to silence my voice for years. It gives me the freedom to say that we must not fear the iron hand of powerful, politically motivated editor boards, or their members, or publishers that have fake pseudo-ethics. I am quite happy to engage with the community in exploring the real motivations behind me being banned. Ironically, I had already referred to myself as a persona non grata:

    2) The ideological differences that I have had with this publisher, and with several members of this editor board, over the past several years, is riddled with deep and important conflicts of interest, real, or perceived. The history of this conflict goes back as far as 2005-2007, in my opinion, when I started my own publisher Global Science Books Ltd. Since then, there have been multiple incidences which have gradually placed me at an ideological distance with Elsevier, starting with the links that Elsevier Ltd. parent company, Reed-Elsevier, had with the weapons industry, which clearly demonstrated to me that this was a company and publisher that was willing to twist ethics in such a way as to satisfy its capitalistic ends. The letter, written by someone with whom I have never had any contact ever before (Gert Jan-Geraeds), and who is unsuitably qualified as a scientist, much less in plant science, is riddled with what I claim are factual inaccuracies, and fallacies. This letter, which has the typical feel of a lawyer-doctored statement, is supposedly reflecting a decision by the entire Scientia Horticulturae editor board, which I already showed had different membership displayed publically: It is not a coincidence that I am banned from my favorite journal only 2 weeks after I have provided what I think is scathing evidence. I am happy to provide, should Retraction Watch encourage this, all necessary communications and documentation, to prove that this banning is nothing less than a politically motivated stunt, primarily by Prof. Dietmar Schwarz at IGZEV, Germany, and by Dr. Samir C. Debnath, at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, two of the six editors in chief, but supported by all editors (at least according to the formal declaration by Elsevier Ltd.). The conflict with Elsevier Ltd. revolves around the use of guidelines, that are contradictory, and hypocritical. I have expanded on this issue here:

    I have questioned why Elsevier’s author services are not considered to be a form of ghost authorship since services that were provided are never acknowledged:

    I have been critical of the money-linked marriage with COPE, and believe that being the highest paying COPE client, that Elsevier shares serious conflicts of inters and is this not in an ethical position to dictate to others what is ethical, or not, even critical of COPE for not calling out its main client, Elsevier, for providing contradictory “authorship guidelines”:

    I have even questioned why an editor board member, who is guilty of partial duplication, Prof. Gregory E. Welbaum, from Virginia Tech, should be able to be an editor board and harass me with hypocritical rules, and still stay on the editor board:

    One cannot also discount the fact that Retraction Watch and Elsevier write about each other:

    Considering that these lines of evidence are against the editor board of this journal, that I have so fervently supported for years, alone and with colleagues from around the world, it is so obvious that Elsevier’s response to Retraction Watch’s request for comment was met with: “the letter spoke for itself”. This is the problem. It doesn’t speak for itself.

    It indicates to me that Elsevier has, for the first time in its history, used its “ethical guidelines” as a weapon of victimization.

    I am nothing less than a victim of corporate abuse, politically motivated by scientists who hold excessive power (i.e., the editors in the editor board of Scientia Horticulturae). It has been a terribly exhausting and frustrating battle with Elsevier for at least 4 years in which my requests are almost never (estimated 80%) responded to, unlike what “Dr.” Jan Geraeds falsely claims). Of course, I can prove all of that, too in lengthy e-mails. One can start to get a small sense of the complexity of my research/science history here:

    I look forward to working with the scientific community, and with Retraction Watch, to expose the truth about Elsevier fraud and conspiracy. There is no doubt that my communications could have been friendlier, or more tone-conscious on occasion, but when one makes multiple queries and complaints, and receives silence as the response, desperation can set in. When you ask spicy questions that ruffle feathers and no one answers, then what do you do?

    As scientists, we are not understood by marketing management, and we are treated as commodities that are meant to simply conform to rules, many of which are non-sensical.

    A war has begun. I am not afraid of this corporation, its pseudo-ethics, double values and pawns who serve blindly on the editor boards of a journal that games the impact factor blindly and that victimizes colleagues who work a life-time for science.

    May David now step out to meet Goliath. What am I, with a small stone in hand, meant to do to this company that has the power to squash anything and anyone it wants?:
    An interesting “legal” page by Elsevier:

    1. PS: as if the banning from Scientia Horticulturae wasn’t good enough, just a day earlier, Elsevier Ltd. sent me the following e-mail (a case of black humour?):

      “On Wednesday, April 9, 2014 9:50 PM, Elsevier [e-mail edited out] … wrote:

      Dear Dr. Teixeira Da Silva ,

      I recently contacted you regarding the final decision you received for your article submitted to Scientia Horticulturae.

      We are conducting a short research study to see how satisfied you are with the way your article was managed. Your responses will be used to help improve the publication services we currently offer. If you have not yet had chance to complete the survey, it is not too late to do so.

      It will only take about 10 minutes to complete the survey online, and your feedback is very important to ensure the accuracy of the research.

      To start the survey please click ONCE here

      [web-site edited out]

      If you encounter any problems during the survey, please contact [e-mail edited out]

      Yours sincerely,

      Louise Hall
      Market Research

  2. Okay, can someone explain what exactly is going on here? This looks like a grade school fight between classmates, with Elsevier having fingers in his ears yelling loudly ‘Lalalalala – I can’t hear you’

    1. Trust me, quarterback, I’m the guy who was standing closest to the speaker when it went “Lalalalala”!

  3. I have no doubt Teixeira da Silva could be a rather vexatious correspondent and does often seem to overstate his case – but that is what the email spam folder is for. The nasty and petty actions of the journal seems to suggest that perhaps there was a case to answer at the heart of it. Quite why RW wants to act as a clearing house for such disputes is beyond me.

    I don’t see why “ceasing to communicate with someone” is either an exceptional or newsworthy event. People make the decision to cease to communicate with me all the time – usually, but not limited to, attractive girls.

    1. Now for some real facts. And some critique of Retraction Watch, too. I received the PDF at 7:58 pm (Japan time). I only opened it at about 10 pm, and responded to Geraeds at 10:09 pm, with the following:
      “Dear Mr. Geraeds, I would like to use your e-mail as the perfect example of what the problem with Elsevier Ltd. is. A back-stabbing, unethical, war-mongering pseudo-publisher. You use fake, double definitions for authorship, you pay COPE for pseudo-ethics and you think that by banning me from your journal you can silence the voices of scientists. My name is “da” not “de”. Week after week, month after month, scientists like me have to deal with the incompetence of your publishing company. You fail to deal with libel, you fail to deal with editorial incompetence and you fail to address problems in the literature. By banning me from Elsevier’s Scientia Horticulturae, you have now declared open war. I thank Elsevier for its exceptional decision. It has suddenly given my clarity to my purpose in science. Cordially, Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

      Admittedly, the wording was a little strong, but so would yours also be if you suddenly receved this knife in your back, delivered in PDF format, saying that the journal you have most supported your entire career, is banning you from publishing therein. And all of this from a total stranger. If at least the editors had the “cojones” to man-up (except for the only woman of two on the editor board, B. Pennisi) and offer their banning sentence in the face. This makes all of those editors guilty. Guilty of cowardice. And, now that I am here, isn’t this editor board extremely biased/sexist in having an almost man-only editor board?

      Given my trust in Ivan at RW, I coped him on this e-mail. I understand that he cannot indicate his anonymous source, but I ask, how can Retraction Watch post a PDF that it received after 10:09 pm, and analyze the case and also write the RW post all within the space of 2-3 hours? I have been asking RW to cover so many plant papers that have problems for months now. They have covered one in the journal that has now banned me — — but my other requests have always been met with “we’ll deal with this soon” or “we’re too busy.” Yet, he decided to make a priority of this letter. That interrupts a years-long conflict I have had with this publisher, very abruptly, a process of questioning and examining Elsevier, the editors and this journal, that has taken years to develop.

      Why did Retraction Watch choose to represent this story when there are retractions that deserve urgent attaention (and have needed attention for months)? I think if we can get past this aspect, then I can start to post here, piece by piece, my long and horrific struggle against select twisted ideologies of this publisher and the silent aggression by the ivory-tower editors. I hope that Retraction Watch has enough memory to accomodate all I have to post.

      Retraction Watch decided to make me a topic of discussion, or focus, and now they must responsibly bear with all the information I have to impart.

    2. littlegreyrabbit: “Ceasing to communicate with someone” is actually an exceptional event in the case of Elsevier, if you bear in mind that editors almost never reply to reader’s queries. Maybe I’m wrong, although it’s my experience regarding this kind of claims with journals like Spectrochimica Acta, the Journal of Molecular Structure, etc. This is more or less the situation: the communication can’t be broken since communication never started.

      1. Actually Sylvaine, communication did start, as I will prove, but since the questions got uncomfortable for the editors, they only responded to a tenth of my queries, or did not respond at all (the most frequent case). In fact, in my now standard rather provocative language and way of addressng these individuals, I clearly invited the editors to respond publically here on RW. Notice also how I am querying the status of 5 papers that are currently in three stages of review.

        “On Thursday, April 10, 2014 5:33 AM, Jaime Silva wrote:

        Dear Scientia Horticulturae editors,

        Also copied: Ivan Oransky and Adam Marcus of Retraction Watch, who I encourage you to engage with, openly and in a transparent manner, so that the full history of this conflict can be understood


        The story is now public, thanks to an informant, which would have had to have been an insider at Elsevier or Scientia Horticulturae, or a wicked plot by Retraction Watch (these are the only two viable answers). Your failure to respond professionally to most of my questions will now be exposed publically too, email by e-mail. Lack of response by lack of response. And you may thank yourselves and your arrogance and excessive power for that. You (i.e., Elsevier and Scientia Horticulturae) have in essence successfully been able to destroyed my name definitively. I wil now fight back with whatever tool I have avaialble, to show the world of plant science, this injustice, act of revenge and lack of ethics. You have in essence turned this into a class warfare. My back is broken, my hair is white, my reputation has been repeatedly soiled and my scientific career has been continuously mocked by you bunch of arrogant, hypocritical elitists. But my spirit is young and my will to fight this injustice has only just been born. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

        On Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:14 PM, Jaime Silva wrote:

        Dear Drs. J.P. Bower, S.C. Debnath, W.W. Guo, T. Moriguchi, B. Pennisi, D. Schwarz,

        Editors-in-Chief, Scientia Horticulturae, I have just received a formal notice from Elsevier Ltd. in Amsterdam indicating that you, i.e., the Scientia Horticlturae editor board, have unanimously decided to ban me from publishing in Scientia Horticulturae. Please indicate exactly the fate of the 5 manuscripts in processing: one R1 revision, three submissions and one proof.
        1) Somatic Embryogenesis of Turkish Cyclamen persicum Mill. (proof)
        2) Genetic control of flower development, color and senescence of Dendrobium orchids (R1, with editor)
        3) Dendrobium micropropagation: a review (under review)
        4) Pollen morphology of Magnolia and related genera in China and its taxonomic implications in Magnolioideae (Required Reviews Completed)
        5) Anthurium in vitro: A review (Required Reviews Completed)
        Since this decision affects several scientists from multiple countries and from multiple institutes, we need to know the exact destiny of these papers. Please also indicate, clearly, how this decision affects any other author that has published with me, in Scientia Horticulturae, retroactively, or in the future. Sincerely, Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

        1. And, at 5:58 this early morning in the land of the rising sun, the sensitive response from Elsevier customer support: “Dear Customer, Thank you for contacting Journals Submission Customer Support. This is an automated acknowledgement to confirm that we have received your email. For all future correspondence please quote your unique reference number provided in the subject header of this email. Our current response time is a 48 hours. If you have not already visited our self-help site, please go to where you can find frequently asked questions, online tutorials and instructions which may help to resolve your query. Regards, Journals Submission Customer Support”

          Firstly, Elsevier, I am NOT your customer, but I do know that you make good money from the intellect that I have invested in Scientia Horticulturae over a decade, or so. In fact, if you look at the top page of Scientia Horticulturae, you may notice, on the list of most downloaded articles, ranked third, a familiar name:

          Interestingly enough, the number 4 rank, a paper by Chung et al. (2009) ( contains two figures which seem to be from the Chen and Chang (2006) paper on Phalenopsis amabilis (, without copyright permission notice, without appropriate and due citation to the source. For example, the figure legends do not acknowledge the source at all. But Elsevier will harshly punish me for being critical of Elsevier but will allow “bowed” figures t be published. In fact, complained about this case of misconduct to Prof. Schwarz in about 2010, and that seems to be one of the catalysts fr the conflict we are now witnessing today. The fact that you did not correct the literature, or better ye, retract that paper, says volumes not about my noisy complaint, but about the true aspirations, or lack thereof, of academic integrity in your journal.

          I will have to dive very deeply now into my archives to find my formal email of complain about that paper by Chugh, Guha and Usha Rao.

          1. I found the e-mail. My e-mail and post-publication peer review that was sent on March 31, 2012, to Professor Usha Rao and co-authors and his entire department of 29 individuals. The exact same e-mail was then sent to Scientia Horticulturae. Incidentally, Retraction Watch also received a formal copy on Saturday, April 14, 2012 11:06 AM.

            “Dear Samira Chugh, Satyakam Guha and Prof. I. Usha Rao,
            CC to department members:

            Note: 3 files are attached

            Congratulations, your review is the top downloaded review in for horticulture in 2011. This is a world-class achievement based on, I believe the world’s most important group or ornamentals.

            This is why it should be carefully scrutinized and critiqued by peers globally. And that is the purpose of this e-mail. To learn the truth. As a peer, I am providing you below with my most critical peer review, which has been based on a very close and painfully long scrutiny of the review material.

            As you know, I am also heavily involved in orchid research and have worked extensively on several genera.

            I have a few queries about the review which I would like you to respond to because they are important issues to me and to orchid scientists:

            a) You have a beautiful quote at the start of the review “‘‘If nature ever showed her playfulness in the formation of flowers, this is visible in the most striking way among the orchids’’”, but WHO actually wrote this? Do you know that you cannot steal words from someone else without acknowledging the source?

            b) Until 2008/2009, I have personally written many papers examining the role of the explant in hybrid Cymbidium, as TCLs or in callus induction or PLB induction. All of my results were published in high level peer reviewed journals. However, only one of those papers was referenced in your review. Why is that? (of 19 papers published in this field, only 1 was included and 18 were excluded. Does this sound normal to you? Please see list attached whose references were, in my opinion, professionally snubbed) Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            c) What is Paphiopedilum delanti ? (Page 2) I only know delenatii Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            d) Is Rhynchostylis a species or a genus? Last time I checked, it was a genus? (Page 2) Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            e) Why has 2,4-D not been defined in full on page 3, at first mention?

            f) Why are none of the abbreviations in Table 1, Page 3, defined? Is the novice reader supposed to guess what are CW, NA, BAP, NAA, IAA etc? Why are the units al different? So some you define as mg/l and others as mgdm-3. Also none of the media are fully defined such as N&N, VW, etc. Actually, what is N&N medium? Not in the table nor in the references. Who was the editor in chief (EiC) in charge of the review of this? And why did you also not use units consistently? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            g) In Table 1, except for Morel, why are ONLY Indian scientists listed? Would you not consider this table and in fact the entire review to be completely biased towards Indian Research? Again, who was the editor or EiC in charge of this?

            h) Also in the text (right column) of page 3, the abbreviations NAA, BAP, CW, TDZ have not been defined at first mention. Why not? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            i) How was this paper accepted with such serious grammatical errors. For example, you state “This micropropagation protocol utilizes two media” when referring to the Geetha and Shetty (2000) reference. The past tense should be used “utilized”. “it is possible” should be “it was possible” etc, etc. Which editor or EiC approved the poor grammar of this paper?

            j) “shoot tip culture is not always considered economical since it leads to the arrest of growth and development of the mother plant” (page 4) I have never heard such a stupid and dyslexic comment as this before. What on earth is the link between economy and shoot tip culture and arrested development. This shows that text was either just purely copied without any analysis, or you have absolutely no idea about how shoot tip growth takes place. Either way, who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            k) What is an “adventive shoot buds”? I only know adventitious shoot buds. (Page 4) Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            l) half strength, dose dependent, etc. (Page 4) and so many other cases throughout the reviewe are all incorrect. They need to be hyphenated, so half-strength, dose-dependent, etc. “from leaf tip region” should be “from the leaf tip region”. FULL of minor grammatical errors. Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            m) Page 4. TIBA, PCIB, GA3 all undefined! Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            n) “Though maximum reports on orchid micropropagation surveyed have used leaves as the starting material (Table 2), popular use of leaf explant-mediated mass scale cultivation of commercially
            important orchid species in industries is restricted because of the time and costs involved in standardizing the above factors.” This whole paragraph makes no sense whatsoever. Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            o) Page 5 and Page 6, Figures 1 and Fig 2. Those are INCREDIBLE photos of Phalaenopsis amabilis! Fantastic work on the microscopy. However, the quality of the figures is rather poor, a little bit fuzzy, suggesting that the figures were copied. Moreover, I could not find any work that you (Chugh/Usha Rao) did on this orchid genus or species, which is odd, because the figures and the figure legends suggest that this is your work with so much perfect detail described. My question: are these your figures? If not, then why has proper recognition been given to the true authors and source?

            p) Table 3: where is Michio Tanaka? He is the most famous person involved in leaf and inflorescence culture in vitro of Phalaenopsis. How can you snub a leader? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            q) “Although mature inflorescences give poor shoot formation, the availability of cut flowers is in plenty and with improved techniques the shoot formation can be increased (Nuraini and Shaib, 1992).” Is this English? What is the scientific value of this claim? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            r) “The Asiatic temperate orchid species such as cymbidiums have received less attention for propagation using tissue culture methods than other orchids due in part to the rareness and difficulty involved in collecting sufficient amounts of experimental material. The multiplication rate of the Oriental cymbidiums under natural conditions is very low as compared to the tropical or subtropical orchids. Furthermore, conditions and requirements for the clonal propagation of temperate orchid species and their hybrids are much more stringent than for the tropical orchids.” Are you joking with me? My extensive research has shown how wonderfully easy it is NOW that I did the research, to successfully clonally propagate Cymbidiums in vitro. See some of the 18 publications you decided to snub in your review from my list attached, especially the Teixeira da Silva and Tanaka (2006) paper which I believe was one of the most ground-breaking publications in orchid tissue culture, focusing on TCLs and explants, the core topic of your review. Also, related to Cymbidium kanran and related tropical, Asiatic and Oriental Cymbidiums, I see absolutely ZERO work done by Japanese. Such wonderful work has been done by Japanese scientists, e.g. in Jpn J Hort Sci, etc, by Fukai, Goi, etc. Where are the 3 great papers by Huan and Tanaka on Cymbidium published in 2004 in such top level journals as Plant Science, Environmental Control in Biology, etc??? Where is the work on light effect on explant growth and the effect of CO2-enrichment and photoautotrophic micropropagation that are fundamental studies focusing on the explant and its response to these conditions? Again, excellent work, mainly by Tanaka, Huan, Kubota, Kozai, etc TOTALLY ignored. Another professional snub made to elevate Indian research unfairly and in a biased way? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content? Actually, we want to know from the publisher who were the peer reviewers for this paper.

            s) Table 4: What is Cymbidium ensuifolium? I only know Cymbidium ensifolium!! Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            t) In Table 4, there is a massive mix of units, sometimes mg/l, sometime micromolar. Why did the authors not use standard units throughout? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            u) Page 8. What are “Protocorm-like shoots”? Is this a new term in orchid biotechnology and tissue culture? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            v) Page 8: “… hormone free MS medium. Shimasaki and Uemoto (1990) suggested that the application of exogenous plant growth regulators…” Why are the terms hormones (which should actually be phytohormones) and plant growth regulators (sometimes just called growth regulators on page 9) not been used consistently throughout the review? Inconsistency which will cause confusion for the reader, as will most of the scientific errors and incongruences listed in this complaint e-mail. Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            w) Page 8: Cymbidium forrestii is incorrect. It is Cymbidium goeringii subsp. goeringii var. forrestii (Yunnanese Spring Orchid). You are teaching the public and peers wrong information. This is deceitful. Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            x) Page 8: Ironically, coconut water was not abbreviated to CW… Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            y) Page 9: of PLBs formed; but greatly increased callus formation Should be a comma not an inverted comma. Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            z) Page 9: “The direct root tip meristem conversion of C. fimbriatum into buds points to a relatively lower determination state of their cells compared to the other orchid root meristems like Oncidium (Kerbauy, 1984b) and Cattleya (Kerbauy, 1991) where an intermediate callus is formed.” So are Cattleya and Oncidium root meristems? That is the ACTUAL meaning of the sentence! Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            aa) Table 5. I think I can confidently say that no-one has done more work on TCLs than me (Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva), especially in orchids, and especially in the past 5-8 years. Why was only one study mentioned when clearly another 10-15 were snubbed (Word list attached)? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            ab) Page 9: “The thin cell layer (TCL) system consists of explants of a small size excised from different plant organs (stems, leaves, floral inflorescences, flower primordia or floral organs, cotyledons,
            hypo-/epicotyl, apical zone or embryo), either longitudinally (lTCL), or transversally (tTCL). lTCLs contain only one tissue type, such as a monolayer of epidermal cells, whereas tTCLs include a
            small number of cells from different tissue types: epidermal, cortical, cambium, perivascular and medullary tissue, parenchyma cells (Tran Thanh Van, 1980).” Are you sure this was a T T Van quote?…

            ac) Page 9: “According to Rout et al. (2006) the efficiency of thin cell layer culture is very high compared to the conventional technique of tissue culture.” That is another scam publication published by another scam journal, Biotechnology Advances, but that will be challenged separately. For now, what is important is Indian scientists blindly supports Indian scientist. In the same paragraph, protocorm-like bodies was not abbreviated to PLBs. Moreover, why do Indians keep calling scientists workers? It is so insulting, like scientists are factory workers, or something like that. No sense, and no sensibility. Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            ad) Page 10: coconut water, thin cell layers, not abbreviated. Then, in section 4, CW defined for the first time! Bravo! Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            ae) On page 10, in section 6, Problems in orchid micropropagation “Though orchid micropropagation has shown spectacular development in the recent years, the wide spread use of micropropagation is believed to be still handicapped due to some major problems that have been highlighted below.” Is this English? The only handicap I see is YOUR abuse of orchids to write this review FULL of errors. I would say that you have left off one problem, actually, no two, problems off the list: 1) you; 2) this power-grabbing publisher.

            af) Page 1: Massive section on substrates and greenhouse media, i.e., Kishore and Franco papers. Irrelevant to the review. Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            ag) Why was in vitro flowering not even discussed once? Massive gap in this review. Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            ah) Reference problems: 1. Begum et al. 1994. Who is Tamakli? 2. The order of Chen and Chan references are a total mess. 3. Chen and Chan reference 2006. Seen those photos anywhere? 4. In Griesbach reference, who is Jainick? 5. Kerbauy reference 1988, what thesis? PhD? MSc? What university? 6. Kraus and Monteiro 1989. Aspect or aspects? 7. Nhat and Dung 2006. Who is Nhat? 8. Nayak 1998, Nhat and Dung 2006, Prakssh 1996 and Sharma and Vij 1997 Why is in vitro not written in italics? 9. Vijay and Raina 2000. In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. 36, Is that Plant or Animal? 10. Yam, T.W., Arditti, J., 2009. History of orchid propagation: a mirror of the history of biotechnology. Plant Biotechnol. Rep. 3, 1–56. Should you be referencing papers in journals that have received an Impact Factor illegally? Basically the major problem is other researchers will most likely reference your reference, reference your erroneous references and not have access to important references like mine because you and the publisher have done a sloppy job of the peer review. Poor references are then referenced by other snub publishers and journals in fake or pseudo-peer-reviewed journals all with one aim: to falsely obtain an Impact Factor.

            ai) Please make the following full text available “Reddy, J., 2008. Biotechnology of Orchids. I.K. International, New Delhi, India.” This publisher has a reputation of publishing, like several other Indian publishers, copyrighted material without acknowledging the source = copyright theft! I have never heard of Reddy, so how can he/she write a book about orchid biotech? Who was the editor or EiC in charge of overseeing the scientific content?

            aj) Do you think that a check by iThenticate software might yield plagiaristic text?

            ak) Please provide the peer review reports for this paper and the name of the Editor-in-Chief in charge of this review.

            Al) It is possible that the list of irregularities be much larger, but I will leave that for the wider orchid community to judge and submit their claims 7 days after you have had a fair opportunity to respond.

            My peer review decision: Reject.

            As you can see, the review is actually important in terms of theme. But there are such fundamental scientific problems and extremely suspect information and sources of information that it casts a sserious doubt on the actual validity of the entire review! As a peer, I would say to your review “FAIL and REJECT”. And to the editors and peers, I would also say “BAD and SLOPPY and UNPROFFESSIONAL JOB”. And to the publisher I would say “SHAME for publishing this scam review”. Elsevier and in this specific case, Scientia Horticulturae. Finally what this reveals is a desperate and dirty grab for power by Elsevier and an unregulated, wild-wild west world of science publishing that focuses on lining the pockets of the managerial elite with big profits while also padding the fraudulent Impact Factor, for which scientists have now become idiotic slaves, such as yourself, most likely reflecting a blind attraction to powerful publishers and Thomson Reuters by your university and possibly the Ministry of Education of India. Please understand that unless you are man enough to accept that this publication is a farse, a fake and a fraud, unless you take full responsibility as corresponding author, all you do is stain plant science, botany a very ugly colour. Moreover, you bring in serious disrepute the name of the University of Delhi and question the fundamental basis of research and publishing at your institute and in India.

            I would appreciate a detailed response to ALL of the above questions in detail within 7 days before I start to take further action.

            Prof. Usha Rao, let’s be honest with each other. Don’t you wish that this review hadn’t been published? I do.

            Thank you in advance,

            Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

            Notice: this e-mail and its contents are not private and are not solely for the purpose of the recipient and thus can and will be used for open public disclosure, irrespective of any third party rulings.

            Response from Prof. Usha ao on April 7, 2012:
            “To Me Apr 7, 2012
            Dear Dr. Teixeira da Silva
            Thank you for critically going through the article entitled “Micropropagation of Orchids: A review on the potential of different explants” volume number 122, pp. 507-520, authors – Samira Chugh, Satyakam Guha & I. Usha Rao, published in 2009, in Scientia Horticulturae. We have answered your queries and requested the EiC of the journal to respond to the queries meant for EiC and are waiting for the reply. As soon as we get the feedback, we shall email you.
            Thanking you.
            Yours sincerely
            I.Usha Rao
            Samira Chugh
            Satyakam Guha”

            That’s sweet. Only problem is that, 2 years down the road, not a single erratum, not a single corrigendum, and, most importantly, no retraction. No answer from Elsevier, from arrogant Schwarz or his team of superior “academics” and no yellow or red card from the super-ethics company Elsevier.


          2. One of the greatest weaknesses of scientists is that they are not taught courses in public relations in university, nor in diplomacy, marketing, business, or politics. If science courses were to include basic courses on these topics, then there is a possibility that they could be better prepared to deal with PR-related communications with publishers, especially when dealing with complaints, or queries. This weakness can become particularly acute when trying to correct the literature, through post-publication peer review, which often requires “disturbing” editors who are already overworked and unpaid, to reexamine the literature. Such requests can be troublesome, waste time and irritate editors. But they are essential. That is why authors and scientists have to try to exercise maximum patience, and always exercise maximum diplomacy to have a favorable outcome, or at least to have their challenged heard. In this sense, the lack of diplomacy has resulted in my complaints to Scientia Horticulturae having been ignored. Even so, a formal request, even with a bitter tone, is still a formal request. But perhaps we could use of this very unfortunate experience for me, highlighted here at RW, to serve as a learning point for other novice plant scientists, students, or even seasoned researchers who wish to make a complaint, claim or query for the first time. My advice:

            1. Leave out the emotion.
            2. List only facts.
            3. Keep a description of the issues as brief as possible (impossible, of course, if there are many problems).
            4. Indicate clearly what you are expecting and give a reasonable time line for a response.

            Given this self-reevaluation, I would say that my PPPR report to Scientia Horticulturae was quite poor, probably because I was trying to hold two parties accountable for the errors: a) the authors; b) the editors. An analysis of the history of the editor board (see April 18 comment) indicates that the Editor-in-Chief responsible for overseeing this review and its quality would have been Dr. Michael Kane (although he is welcome to refute that fact if not true). That implies that issues related to accuracy fall under his direct responsibility, together with the authors and the peer reviewers.

            I wish to re-write my PPPR report as follows.

            I wish to report some concerns and/or problems with a paper published in 2009 in Scientia Horticulturae:
            Samira Chugh, Satyakam Guha, I. Usha Rao (2009) Micropropagation of orchids: A review on the potential of different explants. Scientia Horticulturae Volume 122, Issue 4, 3 November 2009, Pages 507–520

            a) There is a quote at the start of the review “‘‘If nature ever showed her playfulness in the formation of flowers, this is visible in the most striking way among the orchids’’”, but the source is not indicated.
            b) Until 2008/2009, I published 18/19 papers examining the role of the explant in hybrid Cymbidium, as TCLs or in callus induction or PLB induction. Only one paper was referenced in this review. Can you kindly explain why 18 papers were excluded?
            c) Spelling error: Paphiopedilum delanti (Page 2) It should be Paphiopedilum delenatii.
            d) Rhynchostylis on page 2 is incorrectly represented. It is a genus name.
            e) 2,4-D has not been defined in full on page 3, at first mention.
            f) None of the abbreviations in Table 1, Page 3, are defined, including CW, NA, BAP, NAA, IAA, etc. The units are all different (e.g., some defined as mg/l and others as mgdm-3. The same problem occurs in Table 4. In addition, none of the media are fully defined, including N&N, VW, etc. In fact, what is N&N medium? It is not defined in the table nor in the references (Nitsch and Nitsch perhaps?).
            g) In Table 1, except for Morel, only the work of Indian scientists are listed, suggesting an incomplete representation of the wider international orchid in vitro literature.
            h) In the text (right column of page 3), the abbreviations NAA, BAP, CW, TDZ have not been defined at first mention. On page 4, TIBA, PCIB, GA3 have not been defined.
            i) The paper has numerous grammatical errors. For example, many tenses are incorrect. Other examples: half strength, dose dependent, etc. (Page 4) and so many other cases throughout the review are incorrect as they need to be hyphenated, so half-strength, dose-dependent, etc. “from leaf tip region” should be “from the leaf tip region”.
            j) “shoot tip culture is not always considered economical since it leads to the arrest of growth and development of the mother plant”. The comment makes no sense nor is it supported by any reference to support this claim. Can the authors please explain their idea more clearly?
            k) What are “adventive shoot buds”? (Page 4)
            l) “Though maximum reports on orchid micropropagation surveyed have used leaves as the starting material (Table 2), popular use of leaf explant-mediated mass scale cultivation of commercially important orchid species in industries is restricted because of the time and costs involved in standardizing the above factors.” This whole paragraph makes no sense.
            m) Page 5 and Page 6, Figures 1 and 2 photos of Phalaenopsis amabilis are in fact copied from the following 2006 paper, published in a Springer journal:
            J. T. Chen, W. C. Chang (2006) Direct somatic embryogenesis and plant regeneration from leaf explants of Phalaenopsis amabilis. Biologia Plantarum 6-2006, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 169-173
            Despite this, there is no reference to the source, or acknowledgement of copyright permission, either in the figure legend, or in the acknowledgements section. There is, however, a weakly veiled suggestion in the main body of text that the figures may have originated from the Chen and Chang paper.
            n) In Table 3, the pioneering work of Prof. Michio Tanaka, who is one of the most famous researchers involved in leaf and inflorescence culture in vitro of Phalaenopsis, is clearly missing.
            o) “Although mature inflorescences give poor shoot formation, the availability of cut flowers is in plenty and with improved techniques the shoot formation can be increased (Nuraini and Shaib, 1992).” Apart from my concerns with the grammar, what is the scientific value of this claim and relevance to the review?
            p) “The Asiatic temperate orchid species such as cymbidiums have received less attention for propagation using tissue culture methods than other orchids due in part to the rareness and difficulty involved in collecting sufficient amounts of experimental material. The multiplication rate of the Oriental cymbidiums under natural conditions is very low as compared to the tropical or subtropical orchids. Furthermore, conditions and requirements for the clonal propagation of temperate orchid species and their hybrids are much more stringent than for the tropical orchids.” This information is totally incorrect. The 18 papers that were excluded from my own literature as well as several other papers by Begum, Huan, Kubota, Kozai, Fukai, Goi, Tanaka, Shimasaki and others, potentially exceeding 50 in total, will indicate that there is a very rich literature on Cymbidium culture in vitro, but almost all of it has been, very oddly, excluded from this review. Those studies will indicate that the clams made by Chugh et al. are totally incorrect.
            q) In Table 4, Cymbidium ensuifolium is incorrect spelt. It should be Cymbidium ensifolium.
            r) Page 8. “Protocorm-like shoots” do not exist. The authors mean shoots derived from protocorm-like bodies.
            s) The terms hormones, plant growth regulators and growth regulators are used inconsistently and erratically throughout the review.
            t) Page 8: Cymbidium forrestii is incorrect. It should be Cymbidium goeringii subsp. goeringii var. forrestii (Yunnanese Spring Orchid).
            u) Page 8: Coconut water was not abbreviated to CW even though undefined CW appears elsewhere in the text.
            v) Page 9: “The direct root tip meristem conversion of C. fimbriatum into buds points to a relatively lower determination state of their cells compared to the other orchid root meristems like Oncidium (Kerbauy, 1984b) and Cattleya (Kerbauy, 1991) where an intermediate callus is formed.” This sentence implies that Cattleya and Oncidium are root meristems, which is clearly incorrect. They are orchid genera.
            w) In Table 5, approximately 15 studies of mine were not mentioned when referring to thin cell layers (TCLs) from about 2001-2008. Why were none of these studies included?
            x) Page 9: “The thin cell layer (TCL) system consists of explants of a small size excised from different plant organs (stems, leaves, floral inflorescences, flower primordia or floral organs, cotyledons, hypo-/epicotyl, apical zone or embryo), either longitudinally (lTCL), or transversally (tTCL). lTCLs contain only one tissue type, such as a monolayer of epidermal cells, whereas tTCLs include a small number of cells from different tissue types: epidermal, cortical, cambium, perivascular and medullary tissue, parenchyma cells (Tran Thanh Van, 1980).” I have some doubts whether this is a direct Tran Than Van quote. Could the authors please provide the original PDF or scan to verify the accuracy of the quote?
            y) Page 9: protocorm-like bodies was not abbreviated to PLBs. Page 10: coconut water, thin cell layers, not abbreviated. Then, in section 4, CW is defined for the first time even though CW appears multiple times in the first 10 pages.
            z) On page 10, in section 6, Problems in orchid micropropagation “Though orchid micropropagation has shown spectacular development in the recent years, the wide spread use of micropropagation is believed to be still handicapped due to some major problems that have been highlighted below.” By 2009, when this review was written, many aspects of orchid micropropagation were extremely well established, representing about 50-60 years of in vitro research. The claim by the authors is untrue for many orchid genera.
            aa) Page 1: There is a very large section on substrates and greenhouse media, i.e., Kishore and Franco papers, which are completely irrelevant to this review.
            ab) Why was in vitro flowering not even discussed once in this review considering that it is an important organogenic outcome from many explants? This constitutes a very important gap in this review.
            ac) There are problems in the references: 1. Begum et al. 1994. Who is Tamakli? 2. The order of Chen and Chan references are incorrect. 3. In the Griesbach reference, who is Jainick? 4. Kerbauy reference 1988, is this an MSc or PhD thesis? From what university? 5. Kraus and Monteiro 1989. Aspect or aspects? 6. Nhat and Dung 2006. Who is Nhat? 7. Nayak 1998, Nhat and Dung 2006, Prakssh 1996 and Sharma and Vij 1997 Why is in vitro not written in italics in all cases? 8. Vijay and Raina 2000. In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. 36, Is that Plant or Animal?
            ad) Please make the following full text available “Reddy, J., 2008. Biotechnology of Orchids. I.K. International, New Delhi, India.” This publisher generally, from my experience, has poor content with weak editorial overview and the scientific content of that chapter should be examined.
            ae) Was text checked by plagiarism detection software?

            I would be grateful if the authors and publisher could provide a response and publish an erratum or corrigendum that addresses these issues, weaknesses and concerns.

          3. I invited Dr. Kane to please provide a public response to this PPPR query on 19 April, 2014. Since one week has passed, I now post my invitation letter to him publically.
            “Dear Dr. Michael Kane,

            As you are clearly aware, I have now been formally banned from Scientia Horticulturae. I have now started to tell my side of the story and my perspectives here:


            Please feel free to participate in the public discussion.

            One of my objectives, as you know well, is to inculcate a culture of post-publication peer review (PPPR), in which scientists and editors, alongside publishers, seek actively to correct the literature that has already been published. This notion of PPPR, which I have advocated here for the plant sciences ( ), would require an active effort by editors who have served as editors-in-chief of leading plant science journals, to take the initiative of responsibly encouraging their peers and the publishers they served, to correct the literature.

            As you may recall, I made a formal complaint in 2012 about a paper that was published in 2009, most likely under your supervision as EIC. That paper is:
            Samira Chugh, Satyakam Guha, I. Usha Rao (2009) Micropropagation of orchids: A review on the potential of different explants. Scientia Horticulturae Volume 122, Issue 4, 3 November 2009, Pages 507–520

            You may recall that I have about 30 concerns with that paper, some small, but others more major. I would like to call on you to take the first, responsible step of bringing my concerns to the attention of the Scientia Horticulturae editor baord, request that my about 30 points be carefully examined and that an erratum, corrigendum, expression of concern or retraction be issued, following an independent PPPR. It is evident that the authors will offer a biased or subjective view, as will any reviewers who were involved with approving the acceptance of this manuscript at that time.

            I am sure that you can appreciate the importance of this objecive and, as one of the more conscientious members of the horticultural community, at least related to orchids and microprpagation, I am confident that you will take this issue seriously, putting aside any differences of opinion that we may have ever shared, personally, or professionally.

            Although the list has been relisted at Retraction Watch, I am happy to provide you with the list in Word format so that you can analyze the queries and provide a response as (most likely) the person responsible for having overseen the peer review of this paper and approved of its publication in Scientia Horticulturae.

            I look forward to hearing from you. We need your assistance and plant science needs your assistance now that you are not associated formally with Elsevier and Scientia Horticulturae.


            Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

  4. After reading Pdf file, on retraction watch, some questions came into my mind that Professor Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva has authored many popular research and review paper below is the link of his published work on my favorite publisher group. Why he is banned?? Is it just because of personal despute?, Is scientific research is people based or based on academic merit of research and review paper?. What’s about academic merit of author..
    Over all 69 research, and review papers are on Elsevier journals
    33 research and review paper in Scientia Horticulturae alone
    Springer database 64 papers
    19 papers form Taylors and Francis Publisher
    And may have many more research papers on other publishing data base.
    Like google scholar roughly 354 results

    1. I wish to correct some of your facts, which are slightly incorrect. Firstly, I do not have the title of professor, although I did receive a status once (2-3 years) as “professor”. The numbers are slightly off: there are three more papers with my name listed as J.A. Teixeira da Silva. I do not know the accuracy of the Springer and Taylor & Francis d-bases, but they could be correct. I have avoided accounts on, LinkedIn, ResearchGate and all these other abuse-the-scientist marketing tools to generate advertising revenues precisely because they are so inaccurate. And their objective is also not truly academic: there is always a hidden economic agenda. I am also against the corporate policies of Google, although I admire their open access policies, so I do not have a Google Scholar account. My CV has been under the dissecting miscroscope for so many years, so nothing new now.

  5. A “long and horrific struggle against select twisted ideologies”…? Okey-dokey then. This issue sounds better suited for Stand Up 2 Science Bullies than Retraction Watch.

    1. That’s, Freeheeler, what I think. And here’s me thinking, at 10 pm last night, that I was going to get in a good all-nighter of work (on papers, of course), and at 6:28 AM the next morning, here I am, thinking “what the heck just hit me”? I guess I’m going to have to sleep with my boxing gloves on because I most likely am going to need them after getting some shut-eye for an hour or two as my critics have a field day at RW. Of course, needless to say that no-one at Scientia Horticulturae or Elsevier Ltd. is losing any sleep over this. By the way, were can I find the “Stand Up 2 Science Bullies” blog so that I can throw some jabs there, too? I got, I got it, still in development, right? RW, watch out, could be a highly competitive blog! Somehow Winston Chruchill’s quote just can’t seem to get out of my head this morning: “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.” So, how would he have phrased it had he observed the war (or in politically correct speak, “contentious issues” or “disagreements”) taking place for years between me and Elsevier?

  6. Retraction Watch is becoming something of a sensationalist, tabloidy sideshow.

    Entertaining, perhaps, but not very edifying for those concerned. I suggest some sobriety in the reportage, and particularly amongst the commentators.

  7. I don’t know, I find some of these stories edifying. This one in particular has given me newfound sympathy for journal editors, most of whom would probably rather be doing science than reading abusive emails. And I’m not usually very sympathetic towards Elsevier.

    I have also found the blog itself to be consistently sober and professional, despite the occasionally lurid subject matter. Some of the commenters terrify me, though.

    1. Mr. Crystallographer, ignorance is what feeds conflicts, and the lack of transparency is what Elsevier thrives on. They emebllish n the fear factor and that way the masses of sheep can keep coming in throngs to milk the impact factor. This is a specific case study, that involves a single Elsevier journal, with an editor board with whom I have serious conflics of interest and who themselves have serious conflicts of interest with other publishers and/or societies/journals.

      The problem with RW only copy-pasting snippets, is that it gives an incomplete picture. Does anyone know the origin of the conflcts? Of course not. Not RW, not you, and certainly Elsevier is not going to come out and say the facts. Just a one page PDF file signed by some bloke nobody ever heard of.

      Where is the signature of the 6 editors in chief on that letter?

      The underling message that Elsevier is sending to other plant scientists: “if you complain, and we don’t like it, even if your complaints are valid, and we find your voice a little rough on the edges, we are going to ban you from our journals.”

      The editors are nothing but lawyer-controlled puppets.

      1. You’re not making your case very well. I confess to ignorance in this matter, but right now all I have to go on is your multi-page screeds, which appear to be a mix of obsessive nit-picking and very personal accusations. (In one post you’re quibbling about the precise listing of the editorial board in different editions, without any context about why this is troublesome.) As a longtime RW reader, I wouldn’t exactly be shocked if Elsevier was indeed flaunting scientific ethics, but all I see here is a personal vendetta. I can’t tell what it is that you’re so angry about in the first place, and that leads me to sympathize with the editors. Every scientist I know can name a few articles that we think should have never been published, where the reviewers and editor(s) were both derelict in their duties. Occasionally this leads us to complain in public, but nearly all of us are able to refrain from sending abusive, insulting emails to the editorial office. Our restraint has nothing to do with misplaced feelings of scientific fraternity – we simply don’t expect unprofessional behavior to be rewarded. And most of us, if we receive emails like the ones you’re sending, adjust our spam filters accordingly.

        In summary: if you want me or anyone else to take your concerns seriously, calm down, explain clearly and concisely what the editors at that journal are doing wrong, without accusations of corruption. Otherwise we’re just going to ignore this and move on to the next story about the latest “Journal of Western Blots” retraction.

        1. “I confess to ignorance in this matter”. OK. Then I don’t have much more to say to you.

        2. Dear Anonymous crystallographer. Your reasoned comments sound sensible, and, for sure, a cool behavior is recommendable with these matters. However, I’m afraid you missed an essential point. You mention (and I agree with):
          “Every scientist I know can name a few articles that we think should have never been published, where the reviewers and editor(s) were both derelict in their duties… [etc.]”
          But what do you mean by “a few articles”? One article about, say, arsenic-based life? Two or three if you include the papers about inverse sensitivity of nanosensors? Four if you include the “ridiculously wrong” Science paper which just emerged three hours ago on the Derek Lowe’s blog?
          I really don’t need to continue with my list, because I lack the skills of Jaime Teixeira for writing long posts. My impression is that these “few articles” are 100, 1000, and many more if you consider the recent wave of OA literature as legitimate. Nowadays, the specific concern is how to put a brave face on this deluge of bullsh…, while our institutions continuously ask for papers, papers, papers, and more papers in high impact journals, patents, innovation, revolutionary results, breakthrough Science, and so on. Of course, many actors may be blamed for this uncomfortable and complex situation, including myself, and you.
          Meanwhile, how did Elsevier’s Editor manage the storm? They stick their heads in the sand. Wait and see, “Après moi le déluge”.
          Anonymous crystallographer, because you’re a crystallographer, you will understand what I mean. A small molecule crystal structure having NPD atoms is not great. A small molecule crystal (62 atoms in the a.u.) having 13 NPD atoms is ugly, isn’t? Now, a paper based on such an ugly structure, which reports a beautiful magnetostructural transition is really bad science, I think. And two papers claiming the elusive transition are worse than one (Yes, it’s a real case. Please check YAVXAV01/CCDC-260867. No, it’s not an Elsevier journal, but I can provide you with questionable Elsevier structures, if you wish).
          Finally, 1000 cases like this one are really irritating. And this is why I understand the furious reaction(s) of Jaime Teixeira, although I don’t endorse his behavior.

      2. “The editors are nothing but lawyer-controlled puppets.”

        Agreed. I think thus we (right now especially JATS for the sake of his nerves) should just forget about them.

        Just put things coldly on Pubpeer and let self-correction do the rest, these things take long and will always exist. What could cease from exist are exactly editors, and I am sure we can make this happen. 1st, ignore them.

  8. Hi I’m not a scientist, but I’m posting here to ask for your help.

    A recently published study is causing huge controversy in the bodybuilding community. The paper claims to demonstrate that a dietary supplement -HMB, which is a leucine derivative- caused a 7kg muscle gain and 5kg fat loss in 12 weeks. Since it is widely accepted even anabolic steroids can’t cause these dramatic effects in that short time span, the study is obviously causing huge debate.

    I’ve seen some accusations ranging from conflicts of interest, statistical manipulation to outright fraud. For example, someone said the standard deviation in one of the tables is the same for all parameters, which should be statistically impossible. Is anyone with a critical eye willing to analyze this paper?

    It would be greatly appreciated by the bodybuilding community. The study can be found here: Comments can be added there as well.

    Thank you.

  9. I think this dispute is deeply personal and there is a lot of emotional and political conflict of interests.

    I have been personally nurturing the idea that publishers are doing a lot of damage to science, as they are selling a product and scientific research data should hold no expectations to and from readers. Impact factor, a “you-can-trust-us quality stamp” from Elsevier/Springer/Blackwell/whatever + COPE logos, the pressure to publish positive results and against repeating others protocols, etc, to me are very damaging to science and part of the mold in which publishers are cooking compelling papers to be merely sold.

    I believe right now the best (i.e. less worse) solution for science and frustrated scientists is to start ignoring publishers and editors and their economical and political goals. I think any form of uniform open self-publishing with continuous open peer review by true scientists is the answer for safer science right now. Anything else around this is just stalling issues and worthless political intrigue.

    1. CR. Your first assessment is spot on. I don’t know any scientist for whom publishing is not personal. Those for whom publishing is not personal do not love science, or are using it simply to pay the rent. What really irritates Elsevier, I believe, and particularly the editors of Scientia Horticulturae, is that I am actually able to achieve scientific success, and publish, with minimal financial investment, although incredible personal sacrifice. You will not find any of my papers in Science, Nature, or PNAS, but it seems judging by the retractions in those journals, that traditional peer review so not fail-safe anywhere. I take no financial or other benefits, and have not done so for about 8 years, which encompasses the entire period of my conflict with Scientia Horticulturae. I believe that they can’t stand this reality. It runs counter to the Elsevier capitalistic model. In contrast, several Scientia Horticulturae editors, for exmaple, Schwarz, receive (and require) millions of euros in grants to produce at most 2-3 papers a year. I am convinced that such individuals are jealous of my model, because it is so archaicly simple. I am trying to encourage openness, discussion, frank and transparent. By banning me, they are encouraging closure and opaque policies. My calls to correct the literature through post-publication peer review and analyze fundamental problems with the traditional peer review are met with silence.

      The solution you suggest CR is perfect, i.e., self-publishing, and is one that I have long advocated for. But most scientists are afraid of this option, simply because their peers, colleagues and most importantly, research institutes would not recognize it as the ideal option. However, since most institutes still incorrectly associate quality with the impact factor, they prefer to only recognize publishing by their staff and scientists in journals that carry an IF, or tha are listed in SCI/JCI, Elsevier’s Scopus, or PubMed (the main criteria). So, what you are suggesting is perfect, theoretically. But practically, we are dealing with such institutionalized thinking that it’s going to take a decade or two for main-stream scientists to move away from publishers like Elsevier, Springer, Taylor and Francis and Wiley-Blackwell. In the meantime, these publishers, which were until quite recently, traditional print publishers, evolving and adapting, too. This is not necessarily a bad thing and it is of course the smart thing to do to stay alive in STM publishing. They are clearly watching the open access movement carefully to see how things have evolved, and adjusted, setting up their own fleets of open access journals, in order to continually milk scientists and keep profits rolling in. I believe there is no profound noble academic objective, primarily economic. What then would differentiate Elsevier, given such issues, from the OA predators, as listed by Jeffrey Beall? Retractions are meant to correct the literature, but I believe that they are being used as a form to disguise the lack of real appetite to correct ALL the literature. If the publishers correct, let’s say, 1% of their literature, then the community cannot trn against them for not correcting all of it, because, they can claim that they are doing enough. I also believe that COPE membership provides a sperficial appearance of their ethical naure, but only at a cost. ORCID, DOI, Crosslink are not measures of ethics but are being used as tools to control science, what I have referred to elsewhere as the gradual miltarization of science publishing. So, why don’t more scientists turn their cheek and seek the self-publishing option? Simple, because 99.99% of their peers still feed into the traditional system that games the impact factor. The only reason to keep the scientific pool dumbed-down, thinking that exploratory free peer review is still the best and most effective peer tool, is to satisfy the share-holders.

      For example, the most recent stock prices for Reed-Elsevier stand at:
      ENL: 41.77 USD
      RUK: 59.42 USD
      REL: 877.50 GBp
      REN: 14.92 Euro

      If this motivation does not exist, then the “academic” motivation underlying Elsevier business model will evaporate quickly, I predict.

      One way to thus induce change and reform that takes into consideration the opinion of the base, i.e., science authors, is to now gain the attention of the share-holders, because it is they that Elsevier and its parent company, Reed-Elsevier, are trying to ultimately please. Pressure can be applied there, hence my call for open and public disclosure, without fear, of problems that authors are encountering with any aspect of the publishing process in an Elsevier journal.

      I believe that Elsevier is trying to make an example out of me. Try to imagine other scientists who may now want to speak out against Elsevier or any other publisher, in a paper, or publically on a blog? They will fear now because Teixeira da Silva has been made an example of, punished in public, and embarrassed in front of peers. In a way, Elsevier has now sccessfully instilled a culture of fear by banishing one individual.

      I have some pointed questions, which I know will never be answered, like so many others I have asked Elsevier and Scientia Horticulturae over the years:

      a) What level of critique is considered to be “acceptable” for Elsevier before an author gets banned?

      b) How safe is our intellect? Authors sign over our copyright after investing hundreds if not thousands of hours per paper. In a subtle way, authors are actually forced to sign online copyright transfers before they can receive their proof. How safe is out intellect, now and in the future? What if Elsevier disappears, or merges, how can we be guaranteed of the security of our intellectual investment in Elsevier journals?

      c) Why do scientists not receive any royalties for their papers based on a percentage of profit by the company as would, for example, musicians? Reed-Elsevier is doing very well financially, thanks in part to scientists’ intellect in Elsevier journals, so why no returns on our investment, apart from a PDF file?

      d) Should editors who have been found to commit misconduct, such as duplication, be allowed to serve on editor boards? If yes, then why is this not a contradiction of basic Elsevier publishing ethics?

      e) Can you please indicate the Elsevier web-page that lists authors’ rights.

      f) Please explain, in detail how a complaint is dealt with, and processed, by Scientia Horticulturae, and any Elsevier journal. Please indicate the web-page where the flow-charts of the process exist, for authors to be able to defend themselves when complaints go by unanswered by the publisher, or by editors.

      g) Please provide the documents that prove that I am not a valid author in any paper. Please indicate the source of the documents, the exact paper that they are related to and the pertinent dates. This is a key part of this entire conflict.

      h) ICMJE stands for International Committee for Medical Journal Editors. The top page states ( “The ICMJE is a small group of general medical journal editors and representatives of selected related organizations working together to improve the quality of medical science and its reporting.” Can you please explain why medical rules, as established by a SMALL GROUP of MEDICAL JOURNAL editors, should determine what is ethical, or not, in PLANT science. Why should the definitions of authorship that pertain to medical doctors be applicable to plant scientists?

      i) The ICMJE guidelines that you use are guidelines. Can guidelines be used and forced upon scientists as laws? Have I committed some crime? If so, please provide the full evidence publically. This is related to g).

      j) Do you check the validity of authorship for all papers submitted to Scientia Horticulturae or to any Elsevier journal, including papers written by and submitted by Scientia Horticulturae editors? If yes, then please explain the process in detail, in particular how you validate that an author has contributed to all four conditions of the ICMJE authorship “guidelines”.

      Elsevier is a publically traded company. That means that all actions, policies and attitudes taken towards the scientific community are subject to public scrutiny. I am historically a fervent supporter of Scientia Horticulturae. But because I have in recent years become an increasingly open critic of the journal’s policies, the incompetence of the gate-keepers, i.e., editors, and the publisher, Elsevier, I am clearly disadvantaged relative most likely to any other author that submits to this journal. Simply because my name is Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva. By banning a scientist for trying to speak the truth, despite the rough tone on occasion (but always only when responses were never provided), Elsevier and the editor board of Scientia Horticulturae have now successfully instilled a spirit of psychological stress in scientists.

      For all these reasons, I have the responsibility of now publically sharing of the facts that I know, relative to this publisher and this journal, that have accumulated over the years. Some may seem petty, some may be contentious, but all, cumulatively, will build a picture of how I have been an unwitting victim of harassment, and I claim, now discrimination.

      Those who have never been a victim will not understand this struggle and will post senseless and insensitive comments. When one is punished for defending one’s most core values, then that is the greatest victimization of all.

      1. Dear Jaime,
        Many thanks for a detailed response. I still think that the 99.99% could be moved away from publishers by a critical mass effect, given the amount of unhappiness with the system nowadays. Problem is, scientists have accepted being represented by such companies. I think propagation of the notion of self-publishing will do great effect, and this 10-20 years of transition you would expect are based on past 80s-90s experience. I am confident the system pends to self-publishing, and I believe this process can be made much quicker. People currently under the spotlight with established careers like you could just focus on building the first standardised platform for self-publishing + PPPR system, and see the new system take soar: please consider…

        1. How do you suddenly turn 99.99% of the academia around? You would need publishers like Elsevier to implode suddenly, possibly under a scandal, for that to happen. 99.99% is not critical mass, it is a revolution!

          1. After having happened moving 99.99% to embracing impact factor in a few years does not seem now impossible or so much like a revolution that took place recently, or like when 90% of scientific periodicals shifted from the hands of institutions to the pockets of private publishers over the last centuries. My idea is to encourage moving this picture backwards as quickly as possible. Publishers like Elsevier need not disappear, they can just work with something else, like BASF moved from cassettes to insecticides.

            Scientists will eventually realise they do not need publishers for publishing any more than they need cassettes for recording TV programmes. I would like this natural change (or revolution, if you will) to happen more rapidly.

  10. I am totally agree with CR comments its just personal conflict of interest between author and editor
    one interesting thing I would like to share
    I have attached here with a link of ICMJE following journal. Where list of ICMJE is not appeared in anywhere.
    But on author instruction page they have posted that they are following ICMJE instruction., When I have clicked on Authorship of the paper (ICMJE) link is broken and The requested URL /ethical_1author.html was not found on this server.
    Is it right thing to question authorship of such a reputed scientist by this way?. Is this is a academic integrity? Whats about pending research papers of Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva. And whats about if he communicate his reasearch or review paper in Sci Hort. Is it ethical move by editor?

    1. though it is between the author and the editor at the moment, the such incidents will definitely increase in the future. I had a similar experience with the same publisher but a different journal. Rejection of manuscripts (probably from selected authors) without valid reasons has become a norm for most journals these days…

      1. @KK I am agree with your statement,

        But why Editors are doing such things Is it because research curriculum of author (Jaime Teixeria Da Silva ) is better then member of editors (Scientia Horticulturae) in this case???? Is it so.. or Jealousy….. fighting like Junior KG school student… I think they are abusing a scientist..

        By this move by Scientia Horticulturae..research communication is not reviewed completely blind peer review..For acceptance and rejection of a research or review paper Author must have sound relations with editorial member ????? iS it so… otherwise paper would be rejected.

        (Its just like junior school children war between them. What I personally feel that academic publication must be based on quality of research or review paper not on the basis of who the person is and from where he or she is belongs. I have no doubt in quality of research work published by Jaime and his research group. It is already evidenced by number of paper he has published, number of citations and most downloaded papers. I dont know any editorial member ever achieved this honor as a scientist. I personally feel that editorial team must rethink about this decision. Sincerely

      2. KK, I believe that you have the responsibility of providing concrete details publically, for example the exact journal name, the exact problems you had, why you considered that it was a problem, etc. One of the real issues is that many scientists are having problems wih Elsevier (and not only, but Elsevier is the center of focus here), its editor boards or wth the peer review process, but they have no outlet to express their concerns and their frustrations. The company thus believes that it is right. I warmly encourage you to please provide more details, in the name of accountability and responsibility. This is a responsibility I believe that scientists have towards the scientific community.

    2. Dear BMMK, You are absolutely correct, Scientia Horticulturae is NOT on the ICMJE’s official list of journals that follow the ICMJE’s recommendations:

      This highlights what I have claimed, again and again, this company lies, without any feelings of guilt, or remorse. And they are quite happy to sign for their lies publically. Good, that means that they can also take public responsibility for their lies.

      A lie, signed by and approved by the editors of Scientia Horticulturae, an Elsevier published journal.

      I was banned because I was a little rude and because they perceived my call for the resignation of the two libelous editors-in-chief as being a “threat”. But, as far as I can see, Elsevier considers lying to be a perfect part of the business model.

      Of course, I have taken a screen shot in case Elsevier and the ICMJE twist the facts and manipulate the web-site.

  11. I realize you can’t put the genie back in the bottle, but I wish this had not been posted in the first place. It doesn’t seem that airing what is obviously a long-running and personal dispute will have much relevance for the vast majority of scientists trying to navigate the pitfalls of journal publishing.

  12. Without having any familiarity with what is going on in detail, the action taken by Elsevier seems to be part of a trend of reasserting the power of journal editors to act as they wish, without any regard for ethical, or any, kind of guidelines. Readers concerned with academic integrity should pay close attention to this. Publication ethics by any definition requires strong limits on editorial discretion. Dealing with criticism, however well founded, is not an option that editors can choose to opt out of. It is, frankly, part of their duty to society. Journal editors and publishers have been rightly under critical scrutiny due to many cases of well documented misconduct (I don’t need to remind retractionwatch readers of individual cases). There is little sign that editors are accepting responsibility – it’s always somebody else’s fault. It is important to keep in mind that while academic misconduct is usually perpetrated by individual scholars, much of it could never happen if journal editors were doing their jobs. They may not act in bad faith (though sometimes they do) but the damage is done anyway. In consequence, editors have to accept that their actions are under close scrutiny. If they don’t like it, they shouldn’t be in this business.

    1. Dear uarktransparency, in Portuguese, we would say “Falaste como um livro aberto”, which, literally translated, means “you have spoken as an open book”. In other words, these are words of great intellectual understanding. I have admitted that I could have been more diplomatic and could have selected my words more carefully when dealing, on occasion, with the Scientia Horticulturae editors. OK, I was a bad boy, so what? Spank me on the hand if you will, or give me “six of the best” or “ses van die beste”, as they would say in South Africa, when referring to corporal pubnishment in the days when bad behaviour was met with an ass-whipping, at most 6.

      But when one faces a brick wall with almost all real concerns and complaints, it gets humanly frustrating. Robotized responses and automatic responses started to become the norm. Nobody would answer my questions. When my allegations (which I will show step by step here at RW) were being ignored, or scuttled under the carpet, then I decided to demand the resignation of the two key editors-in-chief, Samir C. Debnath and Dietmar Schwarz. Because, in my mind, preaching one set of ethics and practicing a completely opposite one, was totally incompatible, academically and ethically speaking, with what this publisher, and this journal and its editors, were preaching and imposing on its authorship.

      In retrospect, I could have also selected more carefully and selectively with whom to share my communications. Perhaps I was naively trying to be too accountable and transparent. If you read the PDF carefully you will notice an additional accusation leveled at me by Elsevier which has been placed out of context.

      Geraeds states, approved by the entire Scientia Horticulturae editor board: “we find unfounded accusations forwarded to outside parties, whom have little or nothing to do with the science at all, inappropriate and not conducive to scientific discourse.”

      In plain English, Elsevier does not like it when we share their editorial mismanagement and ethical contradictions with the public. Allow me to put more actual context behind that twisted accusation and characterization.

      I will provide more details later on, but let me give RW readers the jist of it. Basically, in the case of Schwarz, he was using his institutional e-mail address to level queries. I therefore indicated that this was problematic because his institute was also officially representing that opinion, given the fact that absolutely no disclaimer had been provided in any of the queries. Schwarz’s words themsemselves, used contradtictory wording about authorship, thus annulling his and Elsevier’s claims. After indicating that they had a reasonable opportunity of correcting the record, and after all editors decided to ignore my requests, I then shared my concerns with the IGZEV plant science staff.

      As for Debnath, I asked for several reprints of his papers published in Acta Horticulturae. It was an academic request. To date, after about three reminders, Dr. Debnath has still failed to provide me with a copy of those papers. This is pure academic irresponsibility. I indicated this request to his superiors, who also ignored my requests. I believe his treatment of my co-authors was a purely revengeful act, closely co-ordinated with Schwarz. I felt like I was being double-tagged in a wrestling ring. Being a member of the ISHS (i.e., Debnath), and seeing the conflict of interest with the President of the ISHS, Prof. Antonio Monteiro (, who is also a Scientia Horticulturae editor board member (, and has been so for about a decade, and given my sharp criticism of this journal and its organization, the International Society for Horticultural Science, here at RW*, I was left with no option. I then decided to contact Dr. Debnath’s superiors and the Canadian authorites to formally lodge my complaint. In addition, I believe that Dr. Debnath’s CV online contained false infomration, which I felt was incompatible with being a “ethical” editor.

      The letters to support my claims will be released once this comment has been posted.

      * Links to my open criticisms of the ISHS and exposure of the poor academics in that journal, too:

      Of course, my requests were 100% ignored in all cases above. My complaints were 100% ignored. And my request for the immediate resignation of these clearly unethical, or at least greatly non-academic-minded editors, was not met. My complaints were then twisted by Elsevier and labelled as “aggression”. My promise to contact all plant scientists, which I will still do, was labelled as “threats”.

      And this is the true power of this legally powerful company: the ability to twist the actions and the facts, to give the false perception that they are actually right.

      However, as uarktransparency pints out perfectly, the bottom line is yes, if editors want to reap the laurels of being associated with an editor board, then they must also assume the responsibilities towards not only the publisher, but also towards the scientific peers, in this case plant scientists and more specifically horticutural scientists. Editors have a responsibility towards society, and science, and it seems that Elsevier is not training editors in responsibility. Athors have rights, and editors have responsibilities. It’s a s simple as that:

  13. Dr Teixeira da Silva, I wonder if you could enlighten me on one small point. Given the obviously bitter, deep seated and long running fued with Scientia Horticulturae – why do you continue to submit your work to them?

    Surely the best way to make your displeasure clear is by NOT sending them your work and publishing with their competion?

    1. Dear PWK, that’s really a tough question. I think there are two reasons, one practical, and one relative. It is difficult to explain these briefly.

      Practically, what you are asking is like doing shopping at a fruit market. Imagine Elsevier is the supermarket and this journal, Scientia Horticulturae (SH), is the fruit section. I happen to like the supermarket and the fruit in the fruit section (see reasons below). That is why I have been shopping for fruit there (aka publishing) for years. The fruit (aka journal) is not the problem, because I believe that it is of high quality. Because I have examined the fruit and eaten (i.e. read and referenced) the fruit for decades now. However, as a client (aka author), I have noticed some problems with the fruit, and have not been satisfied with the response by the store and section managers (Elsevier management and SH editors, respectively). So, I have lodged a complaint, not because I want to go shopping for fruit elsewhere, but because I want to continue buying fruit (i.e., publishing papers) at this fruit store (SH). As a client, this is my right. As a client, I also have the right to complain when I feel that the complaints are valid. So, what happens when the management and store keepers don’t respond, or only respond selectively? What happens if they hide in silence? Is this a responsible attitude by the store, or its management? When pushed to the extreme, we call for the resignation of the store manager and call for a new store manager who can appreciate and understand the needs of the clients, address their problems and concerns, and resolve them, wherever possible.

      Every aspect that in fact Elsevier addressed and that resulted in a direct improvement of the system, I have never, ever, received a word of thanks, or appreciation, for my time and effort spent discovering these problems. A company that has lost its basic ability to say “thank you” has a serious management problem, or is extremely arrogant.

      I hope that my analogy makes sense. If not, I can always clarify.

      In fact, I wish to state that I have actually had, in most cases, an excellent repertoire with the editor that was, until about October, 2013, in charge of the submissions related to ornamental plants, Dr. Michael Kane, of Florida University. Dr. Kane is not only a brilliant scientist, he is a highly respected individual that has always served the board of this journal well, and has always been fair, honest, open, frank and above all, academic, about his decisions regarding my manuscripts. I may have published quite a bit in this journal, but I have also see my fair share of rejections, always at the hand of this editor. This has NEVER been a problem for me. The rejections have always been fair and logically substantiated by academically-sound reasons, in 100% of cases. This fact would then surprise RW readers. If I had such an apparently positive history with Dr. Michael Kane and with SH, then where did things go wrong or start to go wrong?

      The answer: Prof. Dietmar Schwarz. I believe that this individual has been a central and key figure in trying to induce my demise. He has used what I think are changing definitions of authorship.

      Incidentally, in about mid-late 2013, I complained to SH that several of my papers had been in review for many months and in one case for over a year. This was a valid and fair complaint because I had seen ample papers published in this journal that had been submitted way after mine, and accepted and published already, suggesting strong bias, or incredible editorial competence. From that incident onwards, Dr. Kane resigned immediately from the editor board as one of the EIC’s, claiming that he was no longer able to fulfill his editorial duties effectively. Unfortunately for papers that were then subsequently rejected, the damage had already been done: the editor board of SH and Elsevier, had wasted months of valuable time. Only last week, the last paper that was accepted for publication that had been under the management of Dr. Kane, was taken to completion, most likely because his contract with Elsevier demanded this.

      Therefore, one can appreciate from this that in fact my relationship was, until my complaint, always polite, cordial, professional and above all, civil, when dealing with Dr. Michael Kane. Always. However, I always held him collectively responsible for the acts of what I consider harassment being instilled by Prof. Schwarz from about 2010. And that turned the relationship somewhat sour, but it never resulted in any unfair rejection at the hands of Dr. Kane as far as I could perceive.

      In about November, 2013, Dr. Samir C. Debnath was ushered in in a rush as the new EIC. This was initially surprising to me because Dr. Debnath was not an ornamental scientist. His central specialization is berries (e.g., strawberries, cranberries, ligonberries, etc.). But basically the exit of Dr. Kane ushered a new era for SH, with a huge vacuum created in the ornamental plant specialization section. Despite this, my papers were being handled by Dr. Debnath, which made me concerned. I approached Dr. Debnath, and also congratulated him, and also expressed my concerns, from one colleague and friend, to another. Dr. Debnath’s response: SILENCE. This immediately started to ring alarm bells. How could someone who was not suitably qualified, be overseeing the “peer review” of my papers? How cold someone who had been a co-author in a 2007 review (, be an unbiased editor and reviewer for my papers submitted to SH? A few e-mails later, to him and then to Elsevier received the same professional (note the facetious tone) attention: SILENCE. Then decided to launch a query and complaint, civil, and respectful to the Canadian institute where Dr. Debnath worked. The response: arrogance and defiant and blind protection of their staff. Fair enough. However, the stage of conflicts of interest was now firmly in place. A situation of tension and lack of effective communication were established, which should be key aspects.

      The results: between November 2013 and April 2014, 100% of my submissions handled by Dr. Denath have been flatly rejected. Pure coincidence? Existence of COIs? Bias? How is a SH to know? The whole press is so flawed, so open to potential abuse and there is no accountability, no responses, no feed-back. Just pure editorial arrogance since Debnath filled in the gap that Kane had left. My perspective and experience only? Possibly? But does that mean that my concerns and criticisms merited a cold and silent response from all parties?

      Do you see any of these issues mentioned honestly, in a balanced or fair way by Elsevier, the 6 EICs, the SH editor board, or the total stranger, Gert-Jan Geraeds? Of course not. Because it’s not convenient to mention the history, only to vilify and ban in a short, PDF file filled with what I think are inaccuracies and inconsistencies.

      I will focus on Debnath and Schwarz, the key protagonists, and provide the emails in due course, so that readers can try to piece this puzzle together using a balanced perspective of the story.

      So, let me give you some good reasons why I wanted to keep publishing in Scientia Horticulturae, and why I always have:

      1) Elsevier Ltd., like it or not, is the world’s largest and most prolific science academic publisher. That means that it is, by association with that size, the safest. Pleas take these comments as being very broad. Safety of a published paper is an important factor for scientists. Despite conflicts, scientists feel (felt?) safe publishing with Elsevier, as I did. Call this a traditional mentality that perhaps was already inculcated for the past 2-3 decades of my science career is irrelevant. The fact is that, until this wave of retractions in Elsevier journals, whose policies I have in fact praised before (, and the “predatory” OA and corruptive OA movement, Elsevier was the safest option among all publishers.

      2) Scientia Horticulture is, without a doubt, the No. 1 horticultural journal. In terms of size, quality and history. It is like publishing in a history book, whose current gate-keepers I believe have become problematic. Springer, Taylor and Francis, Wiley-Blackwell and most other publishers DO NOT have a comparable journal that mirrors this scope and concentration. This is the PERFECT match for me, my work, my collaborative work and for horticultural science. No doubts here. That is why the decision by Elsevier is so smart. Because they KNOW that by banning me from this journal is an extremely destructive move to my career. Please d not think that Elsevier is so naïve. Everything is extremely carefully calculated. Why did Elsevier not ban me from all Elsevier journals? Why only this one? Because they know that castration from this journal is very damaging. Very.

      3) Among all horticultural journals that do exist, it commands a respectable impact factor. Although I do not game the IF, nor draw any benefit, financial or other from it, publishing in this journal does command a certain level of respect by other horticultural and plant scientists because it is not that easy to publish in it. So there is, I guess that element of professional pride, of course. You will notice that I have also published in other journals, for example, I am a big fan of Springer journals, primarily for the historical component of the journal fleet in plant sciences. And, more recently I have started to diversity more, with less known OA journals, other publishers, etc., because I also realize that a scientists cannot, or should not, be dependent on a single journal outlet for the publication of their results. Because of the inherent risks.

      4) As I stated above, I always had a good repertoire, fair and strict peer review under the direct management of Dr. Michael Kane. But key events and a gradual deterioration between me and select editors, but always known to all editors, who did nothing to intervene, has now led to this sadly explosive end: my banning from Scientia Horticulturae.

      And so this is where I stand. I truly feel that I have done nothing unethical. I stand by that claim, and am avidly supported by many scientists on that point. I admit that I was demanding, e.g., I demanded the resignation of Schwarz and Debnath, but only after this publisher and editors failed in their editorial responsibilities. As you can perceive from the PDF file, Elsevier assumes ZERO responsibility for this situation. This is the epitome of arrogance.

      1. The dust is now starting to settle, and I am now able to take some stock of the events of the past 48 hours. A key question is, why did I become the topic of a story at Retraction Watch? I do not have any paper retracted in Scientia Horticulturae. I think it would be important if Ivan, Adam and RW could provide a rational reason for having posted this a story at RW when no retraction is involved. Although I can appreciate that my personal case could shed light on alot of problems that are felt and suffered by potentially many scientists, such as conflicts with editors, disagreements with publishers, or the issue of authorship and ethics, does that fit into a blog called “Retraction Watch”? Surely, if I wanted to highlight problems with this publisher or with this journal, I would be able to bring these issues out of my own initiative? Why have I now been forced to go on the defensive? I think that a small explanation, or rationale, is a fair request to make publically, considerng that the last 48 hours of my life, personal and professional, has been under considerable stress caused by this story and leaking of the PDF file to RW. Even though this is giving me an opportunity to tell the story as it is, RW still has the responsibilty of explaining why this story exists in the first place, absence the existence of a retraction. It is not that I have anything to hide, as can be witnessed by my step-by-step explanation above, it’s just that the story, and its existence, simply doesn’t make sense in the context of retractions. I am party B, but who is party A? It is understandable that I have conflicts with many peers and editors and publishers, because I speak straight, and strong. I am a scientists and politician, but does that mean I should be the topic of discussion in this way at RW?

        1. The fact that you have been using the comment section of this blog to denounce bad papers or bad publisher practices is, in my opinion, a perfectly valid reason to deal with this case.
          Moreover, this blog is not supposed (again in my opinion) to only be a “name and shame” thing. It also deals with the way journal deals with retraction, whistleblowing and many other things…
          Since you are a whistleblower and that a journal seems to have banned you from communicating with them, this is again a perfectly valid subject for this blog.

          1. You say it is not “name and shame”, but a lot of articles here are pretty much focused on author shaming. Sometimes, I see genuine retractions with no real misconduct, but I believe the authors are still shamed. I have seen a fair share of comments that go as “maybe they should have thought better about their experiments or controls before publishing the work”.

          2. I said it’s not “only” a name and shame site.

            This being said, I think you are right, some of the commenters here are very critical even when the retraction seems free of misconduct. The thing is that the original posts from the guys at RW are very matter of facts in a journalistis way. Even if sometimes the post are spiced with a bit of irony, they remain free of attack and unsupported accusation. I appreciate that.
            Then, once the post is published, as for any other blog, the commenters are free to say whatever they wish. Some comments open a debate, others are (over)critical, funny or even off subject… and the guys at RW don’t really have any control on that.

  14. What could the issues be, hidden behind the sentence: “the reason for these requests is that we know of instances where you did not qualify as an author under our journal guidelines, which are identical to the ICMJE criteria for authorship.“?

    I found an article “The ethics of collaborative authorship” by da Silva, Jaime A. Teixeira in EMBO REPORTS, Vol. 12, 889-893. That article has statements such as: “…a partnership with one or several scientists who provide support for writing and editing could greatly increase the chances that a manuscript is accepted.”

    That author also wrote an article: “What constitutes ethical international scientific writing collaboration, cooperation and partnerships in Hungary?” in ROMANIAN BIOTECHNOLOGICAL LETTERS, Vol. 17, 7639-7645.

    At the same time, according to the Web of Science, the author “da Silva JAT” gets about 191 papers, of which 123 alone (!) were published in the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, often with coauthors from China, Pakistan, India, etc.

    Maybe authorship in many of those cases has been gained by means of ghostwriting services, subjectively classified as collaborative contributions?

    In any case, I could understand if some editors are not happy about getting submissions from an author team including what they believe to be a prolific ghost-author.

    1. A ghost author is someone who does work but does not exist as an author. That’s not a guest author. Perhaps this author is simply a hard worker and perhaps in fact there is no evil plot as you suggest. He has clearly indicated that he is retired elsewhere. People will always see and interpret things they want to see them. You are selectively reading certain sentences in certain papers. Why don’t you contact the author directly and pose your queries directly?

      1. The point is that someone, who is often requesting from others to keep very high standards (see many comments on retraction watch), appears to be pushing the following agenda:

        “It is o.k. to help other researchers, who are not so fit in the English language, to assist them in editing their paper and certainly improve it with your expertise, while in return accepting authorship.” It is not ghost authorship, true, so sorry for that.

        I have cited some key hints above simply to show that JATdS is indeed pushing this concept – openly, so there is no hidden agenda. Nevertheless, I think most readers here may not know about this and would be somewhat surprised to learn about it and the sheer extent in numbers it can assume.

        There may not be any problem with that concept in principle, but if it leads to 120 papers in 3 years, I wonder how you can make sure all data in those papers are o.k., especially if you have not visited the labs where the research was performed. Personally I find it difficult to only publish just 10 original papers in a year and make sure all data are o.k.

        In several lengthy responses above, there was no information about the exact nature of the authorship conflict, that the letter of the Elsevier editors was hinting at. I only got a hint at the potential nature of it by analyzing a short search on Science Citation Index.

        So just let us be transparent when judging in this conflict. We get a lot of details from one point of view, but the side of Elsevier and its editors have not been properly represented on this page. I have no conflict of interest (no association to Elsevier, no plant scientist, no personal relationship to persons involved).

        In any case I think I now understand why JATdS is so much interested in discussing Authorship issues, which is fully o.k., but he clearly is pushing his own agenda here in part rather than having a general interest in cleaning up the scientific literature.

        1. Mr. Lhac, did you contact this author, as was suggested above? Everybody has an agenda, open, or concealed. Retraction Watch most likely has its agenda. And you yourself may have your own agenda being critical of somebody who may genuinely be productive. Elsevier clearly has its financial agenda and it also appears, from the evidence provided by Teixeira da Silva, that the editors in chief may also have additional agendas, other than academic, and apparently plenty of conflicts of interest and incompetence. Does Teixeira da Silva game the impact factor, for example, does he receive any financial remuneration due to his collaborations or publications. Or is his purpose truly altruistic? Authorship is not a law, nor a fixed thing, and is clearly subjective. The ICMJE provides guidelines, not laws. It is clear, from the links that Teixeira da Silva provides, that Elsevier has contradictory definitions of authorship and that this case is not clear at all. Although this story appears to have tried to focus on this author, strangely enough, the focus is more on Elsevier now. In fact, a lot of what Teixeira da Silva says should be of concern to the wider scientific community that publishes with Elsevier, if you can sift through a lot of his rhetoric. It is also quite clear that Elsevier may be making an example of a scientist who clearly supports clearing up the plant science literature, but who is critical of many parties to the process. Surely his claims should be investigated? His tone of voice can be problematic, but surely that can be moderated by editors or the publisher, like a peer review? Many scientists I know are not very good public relations officers! From other facts that he posts, it also appears as if there may be a fair amount of provocation and/or failure to address his queries, which could result in his defensive and/or aggressive posture. I also follow his comments closely and see how he points out genuine problems and cases of academic misconduct like duplications, for example here (he also complains bitterly about the difficulties of correcting the literature): It is evident that such postures and positions will land him plenty of enemies, from peers, editors and publishers because he confronts them publically, and face on. It may also find him in trouble, as has now happened with Elsevier. So, this is an important case and one that should be followed attentively. His posture may be noble, but it is a potentially dangerous one, for him and actually for all the parties he is criticizing. Maybe his true agenda is to try and show how corrupted the publishing system really is, and that would explain his critical position and attitudes. If so, would that be a bad thing, necessarily, at least for readers related to Retraction Watch? Authorship, in the absence of clear or absolute proof of ghost or guest authorship, is not something that should be hotly disputed, nor refuted, as you are trying to suggest. It is evident that Elsevier does not have an authorship issue, but rather an issue with his criticisms of this publisher. If Elsevier thinks it has a case, about any of his specific papers published in any of its journals, then it has the responsibility of presenting the evidence, publically, for each paper, separately. Is Elsevier seeking to retract his papers published in Elsevier journals? What is the real agenda behind the banning of Teixeira da Silva by Elsevier? In the absence of hard-core proof, being banned from this journal, or of any other author by any other Elsevier journal, suggests that this may simply be an action meant to silence Elsevier critics, i.e., a non-academic agenda. It appears as if Teixeira da Silva has presented a lot of evidence that supports his defense. But where is Elsevier’s evidence or that of the editors of this journal?

        2. I think this was a very relevant point, and might explain much about this mess going around here.
          “120 papers in 3 years, I wonder how you can make sure all data in those papers are o.k.” — indeed, from the standpoint of any author taking part in all of these publications. I think such clearly distorted approach to authorship stems from this system of grants based on number of published articles. Indeed authorship values varies among different countries, and distorted, open-ended notions of authorship are openly preached by groups benefitting from stamping their name on as much paperwork as possible.

          I now understand much of the conflict here, thanks. I insist that the cure for this frenzy is self-publishing + intense post-publication peer review.

          1. Dear Lhac and CR. Thank you for your critical observations. I do have a personal agenda here at RW and a professional one, too, and I guess, step by step, these agendas will become clearer over time. We are dealing with decades of experience, so it takes time to explain facts, and situations, of course. Please exercise some patience while I get the truck-loads of information released. The process is excruciating and I have aged considerably in the past 3-5 years as a result of having my own manner of thinking that tends to be conflicting with the main-stream, in several respects, least of which is my mentality. Admittedly, my personality lends itself to creating exponentially more enemies, than friends. For many years, I was involved with research, but more recently, the background issues that underlie science and science publishing have become of interest because they are essential clues as to how problems exist in laboratories, in research institutes and in the scientific literature. I am hoping, through my good and bad experiences, to inculcate a new culture in plant science. One of questioning, one of sharing experiences, one of holding individuals responsible for their actions, including scientists and editors, and also holding publishers accountable for the systems that they implement, and provide, and the “peer review” systems that they claim serves as the quality control. One of the reasons why RW has provided such a good platform is because I can use it as my sand-box to test my ideas and see the response by the wider community, and not necessarily always have to be exposed to the extremely narrow-minded ideas and constricted parameters that so many in plant science have. It is obvious that I am not very friendly to the establishment (, and most likely that is one reason why I established Global Science Books ( Let’s be honest, most people don’t like the way I communicate, or criticize, and that’s their right to not like me, or my ideas.

            Regarding my CV. Indeed the numbers are large, but they are just numbers nonetheless. Close scrutiny will reveal that many of the papers are not large data sets. And, much work is not Nature or PNAS level (unfortunately), and I have also suffered my wonderfully large set of rejections in my life time. These factors need to be taken into account when leveling the type of criticism that I can see you are suggesting. I am retired, giving me ample time to work on research collaborations and publishing. Is that a crime? I also have not received any salary or financial compensation over the past about 8 years, even when I was the CEO of Global Science Books. At that time, I refused to take any financial remuneration because I know that money can be a corrupting factor and a terrible source of conflicts of interest. So, people often ask me two questions: a) how do you put bread on the table? b) How do you publish a lot? c) Why do you do it? I hope that some explanation here will resolve at least, for now, some of the background.

            a) I work voluntarily and freely, free of any association with any company, publisher, editor board, or institute. Retired, and independent. That relieves me now of absolutely any COIs. Putting bread on the table, when there is a family to feed, is challenging, especially in these extremely tough financial times. But I refuse to take benefit financially from any collaboration or publishing. b) Regarding the number of scientists I collaborate with. Indeed, it has taken a very long time to establish relationships and not all collaborations have been successful, smooth or peaceful. Many collaborations started with a pro-active approach and finding suitable partners who could benefit from my knowledge, experience and skills. Over time, such collaborations have increased, as has the stress and responsibility level. When one joins a group, particularly at a distance, to discuss a project, an experiment, to assess the design, examine the resulting weaknesses and data sets, there is always one issue that sits in the back of one’s mind, always: trust. It is a key element that has come to define several key of my collaborations and I and my colleagues have always held ourselves accountable to the highest standards of scrutiny as any other plant scientist that I or anyone else critiques. Although I am not criticizing your stand-point, and in fact I could appreciate and understand the angle you are coming from. Papers don’t emerge instantly, nor does research. Both aspects take so much time to achieve, and hard-working scientists know this. They also know that in order to advance their own scientific agendas, they need, increasingly, collaborations. So, numbers observed are, quite simply, a product of a long evolutionary process, with ups and downs, and with pitfalls, too. I have never claimed perfection – and pity anyone that does – but we are confident that the peer review process that was provided by publishers like Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Wiley-Blackwell and others, has been professional. As a scientist, I have put my faith and trust of our collective hard work over ears in the hands of these publishers. That is why, now learning that there are so many porous problems with these publishers, and their editor boards, is an alarming situation for me, and why it has made me quite vocal at RW.

            Because we feel BETRAYED. These journals, editors and publishers have parasitized off of our intellect, have guaranteed quality control and have promised to be professional gate-keepers. Yet, in a large percentage of my experiences, I have witnessed quite the opposite. Now that I am vocalizing my concerns beyond the restrictive GSB medium, I am ruffling a lot of feathers, which is causing individuals to not only be more critical of me, but to also jumble the facts, to suit their own agendas.

            Finally, c) Why do I do it? There are days when I think to myself, why the heck am I subjecting myself to this level of psychological abuse by the peers, editors and publishers? We give everything and all we get in return is a PDF file. They drive around in BMWs while we have to put rusks and half-price milk on the table. Something is wrong, and it is, in that sense, a class warfare. It is also a class warfare because, as I have explained above, I represent the anti-capitalistic model and option. The altruistic member that dedicates 12-16 hours a day, including weekends and public holidays, to sacrifice in the name of advancing science, knowledge, and understanding. Not only of my own, but of those who need me, too. Beat me over the head for being kind, but please do not insinuate that this publisher, Elsevier, with its fair share of ethically-suspect publishing practices, actually has moral high ground over me or my colleagues. Also, do not insinuate that journals, like Scientia Horticulturae, just because they command poll position in terms of their impact factor for horticultural science, are somehow ethically superior when there is clear evidence of deeply entrenched COIs, abuses of power, lack of professionalism, and at least one case of an editor who has a potential duplication. I claim that these individuals, who you can clearly see I have been deeply conflicted with for years, will not stop my resolve, and will certainly not try to command a higher ethical ground based on unsubstantiated claims.

            I hope that this explanation may respond to some of your queries (Lhac and CR).

          2. It appears that someone using different aliases (including terms in Portuguese), curiously unconditionally supporting Jaime by posting quite lengthy replies, who seems to have some 5 different computer IPs for rating comments. 🙂

    2. Elsevier’s definition of authorship, for ALL its journals, is: (“Authorship should be limited to those who have made a significant contribution to the conception, design, execution, or interpretation of the reported study.”)

      This is NOT the same as the ICMJE definition.

      Secondly, Elsevier states:
      “While there is no universal definition of authorship,1 an “author” is generally considered to be an individual who has made a significant intellectual contribution to the study.2” See PDF file for references 1 and 2.

      I have promised to respond to all queries and all critics. I wish Elsevier and the editor board of this journal would also show the same public responsibility and transparency as I am. Elsevier has the responsibility of providing the proof of these instances, of course, that they are claiming. You cannot claim an apple is an orange, without proof. Elsevier (and others) cannot just make accusations or unfounded insinuations, and expect the world to believe it. Elsevier, please provide the exact documents, and exact papers that prove I am not a valid author. The plant science community welcomes this proof. In each case, of course, I would be quite happy to provide suitable rebuttal, where required. In addition, Elsevier should please explain how it: a) proves authorship; b) verifies authorship; c) confirms authorship of all papers submitted to Scientia Horticulturae and in fact any other journal submitted to an Elsevier journal, listed at For example, how does Elsevier verify the validity of the precisely 2000 authors in the ATLAS collaboration:

      Or, how did Elsevier verify the authorship in this paper, by the Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Schwarz:
      or even this paper published in Scientia Horticulturae:

      It should be noted to all readers and critics that Elsevier has only claimed to follow the ICMJE authorship “guidelines”. Anyone who had read my EMBO Reports paper (, which is an OPINION PAPER, will understand that Elsevier has clearly contradictory authorship guidelines based on a single conjunction, “and” vs “or”, and that they have used and abused of this contradiction to try and peg something to me. This issue has long been debated and resolved, and all of my co-authors can vouch (and have already vouched to Scientia Horticulturae and Elsevier, in writing) for the validity of authorship of all authors, of course. Which is why this issue goes beyond the discussion of authorship, and reflects a very deep rift in the horticultural community, editors, and publishers that many are not willing to discuss.

      Yes, regarding collaborations, I have been fortunate to work with quite a few individuals from both developed and developing countries. These efforts have taken years to develop and hard work to achieve. The ethics of collaboration differs on a country-by-country basis, and that there is a strong cultural aspect. The problem with Elsevier’s WoS is that due to the centralization of power, it makes scientists lazy to search elsewhere. The paper you refer to in RBL actually was difficult to publish because such issues marginal to core plant science topics are difficult to get published in traditional plant science journals, primarily because they are limited for space. However, that journal hashed up our paper’s publication and we publically exposed that farse and editorial disaster, and republished the paper here:
      In fact, to assist you with undoubtedly unknown information about the publishing system and issue of authorship on a country-by-country basis, I can direct you to some other studies of mine, with co-authors from countries that you did not mention, here:

      I hope this information is useful for you.

      1. I wish to share of another experience of another paper that was already accepted for publication in an Elsevier journal. I am posting this here because of the overlap in the dates of the conflict. And, like this case, I have many to report.

        What is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO NOTICE is the dates. The last e-mail I sent, on April 9, 2014, was 5 days BEFORE I received the “banned from Scientia Horticulturae” e-mail. The dates, I am convinced, are NOT coincidental. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that there are problems, not only with these two journals, but with many more Elsevier journals. There is also no doubt in my mind that the system is not perfect, but when one’s paper is accepted, and the publisher and journal try to sell off your paper to another journal, while refusing to provide the reason, claiming that it is because of “some inexplainable reasons”, is that at best extremely unprofessional behaviour? Is that not victimization of the author? Is this not an abuse of the peer review system and editorial power?

        No wonder authors and scientists like me lose our patience dealing with these non-sensical technocrats.

        What I also want RW readers to note is how my tone of voice changed, as a direct result of the Elsevier-induced stress. The earlier mails were short, polite, respectful and formal. As I would like to think that all of my communications usually are. However, when my rights started to be trodden upon, when non-sensical reasons and odd ethical editorial behaviour emerged, with zero rational rationale, it is perfectly human to blow a fuse. In fact, I have had so many such situations, I am starting to think that these situations are being established purposefully by Elsevier to irritate me and thus induce a response that will then give them a reason to ban me.

        I know that there are faithful defenders of Elsevier, but honestly, I request that you please observe the facts coldly, and clinically here. I fused sentences in each e-mail below to try and reduce the size of my comment. No other content was modified.

        2014-04-09 15:54 GMT+08:00 Jaime Silva [edited to remove libelous allegations]:

        Dear Prof. Qing and all, including Elsevier management.
        In particular Prof. Jeffrey M. Bethony who is the editor in chef of BOTH journals.

        REF: The APJTM to APJTD transfer

        WHY are all articles open access here: but are behind a paywall at the Elsevier site:

        APJTM: Copyright © 2014 Hainan Medical College. E-edition published by Elsevier (Singapore) Pte Ltd.
        APJTD: Copyright © 2014 Asian Pacific Tropical Medicine Press. E-edition published by Elsevier (Singapore) Pte Ltd.

        Prof. Qing, what you are suggesting is totally unethical. This is not a fish market. This is science publishing. And whatever business deals exist between Chinese science institutes and Elsevier (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. to do this swap journals for a faster publication business is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE AND UNETHICAL. Does Thomson Reuters know about these editorial shenanigans?

        In fact, Prof. Qing, WHO are you? You are not one of the four editors-in-chief of APJTD, so under whose authority exactly have you been nstructed to strike this unethical deal?:
        Why are there only 4 editors in chief and NO editors listed?

        I am totally astonished that we are being offered an alternative location for the publication of a paper that was already formally accepted, 4 months ago, in APJTM. Our manuscript has been formally accepted, yet, some unkown editor has now tried to bargain with us, without copying any other authorities on the “deal”, to transfer our manuscript to another journal, with the excuse that it would take time for the paper to get published in APJTM.

        If one examines papers that were published in APJTM, for exmaple the first paper of the May 2014 issue (, how can Mr. Qing claim that it takes time to process papers for APJTM when a paper that was accepted, of Chinese scientists, in February 2014, has already been published?

        I wish to re-emphasize to all parties that we expect to see our paper published in APJTM, and NOT APJTD. Furthermore, we do not wish to see any further delays in the process and we would like a formal explanation of this continued situation by the APJTM and APJTD editors, and Elsevier. I have still not received a formal response from any APJTM or Elsevier representative, and will thus be forced to take this case public. In the meantime, please process our proof for APJTM and give us the exact same and fair treatment as all other APJTM authors.

        Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

        Dear Dr. A. Teixeira da Silva, Jaime

        I am Qing Zhao, the editor of Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease (APJTD).

        You have submitted a MS entitled “Hepatoprotective Activity of Lactuca taraxacifolia (Wild Lettuce) Extracts against Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats” to Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine (APJTM), which is also suitable for APJTD. Due to APJTM has a lot of manuscripts for publication, your paper may be wait for a long time. APJTD has the similiar scopes and aims with APJTM, and we can process the submitted papers soon. So we sincerely suggest you to submit the above mentioned to APJTD.

        Please give me a reply no matter if you are willing to submit your excellent paper to APJTD. Please inform us that the paper is recommended by APJTM when you submit it to us so that we will process it soon (If you agree to publish it in APJTD).


        Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease
        published by Elsevier, has been included by Cambridge Scientific Abstracts, Chemical Abstract, Embase, Scopus, Zoological Record, CAB Abstract, Global Health, Index Copernicus, Ulrich PD and uploaded to ScienceDirect.
        Articles available on:
        Tel: +86-898-36335723
        Fax: +86-898-36335723
        Email: [edited out]

        On Friday, April 4, 2014 8:44 PM, Jaime Silva wrote [edited to remove libelous allegations]:

        Dear Dr. Li Wei and Dr. Jun-Bao Liu (EIC, APJTM),
        CC: select Editor board members, Elsevier author support and select BCC contacts

        APJTM-2013-1229: accepted paper now rejected (see history of the paper in all e-mails below)

        On December 16, 2013, you confirmed, despite my concerns, that the paper was formally accepted. Your decision was final, and represented the formal position of the journal, the editor board, and the publisher. “some inexplainable reasons” is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. Everything MUST be explicable. You WILL publish our accepted manuscript based on YOUR editorial decision. We are not interested in your alternative recommendations. You have 24 hours to confirm that the paper will be published, as already confirmed, in APJTM, and you have 1 week to provide the proof and to then post the corrected proof on You have already wasted our precious time, our valuable energy and caused tremendous psychological stress to all co-authors. If you do not do this, I will not only contact all APJTM authors, I will also post this entire story on as many public blogs as possible to show how the editorial staff is totally unprofessional and incompetent.

        I look forward to the confirmation by April 5, 2014.

        Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

        On Friday, April 4, 2014 5:56 PM, [1 e-mail redacted] wrote:


        Dear Prof. A. Teixeira da Silva,

        I write you in regards to manuscript # APJTM-2013-1229 entitled “Hepatoprotective Activity of Lactuca taraxacifolia (Wild Lettuce) Extracts against Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats” which you submitted to the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine. Although your research is of good academic value and attracts our great interest, your manuscript has been denied publication due to some inexplainable reasons. To express our deep apology and save the publishing time, here we recommend you two journals, Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine ( and Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease ( Thank you for considering the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine for the publication of your research. I hope the outcome of this specific submission will not discourage you from the submission of future manuscripts.

        Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine Editorial Office

        To [6 e-mails redacted] Jan 29 2014

        Dear Dr. Lei,

        I am quite concerned that the development of the proof is taking a very long time. Other accepted papers submitted to other Elsevier journals usually send the proof within 2-3 weeks of acceptance. However, we are almost 8 weeks after acceptance. Can you please indicate when we can expect to receive the proof of the paper and see our findings displayed on Thank you in advance,

        Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

        To [6 e-mails redacted] Dec 6, 2013

        Dear Dr. Yan Lei,

        I am pleased to attach a final version of our accepted paper, with some minor edits made and fully formatted to APJTM style. We look forward to receiving the proof and to seeing our important results published at APJTM at

        Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

        To [1 e-mail redacted] Dec 6, 2013

        Dear Dr. Yan Lei,

        I am very thankful for your e-mail and confirmation. I will prepare the text and references accordingly and re-submit as soon as possible. We are excited to see these important results published in APJTM.

        Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

        On Friday, December 6, 2013 12:38 PM, [1 e-mail redacted] wrote:

        Dear Jaime Silva,
        I’m Yan Lei, executive edior of Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine, and your manuscript (No. APJTM-2013-1229) has been accepted to be published in our journal. We found relevant studies are rare and considered seriously to accepte your paper. Sorry for the confusion. And please do the needful.

        Best regards
        Yan Lei
        Executive editor
        Room 318, Administration Building,
        Hainan Medical College, No.3 Xueyuan Rd.
        Longhua District, Haikou 571199 Hainan Province

        To [6 e-mails redacted]

        Dec 6, 2013

        Dear Editor-in-Chief, APJTM, Dr. Jun-Bao Liu (Elsevier)

        REF: APJTM-2013-1229

        We submitted a paper through Manuscript Central to APJTM. The submission was acknowledged on November 16, 2013. Suddenly, today, we received an e-mail that immediately accepted the paper, without any peer reviewer comments. A Mr. or Mrs. Yan Lei requested us to submit a revised version to a gmail account. That e-mail did not even indicate the manuscript number and did not address me by name. Who is Yan Lei? Was this an official e-mail and does Elsevier agree with this type of communication? Can you please confirm that our manuscript has been accepted and that the e-mail below is not in fact a hoax. Also, can you please exalin why no errors were found, or no peer reports were provided. Are you somehow suggesting that the study is perfect? I look forward to your response, clarification and confirmation of acceptance. If accepted, should I submit to the gmail account, or online using the Manuscript Central account?

        Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

        On Saturday, November 16, 2013 4:26 AM, [1 e-mails redacte] wrote:


        Dear Prof. A. Teixeira da Silva:

        Your manuscript entitled “Hepatoprotective Activity of Lactuca taraxacifolia (Wild Lettuce) Extracts against Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats” has been successfully submitted online and is presently being given full consideration for publication in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine.

        Your manuscript ID is APJTM-2013-1229.

        Please mention the above manuscript ID in all future correspondence or when calling the office for questions. Thank you for submitting your manuscript to the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine.

        Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine Editorial Office

        Nov 16, 2013


        Dear Prof. A. Teixeira da Silva:

        Your manuscript entitled “Hepatoprotective Activity of Lactuca taraxacifolia (Wild Lettuce) Extracts against Carbon Tetrachloride-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rats” has been successfully submitted online and is presently being given full consideration for publication in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine.

        Your manuscript ID is APJTM-2013-1229.

        Please mention the above manuscript ID in all future correspondence or when calling the office for questions. If there are any changes in your street address or e-mail address, please log in to ScholarOne Manuscripts at edit your user information as appropriate. You can also view the status of your manuscript at any time by checking your Author Center after logging in to Thank you for submitting your manuscript to the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine.

        Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine Editorial Office

        1. Update. Both APJTD and APJTM (the journal that already originally accepted the paper in mid-December 2013) now refuse to publish the paper. It’s amazing, these individuals don’t even have the courtesy of issuing an apology for their mishandling. These individuals, collectively Elsevier and the Chinese and Singaporean branches, seem to think that academic papers can be treated as dispensable objects, that scientists take these issues lightly, and that accountability is not forthcoming. It’s shameful. I wish more who have had negative experiences with Elsevier, but who are too afraid of their size and might, would come forward publically. Just because it’s number 1, doesn’t mean that its work or ethical code are also in the same rank. When I have an opportunity, I will definitely publish all of my grievances I have with this imposing publisher who I am increasingly starting to dislike based on what I have seen.

    3. Dear, I want to correct your data.
      According to web of science he has published 185 research and review papers,%20JAT
      There may be some of results may be corrections around (five)
      Till my knowledge almost all research papers were published in journal of scientific repute. i.e. because of his sincere and hardworking nature, even after retirement he is doing for science without any financial assistance. Though Editors are not happy with his authorship.

      I am giving you one another example Prof J Staden
      According to web of Science he has published 826 papers;LD.A;SO.A;VL.A;PG.A;AU.A&showFirstPage=1
      Are you consider him as a ghost author,
      He is Editor in Chief of South African Journal Of Botany published by Elsevier Journals
      According to google scholar out of all these papers he is corresponding author for 113 papers by email add

      Springer Database 56 papers

      In Scientia Horticulturae he has published 10 paper
      Prof Johannes van Staden is
      Editor in Chief of: South African Journal of Botany (Elsevior) and Plant Growth Regulation (Sprnger)
      Associate Editor of the Journal of Ethnopharmacology
      He serves on the Editorial Board of six other journals
      According to till 2011 he has authored around 1110 research and review paper.. Is he is a ghost author???? If not then why Jaime A Teixeria Da Silva
      I personally think that he is not a ghost author, Elsevier not think that he is not a ghost author
      Then Why Teixeria Da Silva is considered as ghost author.. Is it fair.??????
      There are many examples but I have given example of a plant scientist.

      1. 1110 papers? This is an astonishing number. Is he a Nobel laureate? Your logic is perfectly right. In plant science, it is extremely rare to find such a resume and maybe he is the only one in plant science. Although in plant science, Narendra Tuteja also seems to have an extremely high number of papers, many of which are published in Elsevier journals. Does Elsevier check if these authors in these papers in plant science all satisfy the 4 conditions of authorship in the ICMJE “guidelines”? How does Elsevier prove that an author is or isn’t a valid author? Why is Elsevier fighting with Teixeira? Have you found any cases of misconduct that would suggest that there is any foul play with Prof. Van Staden, either as an author, or as an editor? Van Staden does not appear to be the editor in chief of Plant Growth Regulation. How can one suggest, simply by numbers, that someone is unethical, a ghost or guest author? Does Elsevier check the valid authors in each paper? Is legitimate authorship not established by the team of authors who collectively provide a guarantee of such to the journal/publisher? In plant science, teams are required to complete not only a project, but also a scientific paper and each member is an integral part of the team. Without one member, a paper can maybe not exist. Maybe nobody is a perfect author, so how can anybody say with 100% confidence that a scientist is an unethical scientist without proof? Each country has its own rules and ethical guidelines and many labs have collaborative publishing and research. This is normal for many scientists from developing countries to survive, by making partnerships with established scientists with skills from developed countries. There are hundreds of papers by many high level plant scientists that have collaborations from many countries, and in some cases, some authors only serve as the consultant, but that precious advice gives them authorship status. So, if Elsevier wants to examine Mr. Teixeira da Silva, then it must be fair and also examine the authorship of all collaboration papers in all its journals.

        1. Few more examples of plant scientist
          According to thinking of Scient Hort Editorial board Is they are Ghost author??????

          According to google-scholar database I am presenting here few e.g. of Plant Scientist which are having more then 250+++ publication
          If a scientist publish two paper in a month then 24 publication in a year and if 10 if he work for 20 Year then then It would be 480 research or review paper maximum.
          But reality is they have published more publications… Why this is happen.. ???
          The answer is: They have scientific collaborations and these scientist are specialist in this field. They have ability of decision making from raw data and correct interpretations of results which resulted in excellent quality of review or research publication, My personal opinion is if you give raw data or manuscript draft to a scientist and he or she will interpret and analyse result it properly, i.e. a essential part of any scientific publication so why not Editors consider that JAT Da Silva not qualify the authorship criteria………

          According to my point of view these scientist are Shining Prof Van Staden and JAT Da Silva. They all are hardworking and if you see there research papers see H-index and Number of citation you will find the reality.

          1. Prof. Sir David Baulcombe
          Regius Professor of Botany, Department of Plant Sciences, University of Cambridge
          333 publication over all H Index: 91

          2.James Tiedje
          Professor of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences and of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan
          633 publications H index: 119

          3.Narendra Tuteja
          International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology(ICGEB), New Delhi
          291 Publication

          4.Carlos Duarte
          UWA Oceans Institute & School of Plant Biology, The University of Western Australia; CSIC, Spain
          1066 publication

          5.Richard J Hobbs
          Australian Laureate Fellow, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia
          521 publication

          I don’t understand why Editors of Sci Horticulture Dr. Emma Granqvist, Dr. Debnath and Dr. Schwarz and other editorial members made decision about Dr. JAT Da Silva

          What other readers are thinking ??? Please give your opinion.

  15. It is not entirely clear why RW and Dr. Teixeira da Silva would like to spend so much time, energy and space to discuss in such depth the policies of a journal with an impact factor of 1.7.

  16. “C. de Kreij. This individual is listed as being at the Research Floriculture & Glasshouse Vegetables, Hoofddorp, Netherlands. Yet, why can no information be found about this person on any web-page or data-base?”

    See and and and

    Kreij, C. de, Voogt, W., Bos, A.L. van den, Baas, R. (1997) Voedingsoplossingen voor de teelt van roos in gesloten teeltsystemen, Brochure VG4 Roos, Proefstation voor Bloemisterij en Glasgroente.

    ‘Proefstation voor Bloemisterij en Glasgroente’ = “Research Floriculture & Glasshouse Vegetables” (?)

    1. Dear Klaas, thank you so much for finding this information. It provides so much insight, in fact. At first, I think that ‘Proefstation voor Bloemisterij en Glasgroente’ could be more accurately translated as “Research Station of Floriculture and Greenhouse Plants” (but I stand corrected here).

      This indicates that Elsevier has listed the institute incorrectly on its web-site (; former Jan-Feb 2014 version) versus the May 6 2014 Editor Board PDF ( In fact, why has C. de Kreij suddenly disappeared from the editor board, along with Gregory Welbaum? This is shocking because absolutely no public notice has been given, nor any public explanation.

      The correct institute of C. de Kriej is Plant Research International, Wageningen University (formerly Wageningen Agricultural University?), which is, incidentally, the same research institute, and one of the world’s premier horticultural research institutes, as Prof. Ben Scheres:

      The three web links you provide in fact indicate that all papers by this C. de Kreij are all in Dutch, and my rusty Afrikaans, similar to Flemish, allowed me to understand that he was either in marketing or greenhouse production of ornamentals. The third link you provided was to CJH (Chris) van Kreij. However, is CJH (Chris) van Kreij the same as C. de Kreij? After all, these are very different names, even if only different by a single conjunction: “de” vs “van”. If yes, then this fact is, in itself, astonishing, because how can two different names be the exact same person? If, in fact, you are correct, and the two different names are the same person, then who is mistaken about this name, Elsevier + Scientia Horticulturae, or the scientist? Just to be sure, I sent a query via the online form to confirm that CJH (Chris) van Kreij is in fact on the editor board of Scientia Horticulturae. The query was:
      “Dear Ir. van Kreij, Could you please confirm that you are the same person listed as C. de Kreij on the Scientia Horticulturae (Elsevier) editor board. This is an urgent issue and your response would be greatly appreciated at the earliest.”

      So, we now know, and ask, the following:
      a) Ir. Kreij has only publications in Dutch (as he does not appear to have any papers on major data-bases in English).
      b) He does not appear to be a PI, or a senior researcher, and if in fact C. de Kreij is the same as CJH (Chris) van Kreij in Agrotechnology & Food Sciences Group (AFSG), Finance and Control Subdivision, then it would indicate that his specialization is NOT ornamentals, but rather Management Studies. I hope this issue gets clarified by Wageningen University quickly.
      c) Considering that one cannot find any substantive publications, in English, by C. de Kreij, and that one has to dig deeply into 15-year old archives at WUR to find anything about this individual, this begs the query, what publishing and research experience does this person have to serve on this board and judge international papers, international research, international collaborations, publishing ethics and authorship issues?
      d) Who appointed C. de Kreij to the editor board, based on what qualifications, and when?

      These contradictions, these hidden facts and these concerns and queries are what typify in fact so much about this editor board. Yet, when asked tough, but valid, questions, I am labelled as the scientist who makes “personal attacks”.

      I warmly welcome C. de Kreij to publically clarify who he is and to respond to the queries and to confirm that he personally approved of my ban from Scientia Horticulturae, as Elsevier claims.

      1. Klaas van Dijk in fact did all of us a great favour. He allowed me to re-examine the editor board again, to be sure of the C. de Kreij spelling and affiliation. In doing so, much to my disgust and horror (because the emotion did indeed exceed astonishment), I found that Elsevier has once again edited the editor board members, within a matter of days. Detail is essential here and I request RW readers to compare the two latest lists:
        The PDF of the editor board of the 7 May 2014 issue: (click on Editor Board PDF)
        The online editor board list:

        The 6 EICs remain the same.

        The PDF list is in fact the correct one that suddenly removed Gregory Welbaum (Virginia Tech) just a few days ago, and has added, miraculously several new editors:
        E. Candir Mustafa Kemal University, Antakya, Hatay, Turkey)
        H. Ezura (University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan)
        Y-J. Hao (Shandong Agricultural University, Taian, Shandong, China)
        W.B. Herppich (Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik Potsdam-Bornim e.V. (ATB), Potsdam, Germany)
        X. Huang (South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou, China)
        T. Jemric (University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia)
        J.D. Klein (Agricultural Research Organization (ARO), Bet Dagan, Israel)
        H. Krishna (Central Institute for Arid Horticulture, Bikaner, Rajasthan, India)
        C. Menzel (Australian Government, Nambour, Queensland, Australia)
        C. Miranda (Universidad Pública de Navarra, Pamplona, Spain)
        B. Ouyang (HuaZhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, Hubei Province, China)

        How could so many (11 in total) editors be elected to an editor board within the space of a few days? Who elected them, what are their credentials? What is their research and publishing experience? Exactly when were they contacted and how son did they accept the invitation? I will of course try to track these individuals and call their attention to this situation.

        Notice also, how the address of P. Mooney has also changed, within the space of a few days, from Plant Research Centre, Waite Research Precinct, Adelaide, South Australia to Sardi, Urrbrae, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia. The address of Lian Tian was also updated from Southern Crop Protection and Food Research Centre, London, Ontario to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), London, Ontario, Canada. Note how JP Bower’s address has suddenly disappeared within 24 hours after I exposed his use of two different addresses.

        Finally, also within the space of a few days, notice how the following 7 editors have been wiped off the editor board, without any public explanation:
        G. Colla, Universita degli Studi della Tuscia, Viterbo, Italy
        C. de Kreij, Research Floriculture & Glasshouse Vegetables, Hoofddorp, The Netherlands
        Ep Heuvelink, Agric. Univ. Wageningen, Wageningen, Netherlands
        C.J. Lovatt, Univ. California, Riverside, CA, USA
        Antonio A. Monteiro, Inst. Superior de Agronomia, Lisbon, Portugal
        L. Rallo, Univ. Cordoba, Cordoba, Spain
        M.S. Reid, Univ. California, Davis, CA, USA

        This is astonishing! Have NEVER seen this happen in my life time of research and publishing in any plant science journal by any publisher. Why did these editors resign so quickly, so suddenly and so mysteriously when they had (apparently) been serving the editor board for so many years, without scrutiny, without analysis, and without any public accountability of their functions and responsibilities? I will also be contacting them for providing a response publically.

        I think that Elsevier has the obligation of issuing an immediate corrigendum or erratum about the Scientia Horticulturae Editor Board.

        What can we conclude about my banning from Scientia Horticulturae?
        I have exposed, publically, dozens of potential contradictions, potential biases, potential conflicts of interest that have, within the space of only 10 days, seen the almost miraculous removal of 7 editors and the sudden introduction of 11. Despite this, I am the one who is labelled as the person who issues “personal attacks and threats”, and I am the one who is banned for apparent lack of “professionalism”.

        1. Dear Jaime,

          As far as I am aware, the ‘Proefstation voor Bloemisterij en Glasgroente’ does not exist anymore as a separate entity. You are right that “Research Station of Floriculture and Greenhouse Plants” is a more adequate translation.

          This research insitute is now called ‘Wageningen UR Glastuinbouw’ = ‘Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture’ ( ). A report published in 2004 ( ) suggests that the ‘Proefstation voor Bloemisterij en Glasgroente’ was already part of WUR in 2004. Please be aware that quite a few of this kind of institutes in The Netherlands often change names and/or merge and/or split, so I might be wrong.

          WUR (= Wageningen University Research Centre = Wageningen UR) is an entity which combines one of the Dutch universities (Wageningen University, formerly Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen, formerly also Wageningen Agricultural University) and alot of so-called ‘research institutes’. The legal organisation chart can be found at , a more informal organisation chart can be found at

          So ‘Proefstation voor Bloemisterij en Glasgroente’is now part of WUR, but not part of Wageningen University.

          It seems to me that C. de Kreij was a student at Landbouwhogeschool Wageningen (now Wageningen University) in the 1970s ( and You are totally right that ‘de Kreij’ and ‘van Kreij’ are different names, belonging to two different persons. I agree with you that it seems highly likely that CHJ (Chris) van Kreij and C. de Kreij are different persons. I hope Chris van Kreij is able to answer your questions. E-mail addresses of anyone working at WUR can be found at we@wur (

          Ben Scheres can be found through and through and through

          WUR has an excellent digital library with a nice search engine. gives an overview with all publications listed in the digital library of WUR of people with the name ‘Kreij’.

          You wrote: “Considering that one cannot find any substantive publications, in English, by C. de Kreij, and that one has to dig deeply into 15-year old archives at WUR to find anything about this individual, this begs the query, what publishing and research experience does this person have to serve on this board and judge international papers, international research, international collaborations, publishing ethics and authorship issues?”

          A good question? Maybe C. de Kreij has alot of international experience (e.g. in teaching international students in The Netherlands and/or teaching students in countries outside The Netherlands)?

          You wrote: “Who appointed C. de Kreij to the editor board, based on what qualifications, and when?” Again a very good question. I tend to think that gives a quite good overview of all (45) publications of C. de Kreij.

          See also (only in Dutch) and (only in Dutch) and

          Feel free to react when you need mor information.

      2. Dear Jaime,

        You wrote: “Finally, also within the space of a few days, notice how the following 7 editors have been wiped off the editor board, without any public explanation: (…) Ep Heuvelink, Agric. Univ. Wageningen, Wageningen, Netherlands.”

        See and see

        I am unable to find an online list with ‘side positions’ (= nevenfuncties) of dr. Heuvelink. According to IV8 (page6) on , it is mandatory for anyone working as a scientist on any of the Dutch universities that this list of ‘side positions’ is public accessible at the website of the university.

        See also my other posting with more details about WUR and WU.

        1. Dear Klaas,
          Thank you so much for taking time to actually explore these sites and data-bases in order to try and understand who C. de Kreij is. What RW readers and the horticultural community need to understand is not that I am against any person being on an editor board. However, when Elsevier claims that an entire editor board has collectively banned me, all 35 members (of the old board), then it is my duty to run a background check on them. Now that C. de Kreij disappeared from the editor board page, he is no longer an issue of discussion. However, collectively, these 35 individuals have made a “black pact” against me and my collaborators, and there must be serious consequences for them, including contacting their collaborators and their research institutes to issue a formal complaint, from my side. This circus-like scene by Elsevier must also be widely publicized. One cannot keep an editor on the board of the world’s #1 journal for 10 years, like C. de Kreij, claiming that this individual is actually doing any active work for the journal, and then suddenly wipe off this apparently important individual within a matter of days. There is something deeply inherently wrong and unprofessional about the way Elsevier Ltd. has treated the editors, like disposable commodities. I understand that my contacting scientists, which I now have a duty to do towards science, will enrage Elsevier, and goodness knows what I will be labelled next as. This means that I have the responsibility of contacting WUR and asking the authorities to explain the following:
          a) How C. de Krij has benefitted from being an editor of Scientia Horticulturae for 10+ years.
          b) If WUR has any influence on the decision to become an editor, or played any part in the application or vetting process to become an editor.
          c) Considering that their staff member is actively involved in formally BANNING me form this journal, there must be also, by association, some formal responsibility by WUR. If their staff member is aggressively supporting Elsevier Ltd. Ethics, then so too is WUR. WUR also must be held accountable, or disassociate itself with C. de Kriej. It cannot make and eat the cake. WUR cannot shine in the glory of having one of its staff members in the horticultural limelight and then expect that when that same staff bans a member of the horticultural community for supporting contradictory ethical values, that the limelight shift elsewhere.

          The same questions must now be asked to all previous/current editor board members’ institutions to ascertain exactly who banned me, and which universities agree ethically with this type of behavior by Elsevier and the excessively powerful editor board.

          Therefore, this first step that Elsevier has taken must be dealt with a firm and resolute response. Even if only by a single individual. I will therefore be left with no alternative but to…

          What really shocks me about this whole story is how it is possible that only I, one individual among tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands, of horticultural scientists, was seeing this? Is it possible that the 99.9999% of the remaining horticultural community is in deep sleep, is not interested, or just doesn’t care?

  17. “An Elsevier journal has taken “the exceptional step of ceasing to communicate” with a scientist-critic”. However, while processing the last paper – which is in the proof stage now – before this “ban” takes effect, I draw the attention of RW readers to a small link to one e-mail that appeared in an e-mail from one person in the ELS proof department based in Chennai, India. I should add that the same link did not appear in the e-mail of the manager’s e-mail. That discrepancy alone is another small, but worrying sign about Elsevier. However, the much more worrying sign is what is written on the page that links from that web-site link wihin the e-mail:
    For the record, some text that you should keep your eye on:
    a) “Elsevier is committed to maintaining your confidence and trust with respect to the privacy of the personal information we collect from you. Please read this privacy policy carefully to understand our practices about how we collect, use and share your personal information.”
    b) “This privacy policy describes how the personal information that is collected when you visit the Elsevier website, application or product that posts a link to this privacy policy (“Service”) will be used by the Elsevier company that owns the Service (“Elsevier,” “we,” “us” or “our”).”
    c) “The Service collects information from you in two ways: directly from your input and automatically through the Service’s technologies.”
    d) “The types of personal information that the Service collects directly from you may include:
    •Contact details, such as your name, email address, postal address and telephone number;
    •Educational and professional background information;
    •Usernames and passwords;
    •Payment information, such as a credit or debit card number;
    •Comments, feedback, posts and other content you submit to the Service; and
    •Interests and communication preferences.”
    e) “The Service also automatically collects, through our servers and the use of cookies (small text files sent to your computer), web beacons (also known as clear or single pixel .gifs) and other technologies, information that tells us how you use the Service, such as:
    •Internet Protocol (“IP”) address used to connect your computer to the Internet;
    •Computer, device and connection information, such as browser type and version, operating system, mobile platform and unique device identifier (“UDID”) and other technical identifiers;
    •Uniform Resource Locator (“URL”) click stream data, including date and time stamp, referring and exit URLs, search terms you used, and pages you visited or searched for on the Service; and
    •For location-aware services, the physical location of your device in order to provide you with more relevant content for where you are in the world.”
    f) “We may use and disclose information that does not reveal your identity or permit direct association with any specific individual, such as browser and device information, anonymous usage data and aggregated information, for any purpose, except where we are restricted by law. If we combine non-personal information with personal information, the combined information will be treated as personal information for as long as it remains combined.”
    g) “We may use your personal information to:
    •Provide the Service to you, such as allow access to or delivery of our products or services, process or fulfill an order or transaction, or administer surveys or promotional programs;
    •Respond to your requests, inquiries, comments or concerns;
    •Provide technical, product and other support and help keep the Service working, safe and secure;
    •Offer you customized content and individualized personalization of the Service to make it more relevant to your interests and needs;
    •Enhance, evaluate and improve the Service, its advertisements and promotional campaigns and our products and services and to develop new products and services;
    •Identify and analyze usage trends, including for the purposes of research, audits, reporting and paying royalties and license fees to third-party content providers;
    •Notify you about changes or updates to the Service and our products and services; and
    •Provide you special offers, promotions, surveys and other information about the Service as well as products, events and services of ours, our affiliates and non-affiliated third parties such as societies and sponsors.”
    h) “We may on occasion also match or combine the personal information that you provide with information that we obtain from other sources or that is already in our records, whether collected online or offline or by predecessor or affiliated group companies, for the purposes described above.”
    i) “We may share your personal information with:
    •Relevant agents, representatives, joint venturers, and entities for which we are acting as an agent, licensee or publisher, such as societies and sponsors;
    •Applicable suppliers and service providers, including editors, reviewers, credit card processors, customer support, email service providers, mailing houses and shipping agents, and IT service providers; and
    •All of our affiliates, trading names and divisions within the Elsevier group of companies worldwide (for a list, visit,

    to assist us with producing and delivering our products and services, developing and operating our businesses, systems and applications, processing payments, customer support, marketing, promotion and communications and for other purposes set forth in this privacy policy.”
    j) “We also may share your personal information with our affiliated group companies worldwide and with societies, sponsors and other non-affiliated third parties that wish to send you information about their products and services that may be of interest to you as determined by your choices in managing your communications preferences following the process described below.”
    k) “We also may need to disclose your personal information:
    •to respond to or comply with any law, regulation, subpoena, court order or other legal obligation;
    •to enforce and protect our rights and properties;
    •to detect, investigate and help prevent security threats, fraud or other malicious activity;
    •to protect the rights, property or safety of our users, employees or others; and
    •if Elsevier, the Service or a related asset or line of business is acquired by, transferred to or merged with another company.

    The Service may let you post and share personal information, comments, materials and other content. Any information you disclose publicly may be collected and used by others, may be indexable by search engines, and might not be able to be removed. Please be careful when disclosing personal information in these public areas.”

    Some comments and interpretations:
    1) In g, I like how royalties are paid to third parties, but never to authors. Thanks, Elsevier, for your gratitude.
    2) Basically the sum total of these statements indicate, given the sheer size that Reed-Elsevier has, and links with almost everything and everyone, including other publishers, COPE, etc. etc., the literal freedom to send, share and disclose our personal information with almost anyone on this planet linked with publishing.
    3) We (i.e., scientists) are insignificant.
    4) How many of the millions of scientists who publish in Elsevier journals have actually read this page and are actually aware of how little rights we actually have as individuals?
    5) The age of internet spying is a fact, softly sugar-powdered by these pages of legal terms and disclaimers that protect only Elsevier.

    It’s good to keep this in mind as the next phase will soon be put into gear. I wanted this to be the 100th comment because of its importance.

  18. I wish to make a public call for ALL the editors-in-chief (representing therefore the communal voice of ALL editors on this editor board) of Elsevier’s Scientia Horticulturae (and in fact the EICs and editors of all of Elsevier’s journal fleet), especially since Elsevier is a COPE-paying publisher, and including those Elsevier journals that are ICMJE-enforcing journals, to make a voluntary public commitment to editorial quality and editor ethics, as defined by the UNCC, and to post such a declaration publically on their web-pages.

    This will go a very long way to ensure editor accountability, openness in manuscript processing, transparency when there are publisher- and editor-related issues. It will ensure, ultimately, that editors are held up to the exact same standards that authors are held up to, in a fair, equal, unbiased and equally scrutinous way. (Dec 2014) (verbatim quotation)

    “Ethical Practices of Journal Editors: Voluntary Code of Conduct
    I __________as an Editor or Associate Editor of____________, already bound by the ethical standards of my respective journal(s), professional association(s), and discipline, affirm [as an individual and not on behalf of my journal(s) or sponsoring association] the importance of the following practices:
    Article I. Refraining from coercive citation practices, inappropriate citation inflation practices, and citation cartels (whereby editors link together and encourage authors to cite work published in the journals with whom they have partnered).
    In both public submission guidelines, and well as within the peer review process, authors will be encouraged to omit citations that are irrelevant to a paper’s main thesis. Specifically, I will refrain from encouraging authors to cite my journal, or those of my colleagues, unless the papers suggested are pertinent to specific issues raised within the context of the review. In other words, it should never be a requirement to cite papers from a particular journal unless the work is directly relevant and germane to the scientific conversation of the paper itself. I acknowledge that any blanket request to cite a particular journal, as well as the suggestion of citations without a clear explanation of how the additions address a specific gap in the paper, is coercive and unethical.
    I will monitor for, refrain from, and discourage the practice of citation cartels, reviewer/action editor self-serving citation advisement, and editorial regimes and partnerships. As for the latter, this could include serving as a guest editor (or having one of my associate editors serve in this capacity) of another journal with the intent of using it as a mechanism to cite articles from one’s principal journal.
    As an editor, I recognize that metrics such as impact factors are one of many imperfect methods of measuring the impact of published papers, and will not engage in efforts to game or influence these calculations (such as those listed above). I also recognize that, although all journals are entitled to aspire to certain acceptance rate levels and determine their own threshold for what is acceptable work to be published, journals should not artificially reduce the number of papers accepted so as to increase the probability of creating a more favorable impact factor.
    I will also consider the ethical implications of how editorial material is presented, and ensure that the use of editorials or the citations therein are in no way used to game citation counts or impact factor computations.
    Article II. Promotion of ethical research practices.
    In recognizing the global dialog regarding data fraud, research integrity, and implicit pressures on authors to manipulate findings, hide results, etc., I will, whenever possible and appropriate given the scope of my journal, encourage:
    15. data transparency including identifying potential conflicts of interest
    16. the citing of archival data sources properly, and for one-off data collections, revealing to action editors the full set of variables (if reasonable) and other papers emerging from the data sample under review (or for larger-scale investigations, involving publicly available, representative datasets, providing adequate context with which to assess the unique contribution of the reported study).
    17. the reporting (and publishing) of theoretically/methodologically relevant null results
    18. substantive and important replication efforts and the use of both (quality) inductive and deductive research.
    19. the refraining from opportunistic post-hoc hypothesizing under the guise of deductive research.
    20. compliance to journal policy, and discipline-specific ethical standards surrounding data sharing, data retention (to permit colleagues to verify results), and the reporting of results.
    21. careful monitoring for plagiarism, self-plagiarism, and the re-submission of papers rejected by previous editorial teams.
    Article III. Fairness to authors.
    I will encourage:
    11. the providing of clear feedback to authors about what is required to make a paper publishable.
    12. the keeping of commitments made in decision letters.
    13. the keeping of the revision process timely and/or not overly cumbersome or unduly prolonged.
    14. the holding of action editors and reviewers accountable to a high level of due diligence. I recognize that reviewers are expected to prepare high quality reviews that may require additional work beyond reading the manuscript, and that they should not review papers for which they are unqualified. I will monitor review quality and consider returning poor quality reviews, providing such reviewers feedback and/or flagging poor reviewers in the reviewer database. I also recognize that editors and reviewers have an obligation to justify, with relevant citations as appropriate, any recommendations for substantial change in the substantive focus or analytic methods of a paper.
    15. the timely dissemination of published work. I recognize the need to make authors’ published work publicly available as quickly as possible (e.g., through the immediate production of papers and posting on early view, online first, and other web-based listings of in press papers. These papers should be fully formatted and contain a permanent doi code.
    Article IV. The handling of investigations into potential errors and/or potential unethical research practices.
    I recognize that an investigation into alleged errors and/or unethical research practices is a very sensitive matter which involves the protection of the rights of multiple stakeholder groups, including but not limited to authors, accusers, reviewers, action editors, journals, and publishers. In instances where appeals or accusations require an investigation, I commit to handle such situations in a way that maximizes procedural justice and professionalism toward all involved. In many cases this may involve following a standard procedure for handling such issues, such as those put out by the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE; who provides flowcharts for handling ethical problems and guidelines on retractions) or other governing bodies (American Psychological Association, Academy of Management, etc.). In other instances, it may involve following practices established by the journal publisher which are designed to uphold professional ethical standards.
    Article V. Communicating ethical standards.
    I commit to communicate these and other relevant ethical standards to associate editors, board members, and authors; and to convey these principles within appropriate public forums (e.g., editors’ panels at professional conferences). I will encourage reviewers and action editors to report to the Editor (or to the Editor Ethics Advisory Board) when they feel
    the articles herein have been violated. I will encourage action editors to similarly report occasions when reviewers are seen as engaging in unethical practices.
    Article VI. Dissemination of this code.
    I approve of this Code and its signatories being posted on a public Internet site.
    Affirming names are in ABC order by date of the affirmation.”

  19. The last manuscript to be processed before the editor board of this journal officially “cease to communicate” with me was published online on January 6, 2015:

    I add an update, which includes four e-mails, one of January 7, 2015 from Elsevier, one from January 23, 2015 from me to Scientia Horticulturae, one from “Karthi” at Elsevier on February 25, 2015, and one from me on March 21, 2015. All are verbatim e-mails, with no content redacted, except for identifying e-mails. Karthi refers to Karthikeyan Arivazhagan at the proof production department in Chennai, India (ELS-CHN).

    On Saturday, March 21, 2015 9:40 PM, Jaime Silva [redacted] wrote (in addition to the same individuals, the same e-mail was sent to Elsevier’s Sreela Kurup and Shelly Sethi, the latter being the proof production manager (I believe) in Chennai):

    “Dear Karthi,

    On February 25, 2015, you indicated that our review would be published in the next available issue.

    This is clearly not the case.

    In the meantime, three issues have been published or are being developed namely 30 March 2015, 21 April 2015 and 13 May 2015:

    We have noticed now a considerable number of papers that were accepted much after our paper and published online. This situation is clearly biased and unfair.

    Looking forward to see our review placed in this 13 May 2015 issue, without fail.


    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Judit Dobránszki, Budi Winarto, and Songjun Zeng”

    On Wednesday, February 25, 2015 6:45 PM, Scientia Horticulturae (ELS) [email redacted] wrote:

    “Dear Dr. Silva,

    Thank you for the query.

    Please be informed that we have received correction for the article till January 6. The production team needs time to include the correction to the article. Your article is now ready for publication with all the correction incorporated and it will be included in the next available issue.

    Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

    With regards,

    From: Jaime Silva [redacted]
    Sent: Monday, February 23, 2015 11:42 AM
    To: Article_Status (ELS); Scientia Horticulturae (ELS)
    Cc: all editor board members; Jonker, Gilles (ELS-AMS); AuthorSupportGlobal; SUPPORT (ELS); Granqvist, Emma (ELS-AMS)
    Subject: Concern Sci Hortic: Article tracking [HORTI_5644] – Online publication complete

    “Dear Editors,
    Scientia Horticulturae,

    We are a little perplexed to see that only our manuscript sits in the “Articles in press” section, together with a corrigendum:

    However, we have noticed that quite a number of papers that were submitted, accepted or even published online after our paper have already been published in actual journal issues. For example, this paper:

    Can you please explain the precise reason for this unreasonable delay in publication of what appears to be ONLY our manuscript, and the exact procedure that you are employing for selecting some papers for rapid publication before ours.

    We look forward to seeing our review published very soon, with pagination, before it becomes outdated.


    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, Judit Dobránszki, Budi Winarto, Songjun Zeng”

    On Wednesday, January 7, 2015 8:49 AM, Elsevier – Article Status [e-mail redacted] wrote:

    “Please note this is a system generated email from an unmanned mailbox.
    If you have any queries we really want to hear from
    you via our 24/7 support at

    Article title: Anthurium in vitro: A review
    Reference: HORTI5644
    Journal title: Scientia Horticulturae
    Corresponding author: Dr. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva
    First author: Dr. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva
    Online publication complete: 6-JAN-2015
    DOI information: 10.1016/j.scienta.2014.11.024

    Dear Dr. Teixeira da Silva,

    We are pleased to inform you that the final corrections to your proofs have been made. Further corrections are no longer possible. Your article is now published online at:
    Please note that access to the full text of this article will depend on your personal or institutional entitlements.

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  20. The last paper, finally published:

    A paper, submitted in November, and another paper, submitted in the first week of January, withdrawn.

    The reason, identical wording in both cases, transmitted by “Karthi”.

    “At 2015-04-02 20:02:05, “Karthikeyan Arivazhagan” wrote:
    Journal title: Scientia Horticulturae
    Corresponding author: [redacted]
    Article title: [redacted]
    Manuscript number: HORTI13234

    Dear Dr. [redacted],

    Please be informed that as per journal policy all masnucripts for which Dr. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva is one of the author will not be accepted for submission. So we are withdrawing the masnucript from the system.

    With regards,

    In essence, it took Elsevier 4-5 months to “withdraw” the manuscripts from the system rather than immediately notifying us that the papers would not be considered.

  21. Following the publication of the “final” paper in this journal, before my banishment, and the withdrawal in early April 2015 of two others submitted in November 2014 and January 2015, I decided to extend an olive branch. On April 7 2015, I sent an e-mail to the editor board and Elsevier management, seeking a reversal of their decision, based on the lack of any evidence. In that e-mail, I made it clear that all authors of the journal had to be treated fairly, and equally. I also indicated that a reversal of the decision would also require an apology, as well as some changes, including to accountability, openness and fairness. I requested that a decision be made formally, if possible, within April. I will update.

    1. Soon after I sent the olive branch, I received this response. I also add my e-mail query. In the name of the fullest transparency possible about this situation.

      “On Tuesday, April 7, 2015 3:32 PM, “Schwarz, Dietmar” [e-mail redacted] wrote:
      Dear Dr. Texeira da Silva,

      I am wondering about your letter to me and as in previous times bothering many other people not involved in the matter.

      The publisher made the decision and therefore, first of all you need to contact Elsevier.

      Your offer of an excuse as far as it concerns my person, is accepted.

      However, from my point of view, the publisher’s decision was fair and justified. As we, the editors, experienced you do not share the current opinion of ethics in publishing. In this context, I do not understand your new approach since you continued your unethical behavior – in the consideration of the journal – even after the decision of the publisher.

      Best regards,

      Dietmar Schwarz”

      My response (April 10, 2015):

      “Dear Dr. Schwarz,

      Thank you for responding.

      Could you kindly explain exactly what you mean by “you continued your unethical behavior”. Are you referring to my e-mails to the Scientia Horticulturae editor board members, who are all directly involved, and who were contacted only once with the extension of the olive branch, or are you referring to the Cattleya and herbaceous peony paper submissions in November and January, respectively?

      If you could be so kind as to clarify this issue, I would be grateful.

      Best regards,

      Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

      Will update further as the situation unfolds.

  22. Anyone any idea about the frequency of more or less similar cases where a scientific journal puts a ban on a scientist / an author (a group of authors / scientists) to submit manuscripts to their journal?

  23. I wish to call the attention to the fact that 2 years after the ICMJE changed its definition f authorship from 3 clauses to 4, that Elsevier continues to ask its authroship to respect the 3-clause definition: (click on authorship and scroll down to the authorship quick guide)

    Yet, when I contradict this duplicity in definition, and thus ambiguity, I am banned because I challenge the publishing process at Elsevier.

    A year on after my ban from Sci Hortic, the same clash continues. I am sorry, but I believe that this is fundamentally wrong.

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