Researcher loses second bid to quash Diabetes expressions of concern

Mario Saad, via
Mario Saad, via

It hasn’t been a good week for scientists going to court to silence criticism of their work.

Yesterday, PubPeer won a near-complete victory in a case seeking the identities of their commenters. And also yesterday, a Massachusetts judge struck down — for the second time — a request by Mario Saad to remove expressions of concern about four of his papers in Diabetes.

In his ruling, Judge Timothy Hillman wrote:

Dr. Saad does not explain how such an expression of concern would not be a protected statement of opinion, nor does he point to a single phrase that he alleges to be false. Thus, without deciding the merits of Dr. Saad’s defamation claim at this juncture, the Court finds that he has not established the likelihood of success required for the extraordinary remedy of preliminary injunctive relief.

The American Diabetes Association, which publishes Diabetes, also responded to the larger defamation claim this week.

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8 thoughts on “Researcher loses second bid to quash Diabetes expressions of concern”

  1. Good for Judge Hillman–a true seeking, clear thinking man—a rarity in science,
    politics, and power circles.

  2. “2. The defendant is, and was at the time alleged, a public charity, and if any tort was committed by the defendant, which the defendant denies, it was committed in the course of activities carried on to accomplish directly the charitable purposes of the defendant, and the plaintiff therefore cannot recover an amount in excess of $20,000 as provided by Mass. Gen. Laws c. 231, § 85K.”

    This make the situation very comfortable to ADA. IMO, the main reasons of the suit are:

    1- Won time
    2- Somehow scare ADA in a classic SLAPP fashion

    This limited amount of compensation can be easily handle by ADA (if they lose). They certainly feel free now to take any future actions regarding this case (for instance, retract the papers), once monetary compensation in a hypothetical tribunal loss is very limited.

  3. The problem in Brazil is much bigger. There is state-sponsored white list from where Brazilian researchers select journals in order to know where to publish. The following texts were translated from the original in Portuguese. The texts were published in an influential daily newspaper.

    (1) Mar/03/2015 – “Slot machines” scientific events worries Brazilian scientists

    Mauricio Tuffani

    Registration is open, with fees up to $ 450 EUR ($ 505 USD) to 116 simultaneous scientific meetings in February 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. The problem is that events like these are known as “scam conferences” abroad. Organized without academic rigor, they are identified as fraudulent by research institutions from other countries.

    The organizer of these 116 events is the WASET (World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology). Despite its name, is a publisher. Although disclose to be located in Riverside, US, its contact phone is from the United Arab Emirates. Besides invalid, the records of their journals are from Turkey, according to the ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) International Centre.

    While warnings for researchers are found abroad not to attend their conferences or publish in their journals, in Brazil WASET appears in the selection based on quality criteria of national and international journals, made by CAPES (Higher Education Personnel Training Coordination), which is part of the Brazilian Ministry of Education.

    Available on the online platform QUALIS Periodicals, this CAPES selection guides researchers, professors and graduate students to choose journals to publish their studies. The information is important for academic careers, in which the number of published articles and participation in conferences are taken into account, which often are organized by publishers.

    Websites such as the Queensland University of Technology, Australia, the European Society of Neural Networks and blogs of scientists collect negative statements against WASET. The reports explain that the serial conferences become one, combining different areas of expertise and serving only for the publisher to profit from registration fees.

    The ecologist Alexandre Marco da Silva, professor at UNESP, campus of Sorocaba, learned that his name is on the scientific committee of the 14th International Conference of Geophysics and Environmental Engineering, one of 116 events. “I do not know what this conference is about”, he said surprised on the phone, adding that he will require the removal of his name from the committee.

    Pointed in all 116 websites of the WASET conferences “scheduled” for 2016, the Windsor Guanabara Hotel also stated, through its events coordination, that the hotel ignores this schedule, as well as another 110 meetings for 2017 and another 110 for 2018.


    The inclusion of WASET in QUALIS was considered a “serious flaw” by scientists polled by FOLHA, who preferred not to be identified in order not to antagonize CAPES.

    Exception to this anonymity was the physicist Roland Koberle, a retired professor of University of Sao Paulo and member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. “It is very strange this fact”, said the researcher referring to the selection of the publisher by CAPES. He said the QUALIS has an obligation to warn users about fraudulent journals.

    WASET is also on the list of “predatory publishers” of the “Scholarly Open Access” blog by Jeffrey Beall, professor at University of Colorado, Denver. The list relates publishers who exploit, without scientific rigor, journals that charge fees for researchers to publish their articles in OA on the Internet.

    Both in free and paid access, reputable journals take over a year to review and accept articles, or reject them. Predatory publishers reduce this time frame to few months or weeks, and rarely reject papers. “The more items they accept and publish, the more money they make”, said Beall.

    In 2013, one year after the WASET had been detected by the solitary work of Beall, CAPES concluded its three-year evaluation of graduate studies in Brazil, by 48 evaluation area committees, each with an average of 20 consultants. Even without following the academic standard to indicate receipt and acceptance dates of articles, the publisher was not rejected for 20 of these committees.

    Ten of the grades obtained by WASET in QUALIS require registration in at least two scientific databases. Despite this rule, the publications of this publisher are shown only in the unknown International Science Index, whose initials are the same of the prestigious ISI (Institute of Information Science), Web of Science, which is the world’s largest base of this kind.

    Another irregularity of WASET in QUALIS is that it is erroneously listed as journal title. To complicate matters, the publisher has ten magazines, but the CAPES record makes a mess with four ISSN codes. Two of these records are in Turkey but are invalid, and the other two, Singapore, were canceled, according to the ISSN International Center in Paris, France.


    The WASET did not respond to questions sent by the journalist. In a statement, CAPES was evasive about irregularities in the inclusion of WASET and its ISSN records in QUALIS and the stay of this publisher in this selection. Despite this omission, the federal agency claimed that “in cases where there are evidences and references of incorrect or inappropriate editorial practices towards the scientific community, the journals are removed from QUALIS”.

    (2) Mar/06/2015 – Fake Professor edits journal selected by CAPES

    Mauricio Tuffani

    Image [NOT SHOWN] of the form filled by the engineer Abdul Razaque with his fake qualification as Professor at the University of Bridgeport, USA.

    The bimonthly academic engineering journal IJET (International Journal of Engineering and Technology) has been since 2013 in the QUALIS Periodicals selection, of CAPES (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel), which serves to guide researchers, professors and Brazilian graduate students to select scientific journals to publish their articles. However, yesterday (Mar/05/2015) the publication’s name was temporarily removed from the site of its own publishing group, that today recognized that their work can not yet be compared with renowned academic publishers.

    The exclusion happened after the publisher IACSIT (International Association of Computer Science and Information Technology), based in Singapore, learned that the journal’s Editor-in-chief, the Pakistani Abdul Razaque, a PhD student at the School of Engineering at the University of Bridgeport, United States, and not Professor of this institution, as he identifies himself at least since 2013 on the journal’s website that he runs.

    “We are really shocked to learn the truth”, said Yoyo Zhou, executive director of IACSIT, in replying to the message of this blog, who informed him about the divergence between the form that Razaque identifies himself on the IJET website and his true academic qualification at the graduate students webpage in the School of Engineering of that university.

    Razaque also identified himself as a university Professor when filling the form sent to IACSIT to apply for the post of Editor-in-chief. “We apologize for not checking the information carefully”, Zhou said yesterday in the message sent to this blog with a copy of the document. “If all that is in the form is not true, we will disqualify him of our committee and we will discontinue our partnership”.

    ‘New Publisher’

    But it was not quite this that the publisher ended up doing according the message sent this morning by Ron Wu, another executive director of IACSIT.

    “Based on the information that you provided about the IJET Editor-in-chief, Abdul Razaque, the research we did about him, and in his evasive attitude, we decided to remove the information about him from the journal’s website to eliminate any negative influence that can be caused to the IJET and the public. We will strengthen our assessment and our check to ensure that in the future things like this will never happen again. Thank you for providing this important information to us. Because we are a new publisher, we must admit that we do not have any comparison with the renowned publishers, who have better presentations, published articles and more mature review process in all aspects of the journals. The IACSIT is still growing, and I think we will do better in the future”.


    The IACSIT publishes 18 OA academic journals that charge a fee of $ 350 USD from authors for each paper accepted. Since January 2012, the publisher is included in the list of “predatory publishers” of the “Scholarly Open Access” blog, edited by Jeffrey Beall, Professor at the University of Colorado at Denver, USA.

    The list relates publishers who exploit without scientific rigor journals that charge fees from researchers to publish their articles in OA. Both in free and paid access, reputable journals take over a year to review and accept articles, or to reject them. Predatory publishers reduce this time frame to few months or weeks, and rarely reject papers.

    “The more articles they accept and publish, the more money they make” Beall said in an interview for my report “Slot machines” scientific events worries Brazilian scientists, published by FOLHA on Tuesday (Mar/03/2015).


    Despite IACSIT being in Beall’s list since 2012 and having editorial difficulties that his own executive director acknowledges, the IJET and two other of their journals – “International Journal of Modeling and Optimization” and “International Journal of Computer Theory and Engineering” – were selected in 2013 by four CAPES committees, each with one Coordinator, two Assistant Coordinators and about 20 consultants.

    Two of these committees are about Engineering, one is about Architecture and Urbanism and another is about Computer Science.

    Nothing to declare

    Sought since Tuesday (Mar/03/2015) in order to explain why IACSIT journals were selected for the QUALIS and also other publishers from the list of predatory publishers, CAPES informed Thursday (Mar/05/2015) that will not make more comments about this issue. According to the agency, everything that they could say is already in the note sent last week in response to questions about the aforementioned report.

    The CAPES note was evasive. It explains that the inclusion of journals in the QUALIS is done based in the Brazilian academic production during the period of the quality evaluation of graduate programs. In other words, the three IACSIT journals entered the QUALIS because professors and Brazilian researchers published articles in them during the period from 2010 to 2012 and about 200 coordinator and consultants of the four sectors involved did not see objections to select them.

    The full text of this response, that omitted itself about irregularities in the inclusion of other journals, is available in the online version of the aforementioned report.

    Just as IACSIT, I was unable to contact Razaque. The messages that were sent to Razaque were rejected by the e-mail server at the University of Bridgeport. The US phone number provided by him in the form sent to IACSIT is out of service.

  4. Just noting, isn’t it about time the announced investigation at UNICAMP ended? Maybe someone heard something on that?

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