Biologist banned by second publisher


Plant researcher Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva has been banned from submitting papers to any journals published by Taylor & Francis. The reason: “continuing challenges” to their procedures and the use of “inflammatory language.”

This is the second time Teixeira da Silva has been banned by a publisher —  last year Elsevier journal Scientia Horticulturae told him that they refused to review his papers following “personal attacks and threats.”

Apparently, Taylor & Francis has too become frustrated with Teixeira da Silva’s communication strategy. Anthony Trioli, from Taylor & Francis, told Teixeira da Silva in an email (to which Teixeira da Silva copied us on his reply) that they would no longer accept his papers:

We regret your continuing challenges to our established publishing procedures. We believe the number and frequency of these challenges, and the inflammatory language you employ, has undermined the professional working relationship between author and publisher fundamental to successful publishing.  We note that you have published over 40 papers across 15 journals since 2010 with Taylor & Francis, which suggests you have benefited from working with us and our partners, yet you have frequently impugned us and continue to do so now. Therefore with regret we must advise you that no new submissions by you, either as a Corresponding or Co-Author, will be considered by any Taylor & Francis journal.

(For the record, neither Taylor & Francis nor the Elsevier journal have used the word “ban,” but by refusing to accept submissions, they are of course effectively doing the same thing.)

In light of the ban, Trioli explains, Taylor & Francis has withdrawn an article that was supposed to be published:

Please note that your recently accepted article, “The reproducibility associated with and proprietary importance of declaring the commercial source and grade of chemicals and equipment in a scientific paper” (KCIB 1084449), to be published in Communicative & Integrative Biology has been withdrawn. Feel free to submit elsewhere for publication.

For years, Teixeira da Silva has pushed back against what he calls “a corrupted publishing industry” with frequent and passionate complaints, sometimes dispensed in all caps. Sample email to Elsevier editors:


He is also a frequent commenter on Retraction Watch.

Teixeira da Silva told us he believes the move by Taylor & Francis stems from his complaints about high publishing fees for one of their journals:

The latest case, which I believe sparked the banning, was with Communicative & Integrative Biology, an open access journal. A paper submitted earlier this year was accepted automatically without peer review. Yet, I was expected to pay an exorbitant APC. I do admit that I goofed up by submitting to the journal, unaware of the OA APCs, but I was displeased to see a paper, which is most definitely far from perfect, being accepted automatically, with a big price tag on it. So, I complained. And each and every case has its deep background. I hope that case by case, I can expose each conflict, and give a balanced view, also showing where I have erred, if at all.

The fees for publishing in Communicative & Integrative Biology currently range from $750 to $2,000, depending on the type of submission and the license. They are set to see a small hike on October 1st. We’ve seen another T&F paper felled by a page charge dispute — earlier this month, we saw a paper pulled from Plant Signaling & Behavior over a charge of $100 per page.

In an email Teixeira da Silva forwarded to us, Trioli explains that, despite a quick turnaround time, Teixeira da Silva’s paper had gone through a proper vetting process:

As to the accusation of your article not being peer reviewed, I can assure you that it certainly was. Rapid review of submissions is something that Landes Bioscience prided itself on as a publisher, and a policy that Taylor & Francis is committed to maintaining for Communicative & Integrative Biology. As you note yourself, your submission was reviewed and accepted without the need for revision in 22 days. I would ideally like to see that time shortened, but acceptance in 3 weeks is certainly acceptable.

The ban has been very upsetting, Teixeira da Silva told us:

I do wish to state very emphatically that I feel very sick, very sad, very disappointed, and very frustrated that complaints cannot be effectively dealt with by Taylor and Francis. My career is in ruins with these conflicts. Science activism is born out of the frustration of dealing with publishers’ bureaucracy. As scientists, we have the right to complain, and the emphasis on tone only emphasizes a publishing platform obsessed with politically-sensitive language and tone rather than dealing with quality control at the core of the publishing process. When frustration sets in, I guess the channels of communication come to an end. Making an example of me will only infuriate the scientific base who can see through the farce and the tragic comedy at play.

Teixeira da Silva also elaborated on his current status as a researcher:

I decided to retire in April 2013 so that I could work independently, form my own collaborations and publish freely without being bound to any institutes or codes of conduct, thus minimizing the potential or actual conflicts of interests, and allowing me to challenge, albeit with some horrible results like this one, the publishing elite about some principles I disagree with. So yes, I publish actively and work with quite a few groups around the world.

We reached out to Trioli, and to the Editor in Chief of Communicative & Integrative BiologyWe’ll update this post if we hear back.

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68 thoughts on “Biologist banned by second publisher”

  1. First, seems quite unethical of T&F to withdraw a letter of acceptance because “we don’t like you.” They seem within their right to ban anyone from submission… but I wonder if the authors would win a suit forcing them to publish that paper…

    Second, it might be interesting for the community if the author published the reviews that he received from the rapidly accepted paper. Every paper I’ve submitted has has reviewer comments even if accepted. There’s no reason that peer review needs to take >3 weeks, aside from the fact that reviewers like to procrastinate. If journals paid reviewers for reviews that took less than 1 week, I bet that 99% of papers would turn around that quick. I’d also like to know 1) why the author didn’t think that the paper was good enough for publication and 2) why the authors submitted a paper that they didn’t think was good enough to be published as is.

    Finally, I’m curious as to why the author continues to submit to publishers that he believes are corrupt. Wouldn’t a better solution be to simply boycott them? Why not submit to journals that you consider to be more fair or start your own? The article charges are clearly listed on the website (and totally crazy for a no-impact factor catch all journal with no affiliation to a major society).

    1. Thank you for your feedback, your interaction, your comments and your questions. I will try to respond to them as briefly as possible.

      1) Regarding a suit, I barely have enough money to survive, let alone file a suit, so that’s out of the question. And, as I see it, the battle in science publishing is going to be won not in the halls of courtrooms, but out in the public arena of debate. I am therefore against legal action against any party.

      2) Regarding peer reports, kindly note that there was only an acceptance e-mail. Please request Mr. Trioli and Prof. Baluška to produce these peer reports.

      3) Actually, I like our paper. It is an important topic that has received very little attention. I have been working on it for some months now and it felt informative, at least to us. But herein lies the importance of peer review. When we observe our own work, we cannot perceive its weaknesses or its flaws, because we are so blinded by our own opinions. So, peer review will always have its important part to play because we expect critical feedback from individuals who claim to be that journal’s specialists and professionals, namely the editors and the peers they employ. I am not saying that my paper is worthless, I am just saying that it certainly is not perfect. If it were perfect it would be published in Nature. This means that the work that this editor board did, which was zero, is insufficient.

      4) The paper, which uses the plant science literature to exemplify certain concepts, was submitted to a handful of plant science-related jorunals of another publisher, all with the same excuse and immediate rejection: “This topic is beyond the scope of the journal. The topic is interesting but we have more submissions….” the regular excuses. So, I decided to submit to a wild-card journal, this one.

      5) Why submit to publishers I perceive are corrupt? This is an excellent question. But my words seem to have been placed out of context. I believe that there are processes in some of the leading STM publishers that are corrupt. Despite this, they still remain the best choices for publication, RELATIVE to let’s say, the “predatory” open access publishers listed on Beall’s blog. So, from my negatve experiences, I feel that many processes are corrupt, in the following senses:

      a) peaceful and satisfactory solutions are not found;
      b) when errors are reported, I am never thanked;
      c) we are not remunerated by for-profit publishers, who make profit off our intellect;
      d) complaints are not handled efficiently, or promptly, in many cases. As a rule of thumb, I send one very professional and polite email. No response then invoked a second email and reminder. By the third e-mail, the entity on the other side will already have lost my respect and that is where the “inflammatory language” probably steps in. So, I feel that we are provoked by lack of transparency and accountability. And that to me is the most irritating aspect of all.

      For example, will Mr. Trioli or Prof. Baluška step forward to have a frank discussion about the issues here at RW and take questions in an informal Q&A. I suspect not. And that then typifies and personifies the problem I am tired of dealing with: an elite structure, both at the editorial level and at the publisher managerial level, that only wants to listen to what is convenient listening to. We really have no voice, and we are truly dispendables.

      6) I did start my own journals, at Global Science Books:
      The publisher went bankrupt and I went broke. A slight disclaimer here: Taylor and Francis were in discussion, alongside another 200 potential candidates for the takeover of the entire journal fleet. That never materialized.

      Finally, I answer only for myself and not for my co-author, of course. I hope, qqaaqq, that this answers your queries.

    2. “If journals paid reviewers for reviews that took less than 1 week, I bet that 99% of papers would turn around that quick.”
      A few decades ago, I read that (some) economics journals were going to experiment with a more nuanced version of that proposal: referees would be paid quite a reasonable sum (reasonable for economists; as I recall, it was about 5 times the going honorarium fee for non-star mathematicians giving colloquium presentations or the like) for (say) a 1-week turnaround, but the sum would decay to 0 quickly with the passage of time.

      I never read anything more about it, however.

  2. I would like to thank Retraction Watch for once again bringing the frontline of the battle between scientists and publishers to the attention of the wider public. It has been a very stressful and traumatic 48 hours for me, and there is never enough preparation that one can have to deal with the negative fall-out of being banned by a publisher or from its journals. The e-mail from Mr. Trioli admittedly hit me like a bomb. I am of the belief that this decision was excessive and that not enough principles or practice of conflict resolution are in place at Taylor and Francis (T&F)/Informa. His leap from what he claims to have been consistent complaints over the past 4 or 5 years to suddenly pulling the publishing plug on me is an absolutely aggressive move. Absolutely no warning was given, no advice, no call for tone moderation, etc. One day (22 September 2015) I requested the peer reviewer reports to support his claim that peer review had been conducted, the next (23 September 2015) I was banned from all T&F journals.

    Should a publisher be able to ban a scientist so simply for what they perceive, in their hearts, to be truly important issues in need of challenge?

    I still ask, Mr. Trioli, who is the Editorial Director of US Science, Technology and Medicine Journals Editorial, TAYLOR & FRANCIS GROUP, LLC in Philadelphia, USA, and Prof. František Baluška, Institute of Cell and Molecular Botany, University of Bonn, Germany, the Editor-in-Chief of Communicative & Integrative Biology [1], to please make public these so-called peer review reports. I believe that they simply do not exist, simply because my manuscript went from submission to automatic acceptance, as follows:
    Submitted and acknowledged On Thursday, July 23, 2015 6:03 AM.
    Automatically accepted on Friday, August 14, 2015 12:05 AM, WITHOUT PEER REVIEW.

    What is furthermore disturbing was that I am then expected to pay an extraordinary amount of money, which is disguised as an open access APC. We must stand up to this as scientists. Why, when I requested a fee waiver, was I not given one, Mr. Trioli? As you know, I have no salary, no position and have been working for science voluntarily for almost 10 years now, out of my passion. This includes the 40 papers you allude to which are not free for readers, I might add.

    May this serious situation, which will have equally serious repercussions no doubt, serve as an important learning curve for other scientists who wish to challenge the publishing processes of the mainstream STM publishers, for those who wish to challenge editorial decision and for those who wish to defend their rights to complain when they perceive fundamental issues to be wrong.

    One is left asking, where does the limit lie? Was I really that rude, wrong, or critical, or did I simply state too many truths about issues that do not want to be discussed openly in the public arena? Was I wrong to request a fee waiver? Was I wrong to demand to see my peer reports for my accepted paper?

    These are very tough times for the defense of honesty and integrity in science, speaking from the grassroots level of the battle in science, for pointing out what is wrong, and for sticking to whatever principles we believe to be right, in the light of increasing draconian publishing rules and attitudes. There is a gross lack of accountability and transparency. Editors are made to be publishers’ puppets, as exemplified by Mr. Trioli, who requested Prof. Baluška to defer all emails to him, without responding, from September 23 onwards. These are challenging times for whistle-blowers, for snitches, and for complainers. Even so, a search on the T&F online platform will reveal that I have been a strong and firm supporter of several T&F journals. At the end of the day, to transmit a message, and to get it heard, someone is bound to take a hit. As I did. It boils down to two paths on the publishing road, I believe: one of silent submission to the publishing processes, and the other, a more proactive voicing of discontent where discontent should be raised. Most of the colleagues I know take the former path.

    I am no stranger to conflict with STM publishers in recent years, and I have been the subject of some contentious clashes and conflicts before. The three most pertinent would be: a) being banned from Elsevier’s Scientia Horticulturae for standing up to the editor board, which I perceived to be corrupted and with suspect editorial dealings and politically motivated stances [2]; b) complaining vociferously about the slack editorial protocol at Science and Engineering Ethics published by Springer, leading me to call for the resignation of the Editors-in-Chief [3]; refusing to pay publication fees for a paper that was processed without peer review and for which payment guidelines were at best murky, a case not unlike this one in . That was in GM Food and Crops, also published by T&F, previously Landes Bioscience, leading to an eventual withdrawal of the paper [4]; c) exposing the corruption of a Serbian journal, the Archives of Biological Science, which charged excessive fake fees (almost 1800 euros) and conducted no peer review, subsequently revealing the inner corruption of the editor board, which was replaced in its entirety [5, 6]. The new editor board ushered in a new age of editorial transparency that should serve as a model for the oligopolic STM publishers [7]. Finally, d) trying to indicate to the wider plant science community, through Retraction Watch, that not all is well with science publishing, and that we all have our active role to play, not only in being “good” scientists in the traditional sense of the word, and contribute to the edification of the publishing process, but also in pointing out aspects that are not acceptable, that are wrong, or that indicate that the literature is in a less desirable state than it should be, either with faulty science, or with dishonest science [8].

    The voices of discontent will always raise the ire of those who are criticized, and I guess that there would always be a risk in complaining. But once again, being banned for complaining too loudly? Taylor and Francis / Informa and Mr. Trioli, surely this decision has been one step too far on the path to constructive evolution of the publishing process by not taking scientists concerns into consideration?

    [7] Larivière V, Haustein S, Mongeon P (2015) The oligopoly of academic publishers in the digital era. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0127502. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0127502

    1. Erratum: Mr. Trioli requested Prof. František Baluška and any/all members of the editor board to defer all comments to him on September 16, and not on September 23 as I indicated above.

  3. Publisher Taylor & Francis is a member of COPE.

    The COPE CoC for journal publishers states:
    * “publishers should foster editorial independence.”
    * “publishers who are COPE members and who support COPE membership for journal editors should follow this code and should encourage the editors they work with to follow the COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors.”

    The COPE Code of Conduct for Journal Editors states:
    * “3.1. Editors’ decisions to accept or reject a paper for publication should be based on the paper’s importance, originality and clarity, and the study’s validity and its relevance to the remit of the journal.”

    It seems to me that the decision of publisher Taylor & Francis in regard to the ban to Dr. Teixeira da Silva is not in line with the CoC of Journal Publishers of COPE. It seems to me as well that an automatic rejection by an Editorial Board of a manuscript (co)authored by Dr Teixeira da Silva because of this ban is a clear violation of item 3.1. of the COPE CoC for Journal editors.

    I would like to suggest Dr Teixeira da Silva and his co-workers to ignore the ban of publisher Taylor & Francis. Just continue with submitting new manuscripts to a Taylor & Francis journal when such a T&F journal seems to be a good option to get the manuscript published.

    1. Thank you, Klaas, for your thoughts. I like your ideas about the possible violation of COPE code for editors. I disagree, however, with your suggestion. I will respect the ban because I am sure that it was decided after careful consideration. My responsibility is to now show that Taylor and Francis has erred, and for that, I must put forward the proof publicly. To disrespect their imposed rule would be meaningless and would work against my argument. I have received 6 e-mails tonight alone from T&F journals that have indicated that my online accounts have been altered, so I suspect that some block or truncation function has been added that prevents me from submitting.

  4. Interesting contradiction here, Jaime writes: “As you know, I have no salary, no position and have been working for science voluntarily for almost 10 years now, out of my passion..” while telling RW “I decided to retire in April 2013 so that I could work independently…”
    So what is true, almost 10 years or two years? I would be interested in a verifiable CV.

    If you have no funds, don’t submit to journals that charge authors. Period. End of discussion.

    I can’t help it, I have to add one more general comment, the first and last time I will do so:
    The peer review question would be an interesting one. Unfortunately, however, for years now it seems a few good points have been overshadowed by minor to miniature grievances that have been blown totally out of all proportion by Jaime. I can see how some editors and publishers sum that up as querulant behaviour, especially if beefed up with inappropriate language.
    And all that causes me (and possibly many others) to completely ignore Jaimes long and exhaustive posts here, even if they might contain some good points……

    1. PS:
      I did not check every paper, as it has been quite a bulk of papers over the last few years (something that raised eyebrows in previous threads on Jaime here before (authorship….)). However, regarding 10 years no position: Jaime called Faculty of Agriculture of Kagawa University his affiliation in papers up to at least 2012. I would again call that a contradiction. Also, I have not found a paper where he used an institutional email adress, it seems to always be yahoo et al. Also interesting, I did not find any papers where he co-authored with anyone from the Faculty of Agriculture of Kagawa University, except for one paper from I think 2004. Quite unusual, isn’t it? Can anyone confirm that Jaime actually held a position at Kagawa University at least until 2012?

    2. genetics, feel free to contact Kagawa University (which also falls under the Ehime Rendai University branch) to confirm my existence at that/those research institute(s), officially, from 1998-2013:
      The current Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture is Prof. Ikuo Kataoka, who used to be my MSc lecturer, back in the good old days, on fruit tree breeding:

      The outgoing Dean, Prof. Shigeru Hayakawa, of the Food Science department, would vouch perfectly, as he was the Dean when I rescinded my contract on March 31, 2013. However, I am not sure if he still can be contacted at the university but he may be still involved with the Rare Sugars Group*.

      I can see your perspective about the contradiction. However, there is no contradiction. My position was voluntary at Kagawa University in my last 7 years of my contract there, indicating that no financial benefits were ever obtained. Once again, feel free to contact Kagawa University to confirm this if you wish. They know my several conflicts with the STM publishers well.

      “If you have no funds, don’t submit to journals that charge authors. Period. End of discussion.” I’m afraid that you are somewhat incorrect here. What your comment suggests is that publishers should discriminate against the poor to favor the rich, a position I strongly disagree with. A recent example was where I submitted to a BMC journal, Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine, where I was allowed to first submit, then apply for a fee waiver, simply because I could not afford the astronomic APCs for this OA journal. I am pleased to inform you that JNRBM approved my request and the paper was subsequently published:
      Teixeira da Silva, J.A. (2015) Negative results: negative perceptions limit their potential for increasing reproducibility. Journal of Negative Results in BioMedicine 14: 12.
      DOI: 10.1186/s12952-015-0033-9

      Why does Taylor and Francis not have a similar “humanitarian” OA APC waiver for valid cases? I would be quite happy to send them a formal bank statement to prove my state of poverty (despite being in Japan) and extremley low income.

      * As some sort of a disclaimer, I should add that my exit was not without a fight, and with a lengthy list of complaints to and about Kagawa University. Who knows, maybe this story at RW will now give an excellent opportunity to expose my grievances. Curiously, one hint lies in a retraction:
      Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition 45(3), 271–277, November 2009
      The Study on Long-Term Toxicity of D-Psicose in Rats
      Kanako Yagi, Tatsuhiro Matsuo
      Faculty of Agriculture, Kagawa University, Ikenobe, Miki-cho, Kita-gun, Kagawa 761-0795, Japan
      DOI: 10.3164/jcbn.08-191
      PMCID: PMC2771247
      Received 1 July, 2008; Accepted 24 July, 2008 (open access) (open access)

      1. Thanks for the reply (also to Klaas). Whenever I am wrong, I have no issue to “retract” what I have said. Indeed, I believe the paper I mentioned was also co-authored with Tanaka, which seems to have been the main co-author from that institution for the last half a dozen or so years there. Tanaka is also a co-author of a biologia 2014 paper.

        You openly admit that you were not really best friends anymore with the faculty at Kagawa. That is interesting to read. And it might explains what I perceived as “he almost never published with anyone from his institution”. As we now know, that was wrong, but maybe we can agree that you have relatively rarely published with anyone from your institution, especially compared with your overall output.

        Still remains strange that you never used an institutional email. Was Kagawa University short of emails or was there some other reason for this?

        I do completely disagree on whether a publisher can impose author charges or not. A publisher is a free entrepreneur. It’s private business. Like it or not, that’s the way it is. If an author decides to offer a manuscript to a publisher who charges 10k$ per accepted manuscript, it’s the free decision of a free author to offer the manuscript to a free publisher under these circumstances. Of course, if the peer-review in such cases is poor to non-existent, it would be a case for Jeffrey Beall. And if it was a government agency that publishes, it would be different. But it’s not, it’s a business. You cannot complain to Mercedes for not giving you a car for free, so why complain that T@F does not give you a free publishing slot?
        Don’t get me wrong, I dislike author-charges. I even more dislike pay-walls for everyone who is interested in reading a paper. I also believe that publishers have way to high profit margins. Especially since every publisher basically has a monopoly on whatever they publish, you just cannot buy the information/paper from someone else. But the only true way to change these things is not to publish with such journals. I acknowledge that what you call “publishing conservatism” also hits me. But I also see it as MY fault.

        And even the publishing ban is at the discretion of the publisher. What law exactly would force a publisher to accept someone as author? It is solely the publishers own business. Here in the discussion section, we only hear one (lengthy) side of the story. What if the “inflammatory language” really reached an unacceptable level? Should they just swallow it and stay silent?

        Plus, even if someone would impose a “no ban” rule, they could still make sure the peer review leads to rejection of every manuscript in the future. How are you going to avoid that? If editors and publishers were smart, they would never communicate something like that over email, they would just pick up the phone to discuss that with peer-reviewers that they can freely choose. You want to tap all editorial phones? And at the end, the editor is totally free to decide anyway (or would anyone seriously consider that wrong?). So really, the easy way out for the editor and publisher would simply be to answer any submission two weeks later with “sorry, rejected without review, simply not good enough”.

        1. genetics, once again, thank you for your feedback. The issue with Kagawa University was fully resolved in 2013. I suggest that you read the comment section of the story at RW regarding the ban at Scientia Horticulturae: much of what you question or do not understand is explained there.

          You make many interesting suggestions, but it seems that those questions would be best directed to T&F, and not to me. You are right when you state that T&F is a business, and as a business, it has to do whatever it takes to protect its name, its reputation and its shareholders. But does that protection need to involve a ban, a decision made within 24 hours? Especially without the consultation or approval of all T&F journals’ editors (after all, Trioli and T&F made this decision on their behalf, i.e., they made an ethical decision on behalf of ALL T&F journal editors). In other words, I question the ethics of their ban (i.e., can they assume an ethical position on behalf of ALL T&F journal editors without their explicit approval?). Or are you suggesting that when Trioli/T&F banned me from all journals that those journal editors do not need to be consulted? For example, if I was an editor of a T&F journal, and I learnt that a ban had been issued in my name and in the name of that journal I served, and its society, without my explicit approval, that I would be pretty irritated, at least. I guess any editor that disagrees with the ban can simply leave the T&F journal editor board in question, of course. This may explain what happened when I raised concerns about Elsevier’s Scientia Horticulturae editor board, leading to almost half of the editor board changing within the space of only a few weeks.

          Finally, you are spot on about one suggestion: “Of course, if the peer-review in such cases is poor to non-existent, it would be a case for Jeffrey Beall.” I did recommend this journal for inclusion on Beall’s list of “predatory” journals precisely because I believe that no peer review took place. Please recall the laughable peer review took place with GM Crops and Food [1]. I don’t know about you, but I don’t know how T&F can justify requesting exorbitant APCs when the editors have done no work and when “peer review” is falsely advertised (or at least not put into practice). That would make the T&F business model no better than some of the journals and publishers advertised on Beall’s list. It would make it a classic paper mill. In fact, I made this suggestion quite clear when I communicated my dissatisfaction with Communicative & Integrative Biology, by indicating that this journal should be a candidate for Beall’s lists precisely because acceptance without a single editorial or peer comment was made, i.e., automatic acceptance. This is one criterion that Beall uses to include journals on his lists. Perhaps my suggestion for inclusion on the Beall lists was interpreted as “inflammatory language”?

          [1] This is the “peer review” conducted on my paper by GM Crops and Food: “Reviewer #2 (Remarks to the Author): Please correct the spelling of ‘traits’ in line 26.”” ONE PHRASE.

  5. @ genetics (September 25, 2015 at 9:30 am):


    “The impact of carbenicillin, cefotaxime and vancomycin on chrysanthemum and tobacco TCL morphogenesis and Agrobacterium growth, J.A. Teixeira da Silva and S. Fukai, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagawa University, Miki-cho, Kagawa, 761-0795, Japan”.

    (J. Appl. Hort., 3(1):3-12, January-June, 2001).

  6. Once again @ genetics (September 25, 2015 at 9:30 am): for example the profile of Michio Tanaka ( ) lists 11 shared publications with Dr Teixeira da Silva.

    One example. “Multiple Regeneration Pathways via Thin Cell Layers in Hybrid Cymbidium (Orchidaceae”, Journal of Plant Growth Regulation September 2006, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 203-210, First online: 26 September 2006

    “Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva and Michio Tanaka, Department of Horticultural Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Kagawa University, Miki-cho, Kagawa 761-0795, Japan”

    (copy/pasted from the PDF of this paper).

    1. For the record, Prof. Seiichi Fukai was my MSc and PhD supervisor from 1998-2003. Prof. Michio Tanaka was my subsequent supervisor and collaborator in the period from 2004-2013.

  7. An update. Yesterday, I received automated messages from four T&F journals, all with the same wording (see sample below, e-mails and password details redacted) indicting that my online accounts had been modified. I had not modified these accounts, nor did I give permission to anyone to enter these accounts, either.

    I have asked these journals to explain exactly what they modified and will update if I receive a response.

    The journals were:
    Critical Reviews in Biotechnology
    Journal of Essential Oil Bearing Plants
    Archives of Agronomy and Soil Science
    Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry

    “On Friday, September 25, 2015 5:14 PM, [redacted] wrote:


    Dear Professor Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva:

    This e-mail is a notification that your account on Critical Reviews in Biotechnology – Manuscript Central site has been modified.

    Your USER ID for your account is [redacted] Your Password: [redacted]

    Please note that your PASSWORD is case-sensitive.

    Thank you for your participation.

    Critical Reviews in Biotechnology Editorial Office”

  8. Query 1

    Prof. František Baluška is the EIC of Communicative & Integrative Biology. He is also the EIC of Plant Signaling and Behavior, also published by Taylor and Francis:
    On that editor board, one may find Harsh P. Bais. Also, on the steering committee of the Society of Plant Signaling and Behavior is Jorge M. Vivanco:
    Bais and Vivanco have been highlighted at Retraction Watch:

    Prof. František Baluška, as a member of the steering committee of this society, and as the editor-in-chief of both Taylor and Francis journals, what is your opinion on Bais and Vivanco, specifically with respect to:
    a) the ethical image that an editor board should have;
    b) whether editors that have less than a perfectly clean slate should in fact be editors of plant science journals of reputable publishers like Taylor and Francis.

    Mr. Trioli, related to a “publishing procedure”, although I understand that The Society of Plant Signaling and Behavior has a contract with Taylor and Francis for publishing its journal, what is Taylor and Francis’ broader stance with respect to editors whose work has been questioned on sites like PubPeer, or who have clearly documented questionable backgrounds, as with Bais and Vivanco? Do you and does T&F believe that they should be serving on editor boards of academic journals where academic reputation is the foundation of the journal? If yes, I would be grateful to hear your logic, especially with respect to publisher’s image and trust by peers in that/those editors/journal/publisher. I have no doubt that T&F must have an official policy on this, but I am unable to locate the appropriate web-page, so if you could point it out, the public would be very grateful, I am sure.

    Thank you both in advance.

    1. Harsh P. Bais no longer on the editor board of Taylor & Francis’ Plant Signaling & Behavior:

      Jorge M. Vivanco remains on the Steering Committee of the The Society of Plant Signaling and Behavior:

      Harsh P. Bais (and Eshel Ben-Jacob or Tel Avid University) no longer on the editor board of Taylor & Francis’ Communicative & Integrative Biology:

  9. I have formally invited Mr. Trioli and 6 other Taylor and Francis management figures, who were included on the e-mail informing me that I had been banned from Taylor and Francis / Informa journals, to provide a frank, open and transparent response to all of the queries I am about to present. I sincerely hope that they will accept this invitation.

    1. I have also formally invited the following entities to join the debate.

      The editors-in-chief and editor board members of Communicative & Integrative Biology:

      COPE, specifically Natalie Ridgeway, the Executive Officer of COPE.

      The Informa Executive, including the CEO of Informa, Lord Stephen Andrew Carter, and the CEO of Taylor & Francis Group, Roger Horton:

      British Media

  10. Very central to my arguments and cases that follow, and those already described above, are the following statements/claims made by Taylor and Francis / Informa, namely:

    “As publishers, we are dedicated to ensuring that the knowledge we provide is always professionally produced, rigorously researched and appropriately disseminated. Alongside this commitment to content, we are also passionate about conducting our business ethically…”

    “The common denominator for all parts of the Taylor & Francis Group is thriving on the delivery of high quality, trusted content. We operate a robust and well regarded peer review process to ensure that content is always of the highest standard. We work closely with the Committee of Publication Ethics (COPE), a charity dedicated to promoting the integrity of peer-reviewed publications in science.”

    “Reviewers should provide a constructive, comprehensive, evidenced, and appropriately substantial peer review report.”

    1. Not really. It would have gotten boring fast a few years ago, but I find Jaime has significantly not only improved his command of the language, but of the message as well. Even though his posts are still too lengthy, they are on point, and move in a logical way, eventually to an explanation and a defense of his view. And are accessible to outsiders from his field (this point is crucial). None of this was true when reading his posts on this site a few years ago.

      I found that I read all his posts on this thread, was able to follow them, and was convinced by him that he’s probably been wronged by Taylor and Francis. The publisher had no right to pull a paper, and probably the editor did not bother to answer polite inquiries in the first place before it got out of hand.

      I think JaTDS is doing well. Needs to cut down on volume still, but he’s starting to make a formidable foe for these guys. Especially if they insist on keeping radio silence after dropping the ban bomb.

      1. blatnoi, whoever you may be, thank you for your support. It is very rare to get open support in tough times like this. And it is not easy to fight an injustice (actual or perceived) when that injustice has been handed down by a very powerful and dominant publisher. I am still battling Elsevier, for years now.

        That said, we should give the different parties I have called to the discussion table enough time to respond publicly. If there is no open and frank response in let’s say one month from now, if nobody from T&F presents the so-called peer reports publicly, and if there are no responses to my pointed questions (all of them), then indeed, I would agree that T&F will start to lose the argument.

        Again, I apologize for my long posts. They are meant exclusively to provide a full understanding of actions or statements I have made, to try and be as open and transparent as possible. I tend to think in this fast-moving Twitter world, where people seem to prefer short comments to save time, that details get lost. And in such an important case where a critic scientist is banned from a publisher, it’s all about detail.

        I should note that I have only presented Query 1. I need to organize my folder and examine the different conflicts I may have had about various issues. And hopefully T&F will then reach out and respond to each of these cases/queries. The wonderful thing about RW is that a relatively safe public depository exists of this situation. And so even if T&F emerges the victor, the scientific community will understand with what corporation they are dealing with. I also hope that the Informa shareholders see this story as well.

  11. Dear Anton, thank you for your really pertinent question, i.e., “why don’t you publish your work on biorxiv or similar places instead?”

    It has allowed me to introspectively reflect on this this morning. I believe that I got an almost identical question from a RW reader when I got banned from Elsevier’s Scientia Horticulturae. And I provided a slightly different response then. My response here is slightly different because times have changed a lot over one year.

    If I could simplify the answer, for those who detest my long answers, I would say “publishing conservatism”. But I wish to elaborate in more detail because I feel that this question applies to a wide swathe of the plant science community, so perhaps my response might reverberate with some.

    Firstly, if I were to self-evaluate my own work and research achievements, which one can now see publicly at ResearchGate, you will notice that I am no rocket scientist. You will not find any papers in the top publishing stratum like JBC, PNAS, Nature, Science and the like. In some ways, the path I took was guided primarily by the limitation in funding and structural research limitations. That means that big ideas could not be explored and to a large extent, only gaps in the literature could be explored. Working with other groups over many years around the world expanded those options. In my mind, idealistically, I always considered there to be sufficiently good avenues of publication in the top four STM publishers, namely Elsevier, Springer (now Springer Nature), Taylor and Francis, and Wiley. However, as my interaction with these publishers increased, and as my knowledge of the literature and of publishing increased, so too did my conflicts begin to increase. So, that “ideal” list and image of STM publishers, to whom I and my colleagues had entrusted our copyright (except for OA), began to lose its luster.

    I also believe that one of the greatest influencing factors about being a firm supporter of these 4 STM publishers is that they still remain the “safest” repository of scientific information, due to their brute and powerful prowess, what Lariviere refers to as the publishing oligopoly. So, this is the irony, the very publishers that I have an axe to grind with about certain key issues are the very ones we, scientists, entrust. Unfortunately, and I speak loosely for the plant science community and more specifically for the horticultural community, we are still a very conservative bunch. This means that we still retain relatively blind faith in the traditional STM publishers, and hope that they will reform to meet our needs. That “blind faith” led me to feel that I was allowed to complain since I was given the impression that complaints would be taken seriously and that reform would take place, to better the system, the “publishing procedures” I was complaining about, to make it better for all, including colleagues and other peers, and the publisher.

    I was clearly very wrong about my naïve perceptions of the “greater good” of these STM publishers. Complaining about what I felt were valid concerns were apparently accumulated in some docket, which Mr. Trioli used to base his decision on. And I was punished – unfairly as I see it – for my complaints.

    Going back to ResearchGate, you will also notice another trend in my publishing career: the move to publishing work in academic journals that offer FREE open access. I do admit that some papers have appeared in so-called “predatory” open access publishers’ journals, but that was an active choice I made for two reasons: a) those papers, like opinion pieces and letters to the editor, are almost never accepted by plant science journals in the 4 STM publishers I list. So, the choice of venue is limited. b) I have been experimenting, and continue to experiment, with alternative locations for publication. Because, dee inside, even though I am critical of traditional peer review, and its deep failures, it still remains the best option.

    So, you will also see, perhaps in 2013-2015, a wider range and scope of journals, with smaller data sets or opinion pieces tending to land up in peripheral, non-impacted, and lesser known OA journals. They give me greater exposure, and allow me to then expand that exposure through ResearchGate, for example. No STM publisher, with its current copyright restrictions, can offer me this dual flexibility.

    As for Arxiv, yes, I see many chemists, physicists and mathematicians using that publishing platform. But I, and most likely other plant scientists – possibly the vast majority – do not know, trust, understand, or appreciate the value of this system (yet) over the traditional choices at these 4 STM publishers. Whip me (us) for being traditional! For example, if you were to ask a plant scientist of the “middle class”, would you prefer to publish in Arxiv, or in Taylor and Francis’ Plant Biosystems, the answer is likely going to be pretty evident.

    I would say that the same applies to other, maybe even the majority, of plant scientists.

    I should state that the number of OA values that serve as suitable alternatives to these 4 STM publishers has increased so being banned by T&F is painful, but it is not mortal. Had this happened 15 or 20 years ago, the pain would have been much more severe, simply because the choice of publishing venues was so much more restricted.

    Take for example, this ban by Taylor and Francis. Of course, after publicly exposing my complaints that Mr. Trioli appears to be alluding to, with as accurate a description as possible in each case, I will publish my story and my perspective. But, “anton”, please indicate to me one plant science journal in these 4 STM publishers that would actually accept such a paper, despite its core relevance to plant science? Probably zero given this entrenched “conservatism”. That is where I will first try lesser known FREE OA publishers, and, in the last instance, Arxiv, or the “unpublished work” option at ResearchGate.

    Once again, thanks for that excellent question that should also stay in the minds of other plant scientists, who I encourage to move away from traditionalism and conservatism, and try new alternatives like Arxiv, The Winnower, “unpublished data sets” at ResearchGate, etc. I no longer fear the unfairly critical eye of the peer pool.

  12. Three more requests from Mr. Anthony Trioli and from Taylor and Francis / Informa management:

    a) please provide a public listing of the entire set of complaints that you appear to have used in your decision to ban me. I think that at least I and the wider scientific community need to know what sort of complaints irritate management.

    b) please provide a public listing of the entire set of comments of mine, within context, of “inflammatory language” that you appear to have used in your decision to ban me. I think that at least I and the wider scientific community need to know what sort of comments they make, when issues are not resolved satisfactorily, that irritate management.

    c) please provide a full list of scientists who have been banned, the dates when they were banned, and to which journals they were banned. Most importantly, please indicate clearly the reason why they were banned. I and others wish to know how wide this phenomenon of repressing scientists’ rights/voices by STM publishers exists. This is because banning will cause publishing bias.

  13. This incident raises serious questions:
    1. It seems that some of Jaime’s opponents are abusing their powers to retaliate against him.
    2. Banning a criticizing scientist has a chilling effect on discussing troubled peer review and unfair editorial processes. If I were you Jaime, I would take it to a higher level and request an impartial investigation

    1. aceil, I appreciate the comments.

      Point 1. On this conflicting road, I have made many enemies. I can neither confirm nor disprove your statement.
      Point 2. The most concerning part is how post-publication peer review is embraced, or rejected. Klaas van Dijk has brought forward one case study that seems to be in limbo since May 2015. PubPeer needs to be carefully scrutinized to assess how widely PPPR is being used on Taylor and Francis journals and how receptive the publisher is to post-publication critique of their published literature.

      Mr. Trioli (i.e, Taylor and Francis / Infoma), if you don’t like the criticisms and/or valid concerns brought forward by scientists about journals published by Taylor and Francis, will you ban them? What protections are offered to whistle-blowers? How is anonymity respected, if at all? These are issues that will surely be tested and explored moving forward now that I have been made an example of.

      aceil, which “higher level” authority do you suggest would provide an impartial investigation?

  14. I am very concerned about a paper in a Taylor and Francis journal which I believe has questionable data. I have requested the authors, the editors and publisher TF to show me the original data. I have asked COPE to intervene.

    To date, I have not yet seen a resolution to this conflict, which I first reported on 1 May 2015 to publisher Taylor and Francis.

  15. An update. Natalie Ridgeway of COPE kindly responded to my invitation to join the conversation. She pledged to pass on my complaint about Taylor and Francis to someone who would look into it. I invited her or someone with the power to comment, to provide a response to three queries I have broadly about COPE member journals / publishers, and their editors.

    a) Should any COPE member publisher have the right to just ban a scientist from all journals, without explicitly getting direct approval for this decision from those journals’ editors (or at least the vast majority of the editor board)?

    b) Where can one find in the guidelines for COPE member journal/publisher’s editors a clause that specifies what is appropriate or what is inappropriate language or tone? I see no clear guidelines related to conflict resolution except for the COPE flow charts which cater more for COPE members than for scientists.

    c) COPE only caters for paying journals and publishers, but does not represent the average individual scientist. What advice, if any, would COPE offer to scientists like me who may detect problems, express politely our complaints at first, but then get more frustrated when those complaints do not get efficiently dealt with? In particular, most scientists are not trained in business management or public relations, so expressing problems or irritations with a problem can sometimes be “raw”.

    I have indicated to Natalie Rdgeway that I do not expect COPE to serve as a go-between or mediator, but instead to provide direct advice publicly, which has much more value to other scientists who might find themselves in the same predicament.

    1. Erratum: My apologies for the spelling error with Natalie’s name in the last paragraph. It should read Natalie Ridgeway and not Natalie Rdgeway.

    2. Natalie Ridgeway responded on NOvember 6, 2015, and offered a formal response by COPE Officers: “COPE’s position, which has been discussed at COPE Forums and elsewhere, is that we don’t recommend that journals or publishers bar individuals from publishing with them but we do not have a specific clause on this. However, we do expect that everyone who is involved with publishing act in a professional way and understand that on occasion publishers and/or journals have to take steps if they feel that behaviour does not conform to these norms. It would be reasonable to ask Taylor and Francis therefore to explain the steps that led to this decision so that Dr da Silva can understand what lay behind the decision.”

  16. Query 2 (Israel Journal of Plant Sciences)

    Background of the conflict: A manuscript was submitted to Israel Journal of Plant Sciences (IJPS) [1], a Taylor and Francis journal, on June 7, 2015. On the same day, Prof. Dr. Nirit Bernstein of the Volcani Center (Israel), the IJPS editor in chief rejected the manuscript, without peer review, stating: “Thank you for submitting your manuscript to IJPS. Regretfully this J accepts now only invited manuscripts for special issues and we do not currently have a special issue of a topic suitable for your study. I wish you success publishing your study elsewhere” On June 8th, 2015, I challenged this rejection, stating in my e-mail, the following: “Can you kindly indicate the exact page of the IJPS web-site that indicates that submissions to your journal are by invitation only. Unless a specific clause of exclusion, or exclusivity exists, then your reason for rejection is invalid. The instructions to authors clearly state: “Manuscripts for consideration should be sent to Nirit Bernstein at”” [2] On June 9, 2015, Prof. Bernstein wrote: “I regret your disappointment by our editorial decision not to open a review process for your manuscript. This decision is final.”

    On July 24, 2015, I send the following e-mail:
    “Dear Professor Nirit Bernstein,
    Editor-in-Chief, Israel Journal of Plant Sciences
    Editors, IJPS
    Taylor and Francis Author Services

    I have now had an opportunity to reflect on your brief response to my challenge of your rejection. I am very unsatisfied with that response and believe that you are violating basic codes of editorial conduct. In particular, I believe that an unfair rejection was issued, without a fair review that would allow independent scientists and peers to assess the scientific quality of our manuscript, in a double-blind peer review free of conflicts of interest.

    You have, as I see it, seriously violated clause 3.1 of the COPE Code of Conduct for journal editors [1] by which you, your journal and the publisher of your journal, Taylor and Francis, are meant to abide by.

    Worse yet, you have imposed a ruling based on a rule that does not exist on any pages of your journal’s web-site. This constitutes serious editorial bias. Just in case, I have made sure to take a screen-shot of all the pages as proof of my claim.

    I wish for two things:
    a) A formal apology from you and the publisher for poor PR and for a rejection based on absolutely no scientific basis.
    b) A detailed explanation from Taylor and Francis as to this situation.

    I am confident that you and the publisher will have a clear and logical explanation.


    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

    [1] Teixeira da Silva, J.A. (2015) COPE code of conduct clause 3.1. under the microscope: a prelude to unfair rejections. Current Science 109(1): 16-17.

    On the same day, Prof. Bernstein wrote: “I transferred your complaint to the journal manager at Taylor and Francis. I am sure that you will hear from them soon. I am sorry again that you feel that your study was rejected unjustly.”

    On July 30, 2015, Richard Steele, who is one of the T&F contacts CC’d in the e-mail by Mr. Trioli banning me from all T&F/Informa journals, states: “Dear Dr Teixeira da Silva, I am Richard Steele, Editorial Director at Taylor & Francis. I am writing on behalf of the editors of the Israel Journal of Plant Sciences and Taylor & Francis with respect to your recent emails. We refute entirely your allegations, which we find to be without foundation or merit. We consider the matter to be closed and do not intend to engage in further correspondence with you.”


    My queries:
    a) If the identity of the authors is known upon submission, then how can editorial processing and peer review be free of bias? How do I know that my manuscript was rejected immediately based on a scientific basis and not on personal or professional targeting if I was not given a fair opportunity to have it evaluated in a double-blind peer review?
    b) Can editors and publishers impose rules upon the authorship if such rules are not clearly or implicitly written on the journal web-site? In this case, the paper was rejected based on the fact that all submissions are by invitation only, and would only be considered for special issues. Yet, not a single one of these facts/criteria for submission existed on the Instructions for Authors (IFA) page [3] at the time of submission. Is this correct and fair?
    c) Why did Prof. Bernstein and Mr. Steele not address this fact? Notice very carefully how Taylor and Francis “sneaked” in a small clause into the IFA page that states: “Submissions are by invitation only, invited manuscripts should be sent for consideration to Nirit Bernstein at Unsolicited submissions are not accepted at this time.” Why was I not thanked for pointing this fact out and that led the journal to adjust this statement on the IFA (IFA page states “last updated 31/07/2015”) (see my comparison here: It is for this reason that I feel that I was victimized by a rule that did not exist in the IFA at the time of submission.
    d) Why I am I (and I assume authors in general) not allowed to complain and challenge this unfair decision and get an impartial peer review? Why is the rejection “final”?


  17. asdf, I agree to some extent. Or at least with the sentiment.

    However, good science is a waste if those who are meant to faithfully represent it, and screen it for quality, are doing a bad or corrupted job, and ignore or fail their basic responsibilities that are endowed upon them by the peer community. I spare no words of kindness next in my critique. When a journal says that it is peer reviewed, then it should conduct peer review. Quite simple, actually. And preferably double-blind to avoid conflicts of interest. When a journal accepts a manuscript without a single word of criticism, or suggestion for improvement, by either peers or editors, then this is a very bad sign, a s sign that something is wrong, and that something is unhealthy, and that the publishing process has become corrupted. And when the publisher that oversees such a journal that has failed its basic mission in ensuring academic quality control charges excessive amount of money for something it promised, but did not deliver, then this is, as I see it, predatory. Making profit off poorly vetted academic intellect is just plain wrong. When the voice of a scientist is not allowed to complain openly against what it perceives to be a decline in publishing and editorial values, then this indicates that there are no or poor channels of discussion, and challenge. Worse yet, when those voices that speak out against this injustice are banned, then this is a tyranny. It has become a tyrannical, greedy, and inhumane publishing model. Separately, when a journal, editor board and publisher advertise a non-existent rule on their IFA, and then “sneak in” the missing rule after it was pointed out by a scientists (me) who complains that such an exclusionary rule does not exist, without thanking them, and without acknowledging that they had made a grave mistake, this is termed arrogance and dishonesty in its purest form. It is not only dishonesty towards me; it is dishonesty towards the academic community. Think about it, if they are being dishonest about a clause in the IFA, then what else might they be dishonest about? I am of course, referring to Communicative & Integrative Biology and Israel Journal of Plant Sciences, respectively.

    I do not think that this is how science intended science publishing to be. So, 10 years ago, and still now, I channel much (if not most) of my positive energy into science, as attested by my CV [1]. Because that it where my passion lies. This is my calling. It might not be perfect science, and most of it is not in the top tier of science journals, but hoping it might be useful for someone, somewhere, someday. I make no profit nor do I make any gains. I only seem to make enemies. I give (and complain) along the way. Fortunately, there are now alternative options available to Taylor & Francis / Informa, so my case is also an interesting situation, because it tells us that while T&F/Informa think of scientists as dispensable that are available for intellectual and financial exploitation, the message with my ban is that T&F/Informa is itself dispensable at any time that we, the scientists, are unhappy with its model, or with corrupted, skewed or dishonest publishing processes that it uses to derive profit. It also indicates that, as one part of post-publication peer review, that we have the right, and the responsibility, to stand up to correct the literature, but also to point out corrupted procedures, dishonest editors and aggressive publishers. There can no longer be room for tolerance to grave errors such as these by a leading STM publisher.

    It is a shame to see so much of my own time and energy wasted on fighting bureaucracy and technocrats who assume a superior position, simply because their working title says they are. I am also tired of complaining for years and years about this and about that, but always about issues that are important, and central to my time as a scientist. Those that think that small issues are not important issues have failed to see the essence of science and of science publishing. The difference between good and excellent lies in the details.

    It is also a shame that almost two weeks on, that we still have no public comment or feedback by Trioli, Taylor and Francis/Informa management, COPE (of which T&F is a paying member), or the editors of CIB or IJPS. Their silence and lack of open, frank and transparent interaction with the public, right here at RW, says volumes about the sad state of science publishing we live in.

    However, there is a glimmer of hope in my efforts (unfortunately, these are not to my advantage), but there is hope that my struggles might not be in vain. May other scientists benefit from this learning experience and my struggle.

    My two most recent examples:

    1) A paper was accepted in July in a “predatory” OA journal (on the Beall list), Public Science Foundation. But after 2 months of goofing up the whole proofing process, I decided to withdraw that accepted paper and self-publish my own paper… to test the free publishing waters. Here is the result:

    2) I was disturbed to read a recent editorial written by Prof. Michael R. Blatt, the EIC of Plant Physiology, one of the most collegial and respectable plant science journals. I then felt compelled to comment on this at PubMed Commons, and the discussion is now raging at PubPeer:

    Yet, Prof. Blatt is open to change, to reform and to making the possibility of post-publication peer review possible at Plant Physiology, but not necessarily considering the option of anonymous complaints. It is this type of academic attitude that Taylor and Francis / Informa need to start appreciating. And not just focusing on their profit margin.


    A pertinent quote I just picked up at PubPeer, stated by Julian Assange, on the Blatt editorial page:
    “All institutions are engaged in unjust activities….I have always said that censorship, while it is something to be condemned, it is always an optimistic signal, it is always an opportunity, because censorship reveals the fear of reform by knowledge.”

  18. Query 3 (Journal of Plant Nutrition)

    In this query, I will show a series of email exchanges to set up the background. Please observe my 5 questions I have at the end of the query.

    I have a manuscript currently in production at Journal of Plant Nutrition (JPN), published by Taylor & Francis / Informa:

    On the 18th September, 2015, just before I was banned, I was sent an e-mail by Lauree Shepard, regarding the corresponding author email. Lauree Shepard is based in 530 Walnut Street – Suite 850, Philadelphia, i.e., the same office as Anthony R. Trioli. Her request was fairly standard in which a production manager approaches authors if they have a query about a proof or paper prior to processing. She was, I should add, always polite and professional in her correspondence with me. As a result, I was also polite and professional in my communication with her.

    But her request made me worried, and I will explain why.

    She asked: “Your paper is about to undergo copyediting and typesetting. Can you please confirm which one of you is the corresponding author? Journal style only allows one author to be listed for correspondence.”

    In particular, the last sentence caught me by surprise. I went to the Instructions for Authors page and searched. I found absolutely no written clause stating that only one author could be a corresponding author. I then searched ALL of the JPN pages, and was pretty sure that there was no such written clause.

    In my submitted paper, I specifically indicated that both authors are corresponding authors. I then queried Lauree about this, as follows (18 Sept. 2015): “Could you please indicate the precise page and sentence that indicates that this journal’s policy is to only have a single corresponding author. I have read the instructions for authors page carefully and have not seen such information.”

    On the same day, Lauree responded, as follows: “Dear Jamie, This is actually part of our in-house style rules rather than the instructions to authors, which are unavailable on the website. My apologies for any confusion about where this information is located, but the journal does not allow for two corresponding authors in the footnotes of the first page of the paper. Could you please explain the need for two corresponding authors? There might be a workaround for your issue once I understand it better.”

    Still, on the same day, I wrote, in response to her query (I post the full response because it is important; sorry about the length):

    “Dear Lauree,

    Thank you for responding. One would think that a top STM publisher would make such an important policy publicly known. Sadly not.

    There are many excellent reasons why ALL authors should be the corresponding authors on a scientific paper. For example, an author might die, become ill, retire or simply turn away from science and thus not be able to respond to queries in the future (by the publisher or by other scientists) about a paper. This is important in post-publication peer review. If the actual CA does not respond to public queries, then all authors should be held publicly accountable for the paper and have to respond to queries about it. This is simply to be in line with clause 4 of the ICMJE clauses of authorship, with which I am sure you are perfectly knowledgeable.

    It is sadly, precisely because commercial publishers continue to believe that the world of science publishing today is precisely what it was one or two decades ago that we will continue to see a rise in misconduct, and faltered accountability. One of the reasons – possibly a minor one – is precisely because only ONE author is selected as the CA.

    I do of course understand that this is only your function and that issues related to accountability are probably made a few rungs higher up the managerial ladder, so I am only explaining to you what I perceive to be an erroneous policy on the part of Taylor and Francis that does have direct repercussions on accountability of the published literature.

    However, since I am not here to do battle with you about my ideological differences with T&F, and since whatever I say probably does not and will not change a publisher’s policies, please make Dr. Haghighi the corresponding author.

    Here is one recent example where such a publisher’s policy was in place, but which bent the policy to accommodate my request:

    Incidentally, the spelling of my name is Jaime. I understand that the equivalent would be Jamie in the US, but still, these small aspects add to overall irritation about T&F.

    Dr. Haghighi and I look forward to seeing our published paper with her designated as the CA.

    Best regards and good luck with your career at T&F.


    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva


    On Monday, September 21, 2015, Lauree responded, once again, calmly and kindly, as follows:

    “Dear Jaime,

    Firstly, I apologize for misspelling your name – as someone with unusually misspelled name, I know how grating it can be when people get it wrong.

    I do see your points about author accountability, but you are unfortunately correct that any changes to these policies happen many rungs above me. To that end though, I have sent your email along to my supervisor, so he can show upper management how our authors feel about our policies.

    Please be reassured that I am here to make publishing your paper in LPLA go as smoothly as possible. If you have any concerns about your paper at any point, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

    Kind regards,


    On September 24, 2015, I responded to Lauree as follows:

    “Dear Lauree,

    I appreciate your frank response and sensitivity to my concerns. I look forward to seeing our paper published with one or two corresponding authors: it doesn’t really matter any longer.

    I should inform you, in an ironic stroke of bad luck, that the very same superiors that you have most likely informed about my views have just yesterday banned me from all future submissions to Taylor and Francis / Informa journals. Very unfortunately, this is the management that you work for, a management structure that does not like to be challenged and that is, unlike what you claim, very unreceptive to frank and honest criticism, even less to constructive change.

    I wish you well in the company. We look forward to seeing the paper published in due course.

    Best regards,


    RW readers need to know this background, so they can understand my queries:

    a) Will my paper be duly and fairly published, now that all steps are already complete? I still do not see the corrected proof online.

    b) Did Lauree Shepard discuss my e-mails and ideas with Mr. Trioli sometime between September 18 and September 21?

    c) Is it correct for production staff, or managers, to indicate that a rule is in place regarding the number of corresponding authors when in fact no such rule exists publicly on their web-page?

    d) Why (i.e., what is the logic) can there not be multiple corresponding authors? Given the increasing risks in science publishing, dying authors, etc. surely it makes absolutely perfect sense to make al authors co-corresponding authors. T&F is aware of such risks, and yet it continues to use an archaic system.

    e) Was I banned because I made these declarations to Lauree Shepard and because I challenged the publishing process related to the proof stage, undeclared rules and the number of corresponding authors? Is it possible that T&F was not pleased that I invoked Springer’s policy?

    Perhaps Mr. Trioli would care to explain. I have not yet contacted the editors of JPN.

  19. Query 4 (GM Crops and Food)

    Readers will know that another of my papers was withdrawn from T&F / Informa’s GM Crops and Food:

    RW readers will recall that virtually no peer review took place there (only a single line requesting to correct a spelling mistake). I should add that almost one year later, the person who oversaw that case, Mr. Anthony Trioli, has still not provided a public response. I should also note that none of the editors or editors in chief have offered a public response.

    I have the following questions for them:

    1) Do they agree with, and support, T&F/Informa’s ban on a scientist who questions the publisher’s publishing procedures?

    2) Can the publisher please comment about the inclusion of scientists on editor boards that have retractions such as Claude M. Fauquet:

    3) Can T&F indicate what percentage of papers has been published based on this oddly selective rule (See Previously Submitted clause): “GM Crops and Food: Biotechnology in Agriculture and the Food Chain recognizes that excellent papers may have been erroneously rejected by other journals. We will reconsider papers that have been rejected by Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, Nature Cell Biology, Cell, Cancer Cell, Cell Metabolism, Developmental Cell, NEJM, Lancet, Genes & Development and some other journals in the original format of those journals, thus saving the authors effort and time. Authors are encouraged to enclose the reviewers’ and/or editorial comments from the journals mentioned above. This will expedite the evaluation of the article. In some instances, the article may be accepted based on the previous review. This allows urgent and competitive research to be published soon after submission. Papers submitted using the Select Submission Track can be accepted within 1-2 days.”

    Does T&F believe this rule to be fair on the entire authorship who publishes in this or in other T&F journals? In fact, does T&F apply this rule only to this journal, or to other journals as well?

    4) Why does T&F and GM Crops and Food continue to use the outdated 3-clause definition of authorship as defined by the ICMJE. That policy is now outdated by about 2 years now. How can T&F guarantee that any author is a valid author is the rules of authorship definition are incomplete?
    (See Editorial Policies and Authorship (Informed Consent) clauses): “Manuscripts should conform to the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals (URMSBJ), which can be found in full at Authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or reviewing/revising it critically for important intellectual content and 3) final approval of the version to be published. Each author should meet all three of these criteria. Acquisition of funding, or general supervision of a research group, are not valid criteria for authorship. Individuals who have a lesser involvement should be thanked in the acknowledgements. If meeting these requirements causes problems for a particular manuscript, authors are encouraged to contact the Editor-in-Chief for advice on alternative ways other contributors can be listed.”

    Please contrast with the correct 4-clause/criteria definition of the ICMJE:

    Why have Mr. Trioli and the editors of GM Crops and Food not responded to even a single query in this past year? Do they feel that such discussion about publishing procedures are issues that only I am worried about, or do they think that such issues would not affect most of the authorship that publishes in T&F journals?

    I hope to invite the GM Crops and Food editor board to determine whether Mr. Trioli received the implicit approval of the entire editor board to: a) withdraw my GM Crops and Food paper, which was in press; b) to ban me from all T&F journals, including, of course, GM Crops and Food. There is just one problem: some of the editors appear to have incorrect, incomplete or outdated information/affiliations, so how can they be contacted?

  20. Query 5 (Critical Reviews in Biotechnology: 2 parts)

    Part 1

    A review of ours was accepted by Critical Reviews in Biotechnology (CRB), published by Taylor and Francis / Informa [1] on 26 August 2014 after a 9-month peer review period. The accepted manuscript appeared online on January 13, 2015. It was online between January and August, 2015. Then, suddenly, for absolutely no reason, or explanation by the editor, journal or publisher, the online version simply vanished from the Taylor and Francis web-site. After a query and then a strong complaint in early-mid September 2015 (see documented emails below), the accepted version reappeared online again. Here is the evidence (PDF file vs web-site screen-shot):


    Shocked with this fact, but having already had a head-on collision with the Editor-in-Chief, Prof. Inge Russell, about another issue (see Part 2 below), I asked my colleague and first author to make a query to the journal as to where, why, how, and when our accepted paper had disappeared from the online web-page. Most importantly, I was also interested to learn whose responsibility for this enormous gaffe.

    A query was sent to Prof. Russell on September 8, 2015. On September 9, 2015, Reiandro Ceasar Felias (title and position unclear, and never indicated), listed as Taylor & Francis, 4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 4RN, UNITED KINGDOM, but with an informa email address, indicated that the PDF file was online, but after my co-author had requested twice to him, and once to Prof. Russell, why the originally posted PDF file online had disappeared and then reappeared later. I was copied on these communications, and only after the following e-mail by Russell on September 9, 2015, did I respond.

    Russell states on September 9: “The paper is accepted – it says on the pdf file you attached accepted 26 August 2014 but I cannot tell you which issue it will be in. We have been telling the authors that we have a back log and the publisher is trying to fix it and the journal is transferring from Informa to the Taylor and Francis arm of the company and we will be getting additional pages soon to try to clear the backlog. If you have additional questions you will have to contact the Journal directly ( info below ) as once the pdf file is published online the next stage is out of my hands .”

    On September 11, 2015, I wrote this e-mail:
    “Dear Reiandro Felias,
    I am a co-author of this review. Allow me to rephrase the problem that Prof. Zeng has explained at least twice to you, but which you do not seem to have understood clearly. Our paper on Paphiopedillum biotechnology was accepted on 26 August 2014. The proof was corrected and the PDF file was available – according to Prof. Zeng – on the CRB web-site on the “Latest articles” page:
    One would expect to find our paper somewhere between Azizi et al (Magnaporthe) and Sutandy et al. (interactomes). Prof. Zeng informs me that the file was online between January and August 2015, but that now in September, it suddenly “disappeared”. Could you kindly investigate why the file and information disappeared from the online site, and also reinstate all meta-data into the appropriate location. Once the data appears online again, we would be grateful if you could please let us know. Also be sure to copy Prof. Inge Russell on your confirmation e-mail, please.
    Thank you in advance,
    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

    On September 14, 2015, Rei responds as follows:
    “Dear Jaime,
    My apologies if I didn’t get it first. I believe your paper is still presented online and it did not disappear in the website page. Please refer to the link:
    Or you can go to and hit search button with the DOI number entered. DOI number is 10.3109/07388551.2014.993585
    I hope I have answer your query and please let me know if you have any further questions.
    Thank you. Warm regards,

    On the same day, my senior co-author wrote this to Rei:
    “Dear Rei, Thank you for the quick reply. I can find our paper published online now to the link: However, the date of our paper of published online have been changed as 11 Sep 2015, the date is far later than the original date published online. Therefore, what I concern is what time our paper can be published officially?”

    Yet still on the same day, Rei rebuts, as follows: “Your paper has been officially published online but still not included in an issue and the dates were changed since there was a transition of all published paper from informa healthcare to Taylor and Francis online.”

    Now, clearly irritated with this unprofessional mishandling of my paper, on September 14, 2015, I wrote this e-mail:
    “On Monday, September 14, 2015 11:57 PM, Jaime Silva [redacted] wrote:
    Dear Rei Felias,
    I have been silently watching this little circus taking place from the side-line, and feel that it is now time to make a more formal intervention, calling to attention the Taylor and Francis and Informa management. Please send me the contact of your two next superiors. Allow me to briefly indicate why your explanation is unacceptable and why your rationale is flawed. By you, I mean you, T&F and Informa. You have in essence lost our paper that was online, and was dated as January 13, 2015. It was cued for publication precisely between the two references I indicated, based on the acceptance date. We have now have lost our cue, our paper will now only be published in 2016, and the statistics to our paper indicate that it has been viewed ZERO times. If in fact your logic was correct, all papers that had been accepted for publication since 2014 until whatever unspecified date would have had their dates “refreshed”. This is not the case. Since I am of the opinion that you are unable to appreciate the severity of this problem, I wish to have a word with your superiors. I should note that this is not the first time that the publisher you represent has fraudulently played around with acceptance and/or publication dates. And yet, t date, not one person has offered an apology, or been held accountable.
    Thank you in advance.
    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

    I should add that after September 14, 2015, I never heard again from Rei, from Prof. Inge Russell, or from any other T&F or Informa contact. I only heard from Mr. Trioli next, banning me less than 10 days later.

    My queries about Part 1:
    a) Why has nobody yet explained why our paper which was online on January 13, 2015, disappeared?
    b) Why has nobody taken responsibility directly, and why has the EIC, Prof. Russell, shied away and not offered an explanation, an apology, or a valid excuse?
    c) Who is Reiandro Ceasar Felias exactly, and what is his position within T&F/Informa?
    d) Who are Rei’s two immediate superiors? I suspect it cannot be Mr. Trioli, who is in the USA.
    e) Why should I be punished by Taylor and Francis and Informa when it is not I who have erred? Why should I be the victim of clearly gross publishing negligence and lack of professional handling of an important piece of intellectual work?
    f) Where is my written guarantee, as I received for the JPN paper (query 3), that my paper will be finally published?

    Part 2

    As I allude to above in Part 1, I had already clashed with Prof. Inge Russell about a separate issue, which I report on here. As a result, in Part 1, I had asked my co-author, Prof. Zeng, to approach Prof. Russell, to avoid any direct clash, or to soften my stance or direct involvement in the query. As RW readers can appreciate, that desire to take a more peaceful approach clearly did not work. Part 2 relates to the double publication of another review. It was officially published in 2015. Then, when I was referencing the paper in another paper in 2015, I was told by a reviewer that the reference was wrong. Astonished to learn this fact, indeed, I was shocked to see that my 2015 review in CRB had been substituted with 2014 data, with new volume and issue number, and new page numbers. The DOI had not changed, however. Not once was I or any of my co-authors approached about this scandalous situation. There was no courteous notice from Prof. Russell or from Taylor and Francis / Informa. Only after I complained did these parties then provide an apology and response. To date, I have still not received an official explanation, or apology, from T&F. This was, as I see it, an extremely unethical, unprofessional and cowardly publishing protocol. The 2014 paper was not retracted, then republished: it simply vanished, then reappeared. Very unfortunately, I have no screenshots of the web-site at that time, and the WayBack Machine cannot trace T&F web-pages. So, I have no documented evidence about what actually took place online. However, please observe a screenshot of the header of the two PDF files, showing the two completely different publication dates, volumes, and pages:

    A background of the communications and conflict. On September 9, 2014, I requested to update a review that had been accepted a year earlier:
    “Dear Inge, I am wondering when our review that was accepted in November 2013 [1] will be published. I understood from you last time that there are limits and restrictions in your journal, but one of the serious negative consequences of such delays in publishing is that the topic can become outdated. For example, one study was published in December 2013 [2] which would make our review outdated by almost one year now. As I am sure you ae aware, the scientific community is becoming more hawkish and critical about such issues, and authors who are found to publish papers with outdated information face the risk of criticism and ridicule by peers, even if the fault lies with the publisher, in fact. Considering these new realities, I wonder if you could provide me and my colleagues with the latest files of tables and text (and supplementary files) so that we can be given the opportunity of updating the literature with the latest papers on this plant/topic. We look forward to hearing from you. Best regards, Jaime”

    On the same day, Prof. Russell communicates this to Bridget Sheppard at Informa (Managing Editor, Informa Healthcare, Christchurch Court | 10-15 Newgate Street | London | EC1A 7AZ | UK):
    “Dear Bridget, Please see the letter below from Dr. Silva. Is it possible to provide the authors a chance to update? I know we have never done this before. You know I have contacted you recently again with several ideas on how we could clear the backlog as I feel terrible about our authors having to wait so very long and I have been trying to let new authors know that we have a serious issue we are struggling with and that there is a long delay to “paper” publication due to our backlog. Is there anything we can do to be helpful to Dr. Silva? Best regards Inge”

    The next day, Bridget contacts me:
    “Dear Dr. Silva, As the article has already been published early online it therefore cannot be ‘updated’. However, depending on the nature of your corrections we could publish small changes to your article as a ‘notice of correction’. Please see attached for your final article for your reference and personal use and let me know which changes you would like to make. Kind regards, Bridget”

    At this moment, we had, in our hands, the officially published paper with volume and pages assigned, and which we would then use for our official referencing purposes. Note my surprise in the e-mail I sent Bridget on September 11, 2014:
    “Dear Bridget, Thank you for contacting me. We were not aware that the paper was already so far in production with volume and pages assigned. Under such a circumstance, there is no need to add any corrigendum or erratum, since there is no error. We will simply update the unreported studies in our next review. Thank you so much for your prompt response and for the attention given to our request. Best regards, Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva”

    As I allude to above, between September and December 2014, another of our review papers on another orchid, which referenced this review on Cypripedium in CRB, was in review. One of the editors pointed out that our reference to our own paper was incorrect. I was shocked to read this, and then even more shocked, when I went to the CRB web-site, to see that indeed, the year, volume and pages had been substituted, without notice, and without warning. This was shocking to me. I then asked Prof. Zeng to request the official PDF file of the published paper. At that moment (December 12, 2014), I confronted Prof. Russell and T&F/Informa, specifically Bridget:
    “Dear Bridget and Inge, Could you (CRB editor board and Taylor and Francis) kindly offer any rational explanation why today I suddenly received a 2014 reprint for a paper that was already published in 2015, as officially communicated by Taylor and Francis in September 2014. We look forward to your response. Sincerely, Jaime”

    On the same day, Prof. Russell writes to Bridget:
    “Dear Bridget, Can you please check this for me. I am guessing it is because I asked you to make an exception and special effort to give the paper earlier publication to help the authors out as it had been in hold for so long to get a spot in the Journal in 2014 that they also have an older copy pdf that says 2015. It is the same DOI. Last night late I quickly pulled a copy from a University site to send to a co-author who had emailed me as I was guessing that you had not yet sent out the author copies to them and he sounded like he needed it in a hurry and I did not have my computer access to the Journal from where I was. My husband had an accident two weeks ago and I am exhausted and have barely had any sleep for 2 weeks (he will be fine but will be a long haul) and I was trying again to be helpful to an author but clearly nothing I do with this particle paper is ever correct and I would ask you from now on to please be the person to deal with these authors as I am too exhausted to do it myself. Inge”

    I and all of my co-authors never heard again from Bridget, Taylor and Francis / Informa, or Professor Russel.

    My queries about Part 2:
    a) Why has nobody yet explained why the year, volume and pages changed without informing us, the authors?
    b) Why did Bridget not respond after December 12, 2014?

    I have not yet contacted the CRB editor board about this case. I should add that I feel bad about Prof. Russell whose husband had a car accident and it was never my intention to cause any additional stress. But unfortunately, Prof. Russell was, and continues to be, the EIC of this journal, and thus must be held responsible, together with T&F, for the two serious mistakes made in the publication of two of my review papers. Based on Mr. Trioli’s ban, it is also evident that I hold Prof. Russell and the entire CRB editor board accountable for being active supporters of my ban.

    1. I should add that on September 17, 2015, I received a rejection mail from Prof. Russell about another review submitted to CRB. Having already made the edits and submitted elsewhere, I can guarantee that the requested edits were only moderate and could have easily been addressed. Russell’s rejection was based, in part, on the journal’s backlog: “Our reviewers have now considered your paper. One reviewer was happy with the paper and only had some revisions – however, two reviewers felt that there was not enough new in it to justify publication as written. Since as you know we are struggling with a large backlog at the moment and we have published a number of papers in this area already and we try hard to cover a wide area of topics I would suggest that you update your paper based on the reviewers comments and submit it to a journal that focuses more on this particular area of interest. For your information I attach the reviewer comments at the bottom of this email. I hope you will find them to be constructive and helpful. You are of course now free to submit the paper elsewhere should you choose to do so. Thank you for considering Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. Sincerely, Dr Russell, Editor in Chief, Critical Reviews in Biotechnology”

      I strongly objected to the rejection and also called into question the validity of peer #3 as a peer, since his “peer” comments were: “[genus name redacted] is one of the most studied genus of orchids and review on genetic transformation of this species should be available to readers. However, to warrant the publication in “Critical reviews in Biotechnology” the contents of papers should be elaborated and explained well for clarity of readers.”

  21. Before I introduce Query 6, I would like to give some advice (not that they actually want it, I’m sure) from Verity Warne, Wiley’s Senior Marketing Manager, Author Marketing:

    “Peer review makes science better;
    Peer review is the central pillar of trust for researchers;
    An author’s experience of peer review shapes his/her overall publishing experience;
    It’s our job, as publishers, to protect the integrity and continue to improve the review process”

    One would think that all top-level STM publishers would share the same publishing norms and values.

  22. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences (CRPS; Query 6)

    This query involves a premier plant science journal that focuses exclusively on reviews. Next follows a brief summary of the main events. Any/all email exchanges between me and the editorial board/journal/publisher are available upon request.

    A manuscript was submitted to CRPS on September 4, 2012 to Professor Dennis J. Gray and Professor Robert Trigiano, the Editors-in-Chief (EICs) of CRPS. The manuscript was acknowledged on September 5, 2012 and a request was made by the EICs to provide the contacts of “several potential qualified reviewers”: “Dear Dr. Silva, I have received your files. Could you please suggest several potential qualified reviewers? They must be excellent English-writers.”

    On the same day, we provided a list of five potential reviewers and three reviewers who we felt would be inappropriate. On October 9, 2012, we received an email from the EICs, stating the following: “Dear Dr. Silva: I have finally received a review of your manuscript concerning pomegranate. My reviewer was highly independent and does not work on pomegranate. Unfortunately, the manuscript is not acceptable for publication in CRPS and must be rejected. As you will see from the comments below, the attached reviewer comments and the marked manuscript, a significant amount of text is copied from a previous review by one of your co-authors. This is unacceptable. In addition, the information contained in the manuscript does not expand on previous reviews and/or is off subject. I’m sorry to not have better news for you, especially after accepting articles in the past. Sincerely, Dennis Gray Dennis J. Gray, Editor in Chief CRPS”.

    We also received a Word file with a short paragraph from the “reviewer”, which was the full and only de facto “peer review” report: “I’m submitting the reviewer comments for the pomegranate biology and biotechnology manuscript. This manuscript appears to have combined information from previously published reviews. Some of the text is picked up word-by-word from a previous review (pointed out in the manuscript text). Topics unrelated to biology and biotechnology (pharmacological data, agronomy and cultivation, pests and diseases) are included in the manuscript. Biotechnology information is not significantly different from a review on pomegranate biotechnology published in Plant Cell Reports in 2011. In my opinion, the manuscript does not meet Critical Reviews standards.”

    We were very surprised to read these statements and to learn this decision. We thus decided to re-examine the text in detail. Indeed, some words (462 words/26,885 total words) had similar content that had been paraphrased but had been duly referenced, and, unlike what the peer claimed, the text was not word-for-word identical. Moreover, the “peer” indicated the wrong reference of a source he claimed that we had plagiarized. We felt, however, that this had been a tiny yet honest oversight which we collectively took responsibility for and were thus prepared to immediately address this small amount of similar text, which we calculated to be less than 1.7% of the total text. We then challenged the rejection made by the EICs and the claims made by the reviewer, while also resubmitting a revised version that showed all edited parts. All of my co-authors approved this challenge and resubmission.

    While challenging the decision and investigating these claims, we discovered that the Word file belonged to Dr. Sadanand A. Dhekney of the University of Wyoming (the name was digitally marked on the file). Dr. Dhekney was Prof. Dennis J. Gray’s collaborator/associate and co-author:
    One example:

    On October 12, 2012, Prof. Gray defended his position and stated his opinion. On October 15, 2012, we responded firmly and resubmitted a second time, indicating that we felt that it was not correct to have assigned Dr. Dhekney to be the peer reviewer of our manuscript. In this case, all CRPS editors were added to the BCC. We never heard from Gray, Trigiano or CRPS ever again.

    The review was eventually published in Scientia Horticulturae:
    Teixeira da Silva, J.A., Rana, T.S., Narzary, D., Verma, N.M., Meshram, D.T., Ranade, S.A. (2013) Pomegranate biology and biotechnology: a review. Scientia Horticulturae 160: 85-107.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.scienta.2013.05.017

    I should add that, as in previous queries highlighted above about T&F/Informa GM Crops and Food, a small paragraph of text was slipped into the IFA at CRPS after this incident, as follows: “Please note that Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences uses CrossCheck™ software to screen papers for unoriginal material. By submitting your paper to Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences you are agreeing to any necessary originality checks your paper may have to undergo during the peer review and production processes.” This statement did not exist prior to our complaint. In addition, no date to indicate that web content had changed exists on the CRPS web-site

    We have several questions / queries from the EICs/journal/publisher.
    a) How common is this pre-submission requirement in T&F/Informa journals? What then is the actual function of an EIC and/or editor? Only to make a “final determination”?
    “Peer Review Statement: Prior to submission of an invited manuscript, authors must have their work reviewed so that it is acceptable for publication, both technically and grammatically. Manuscripts found to be suitable for further consideration are reviewed by independent, anonymous expert referees before the Editors-in-Chief make a final determination of its suitability for the journal.”
    b) Why is peer review at CRPS not blind, double-blind or triple blind to eliminate any possibility of bias of COIs?
    c) Is it not the responsibility of the editor board to select reviewers who have no actual or potential COIs? Does the selection of Dr. Dhekney, who is not a pomegranate specialist and who was, at that time, a co-author and associate of the EIC, represent a COI?
    d) How common is it among T&F/Informa journals to rely on the authors to select peers who are supposed to complete peer review? Why were we requested to provide the list of 5 peers (and mostly pomegranate specialists) if none of them were vetted?
    e) If the EICs request “several potential qualified reviewers”, but they only provide the opinion/feed-back from only a single “individual”, and not by anyone from the list provided, is this correct and is this consistent with the editorial request?
    f) Why can CRPS reject a paper for “plagiarism” when the amount of textual overlap is tiny (<2% of actual text), especially when the Instructions for Authors (IFA) do not quantify the amount of plagiarism that is permissible, and when the authors indicate that this is pure error (for example, other plant science journals of repute allow for a 10-20% level of textual overlap [See editor’s note at end of comment])? In this case, a rejection seems to represent a punishment rather than a corrective measure. How common is this unquantified policy in T&F/Informa journals? Why is the IFA unclear?
    g) If indeed plagiarism is detected, why are authors not given the opportunity to correct this during peer review and before formal acceptance?
    h) Why are authors not allowed to challenge the editors and receive a fair and blind peer review? Does T&F/Informa not support fair challenges of editors by authors?
    i) Have all papers published in CRPS prior to 2013 been screened with the same plagiarism detection software? Can the journal confirm that all papers since volume 1 until the 2013 volume contain <1.7% similar text?

    Editor’s note: When prompted, the commenter could not provide evidence of this claim, of which we are very doubtful.

    1. Just one question: why would someone with whom the EiC has collaborated have any CoI regarding the review of submitted articles?

      And one comment: the only acceptable level of plagiarism is zero. That other journals (according to you [See editor’s note]) allow plagiarism in my opinion reflects poorly on those journals.

      Editor’s note: When prompted, the previous commenter could not provide evidence of this claim, of which we are very doubtful.

      1. Marco, thank you for your thought-provoking comment and suggestion. Regarding your question, we believe that Dr. Dhekney is not an independent specialist because he is neither independent of the journal or its EIC, nor is he a pomegranate specialist. That then begs the question, with so many choices of pomegranate specialists from around the world, why was only Dr. Dhekney vetted? Moreover, the input of only a single, closely related individual was vetted, and not multiple experts, as was requested of the authors. In other words, we believe that what was requested is incompatible with what was conducted, at least in terms of peer review. One could say that peer review was, at best, weak. If in fact this was a lower stratum plant science journal, I could understand, but in terms of its impact factor ranking, it lies in the top 10, so we expect higher standards of scrutiny. And most certainly by several independent specialists. This did not take place.

        Regarding your comment, the text (approximately one short paragraph within the 428 words) that one of our authors copied without sufficient attribution was from a paper that does not exist in any mainstream data-bases, and whose file is not open access, so how Dr. Dhekney actually managed to find the file and compare text remains a mystery to us to this date. However, as I indicated above, I and my co-authors were not aware of this small amount of textual overlap, and that is why we kindly requested Professors Gray and Trigiano to allow us to address this point since we were genuinely concerned, and because we sincerely wanted to correct the record. We believe that if plagiarism, self-plagiarism or any sort of overlap exists (i.e., is detected) during submission and peer review, that the authors should be given the opportunity to correct this. Note also that the CRPS IFA indicated absolutely no policy regarding plagiarism, and such a clause only appeared online after our formal complaint and challenge to CRPS.

        As for the zero-tolerance policy you suggest, in principle, I fully agree with you. But in reality, it is not always possible to avoid “textual overlap”, especially when two studies have extremely similar methodologies, for example. So common sense must prevail when using “similarity” reports. Percentages should not be observed at face value since textual overlap can occur, but with completely unrelated texts. I think it is for this reason that one will find, for example in some plant science journals published by Springer (at least In Vitro Cellular and Developmental Biology – Plant, and Acta Physiologiae Plantarum), that plagiarism checking, which is fairly recent (from about 2014 onwards), allows for a maximum of 20% textual overlap (personal communication with the EICs of those journals). I cannot comment about other plant science journals, but I suspect that none of them employ a 0% plagiarism policy.

        Marco, can you be so kind as to provide a list of journals in any field of study that formally have a 0% plagiarism policy, with such a policy clearly stated in their IFA.

        As an off-shoot to your comment, Marco, it would actually be very nice if all plant science journals, including those published by T&F / Informa could come forward to indicate:
        a) if they have plagiarism detection policies in place and what commercial software is being used;
        b) at what stage of the process (post-submission, pre- or post-peer review, or post-acceptance) plagiarism detection is conducted;
        c) what the cut off-value for textual overlap is;
        d) what measures are in place to deal with figure overlap and other forms of visual plagiarism.

        We need to discuss this issue openly, at least within the plant science community.

        So, I personally don’t think that a 0% level of plagiarism is possible (i.e., realistic) in most papers, even though I do agree that ideally that is what we would like to see. The point I want to make is that a tiny amount of textual overlap was detected in our paper, and despite our apology, despite thanking the EIC for detecting this, and despite immediately correcting the error, and resubmitting the corrected manuscript (with 0% plagiarism), the EICs actively ignored our second submission and email.

        Separately, I am personally against the commercialization of ethics, including by companies that market TurnitIn, and I have requested, on ample occasions, to the company and to the community, that a robust and freely available plagiarism detection software be available for scientists to screen their manuscripts against literature in the major data-bases. As equally as we have a company that provides a remarkable service that allows for literature to be sought freely, i.e., Google and Google Scholar, it does not seem unreasonable to expect an entity to create a tool that would have incredible benefit for the entire scientific community and avoid situations such as these. This is a separate discussion, but I want to make this point clear because it needs more debate.

      2. Marco, thank you for your thought-provoking comment and suggestion. Regarding your question, we believe that Dr. Dhekney is not an independent specialist because he is neither independent of the journal or its EIC, nor is he a pomegranate specialist. That then begs the question, with so many choices of pomegranate specialists from around the world, why was only Dr. Dhekney vetted? Moreover, the input of only a single, closely related individual was vetted, and not multiple experts, as was requested of the authors. In other words, we believe that what was requested is incompatible with what was conducted, at least in terms of peer review. One could say that peer review was, at best, weak. If in fact this was a lower stratum plant science journal, I could understand, but in terms of its impact factor ranking, it lies in the top 10, so we expect higher standards of scrutiny. And most certainly by several independent specialists. This did not take place.

        Regarding your comment, the text (approximately one short paragraph within the 428 words) that one of our authors copied without sufficient attribution was from a paper that does not exist in any mainstream data-bases, and whose file is not open access, so how Dr. Dhekney actually managed to find the file and compare text remains a mystery to us to this date. However, as I indicated above, I and my co-authors were not aware of this small amount of textual overlap, and that is why we kindly requested Professors Gray and Trigiano to allow us to address this point since we were genuinely concerned, and because we sincerely wanted to correct the record. We believe that if plagiarism, self-plagiarism or any sort of overlap exists (i.e., is detected) during submission and peer review, that the authors should be given the opportunity to correct this. Note also that the CRPS IFA indicated absolutely no policy regarding plagiarism, and such a clause only appeared online after our formal complaint and challenge to CRPS.

        As for the zero-tolerance policy you suggest, in principle, I fully agree with you. But in reality, it is not always possible to avoid “textual overlap”, especially when two studies have extremely similar methodologies, for example. So common sense must prevail when using “similarity” reports. Percentages should not be observed at face value since textual overlap can occur, but with completely unrelated texts. Most of the plant science journals still do not have a plagiarism checking policy in place, none of them quantify the amount of plagiarism that is acceptable, or that would lead to a rejection, but I suspect that few, if any, have a 0% policy in place. Therefore, Marco, can you be so kind as to provide a list of journals in any field of study that formally have a 0% plagiarism policy, with such a policy clearly stated in their IFA. This would be a useful reference for the plant sciences.

        As an off-shoot to your comment, Marco, it would actually be very nice if all plant science journals, including those published by T&F / Informa could come forward to indicate:
        a) if they have plagiarism detection policies in place and what commercial software is being used;
        b) at what stage of the process (post-submission, pre- or post-peer review, or post-acceptance) plagiarism detection is conducted;
        c) what the cut off-value for textual overlap is;
        d) what measures are in place to deal with figure overlap and other forms of visual plagiarism.

        We need to discuss this issue openly, at least within the plant science community.

        So, I personally don’t think that a 0% level of plagiarism is possible (i.e., realistic) in most papers, even though I do agree that ideally that is what we would like to see. The point I want to make is that a tiny amount of textual overlap was detected in our paper, and despite our apology, despite thanking the EIC for detecting this, and despite immediately correcting the error, and resubmitting the corrected manuscript (with 0% plagiarism), the EICs actively ignored our second submission and email.

        Separately, I am personally against the commercialization of ethics, including by companies that market TurnitIn, and I have requested, on ample occasions, to the company and to the community, that a robust and freely available plagiarism detection software be available for scientists to screen their manuscripts against literature in the major data-bases. As equally as we have a company that provides a remarkable service that allows for literature to be sought freely, i.e., Google and Google Scholar, it does not seem unreasonable to expect an entity to create a tool that would have incredible benefit for the entire scientific community and avoid situations such as these. This is a separate discussion, but I want to make this point clear because it needs more debate.

        1. I understand the potential issue with Dhekney not being an expert in the exact field, and the use of just a single reviewer, but it remains unclear to me why you believe any reviewer should be independent of the journal and/or the EiC. This was actually my question, and you did not respond to that. In my opinion there is usually no CoI in such a situation, unless the work of the EiC or the journal is perhaps being criticized in the paper in question.

          I also understand your complaint about the limited textual overlap in your paper, but that was not what I responded to in your comment. The zero percent plagiarism does not need to be in the policy of any journal, as it is a given that plagiarism is not allowed. The issue is thus not whether there is textual overlap, but whether this is a matter of plagiarism. You can have zero percent textual overlap and still have a paper that is 100% plagiarised.
          Of course method sections can be very similar between different papers, and of course there will be things that are so established that a reference is not required – for example, I don’t think any journal would expect a reference to Newton’s Principia for basic Newtonian physics – but plagiarism by its very definition is simply not allowed.

          Finally, reading the reviewer comment once again, I can see why the journal ignored your resubmission. It wasn’t just the plagiarism, but the lack of novelty of your review. Apparently you did not make it clear why your review was timely and relevant to be included in a “Critical reviews” journal. You can disagree with that all you want, but sometimes you just need to accept that your opinion does not necessarily equal that of someone else.

          1. Marco, thank you once again for your insightful comments. RW readers will easily understand my qualm with Dr. Dhekney having been vetted as the only “reviewer” of this paper. But think about it, one reviewer for the “peer review” of an IF = 5.442 journal (similar in rank to The Journal of Experimental Botany) is abysmal.

            The claim of plagiarism is in fact of textual overlap. I maintain that journals should indicate that the level of textual overlap, as used by software to detect it nowadays, primarily using Crosscheck and/or TurnitIn, must be defined by a journal/publisher in the IFA. Again, Marco, please point out a list of 5 or 10 journals which define such parameters from any science. I need a model system based on which I can then approach the plant science journals about reform.

            As for the novelty of the review, very unfortunately, aspects of the Plant Cell Reports review were outdated and incomplete, and did not cover basic biological and medicinal aspects of pomegranate. You would have to compare in detail both reviews to be able to appreciate that ratherthan just relying on what Dr. Dhekney states at face value. Therefore, our review was both “critical” as it was necessary, as attested by publication in Scientia Horticulturae. Now we have post-publication peer review to cover the gaps.

            Incidentally, I just invited Prof. Gray, Prof. Trigiano, the CRPS editor board and Dr. Dhekney to comment openly here at RW regarding this rejection and ban.

            Finaly, please remember why I am posting these “queries” here at RW: to lay out the cases where I have complained or where I have had a conflict with the editors of journals in Taylor and Francis’ fleet. I can appreciate that some may disagree with my position(s) on select aspects, but did you see Mr. Trioli, any T&F editor or any other plant scientist step forward to state their concerns or agreements/disagreements about the ban? No (not yet). And did you see Mr. Trioli and T&F/Informa step forward to present the precise claims/complaints they riled them and led to my ban? It is precisely for this reason that I have to dig through all of my emails and past submissions to T&F journals, which is an exhaustinga nd time-consuming process, in order to give my full and most transparent account of my side of the argument.

            Some appreciation of my efforts and my transparency would be nice. Conversely, some open criticism of the lack of transparency and accountability by all journal editors, Mr. Trioli and T&F, as well as COPE, even one month after this story emerged, is in order, I think. The only public criticism I have seen of this ban is by Lydia Maniatis at PubMed, in response to Michael R. Blatt’s editorial against the anonymous voice and PubPeer:

  23. International Journal of Environmental Studies (IJES; Query 7)

    A manuscript was submitted to IJES on June 20, 2011 to Dr. Michael Brett-Crowther, the Editor of IJES. Submissions were, and continue to be, made by email attachment. A submission goes to Dr. Brett-Crowther’s g-mail account:

    The manuscript was acknowledged on the same day, as follows: “Dear Sir, All papers are scrupulously assessed by referees. No manuscript number is provided until proof stage. I think your references 16 and 24 are in some way inaccurate. An outlines – or outline? A National [?what] to waster [?] tyres. I shall inform you of referee comments in due course.” On the next day, June 22, 2011, Dr. Brett-Crowther sent the following correspondence:
    The referee has written to me as follows:
    At the bottom of page 1 the sentence beginning
    The level of Zn, Cd, Pb, Ni and As in soil ranged from
    appears to have been corrupted.
    On page 10 the sentence beginning
    The highest concentration of Cd (18.30 mg/kg) in soil was
    appears to have been corrupted.
    Please ask the authors to send a corrected copy.
    Please also ensure that the points I have made – twice – concerning errors in the references receive your urgent attention.”

    In that email, red and bold were frequently used. Dr. Brett-Crowther did not address me by name, nor did he sign off the email with his name. On the same day, I sent, as always, a polite and formal response indicating that all the issues had been addressed. In that email, I submitted a Word file as well as a PDF file for him to appreciate that the edits had been correctly made. Yet still on the same day, Dr. Brett-Crowther wrote: “As the Notes for Contributors make clear, submissions must be in Word documents, only, not a pdf file. The referee says that the pdf file is not corrupt. But the Word file remains corrupt. Certainly those two references appear now to be correct.” As before, Dr. Brett-Crowther did not address me by name, nor did he sign off the email with his name. On the same day, I indicated that I was not pleased that he was using informal communication skills, that he was being too rough with his communication, that he had not addressed me by name, and that the file was not corrupted (since all co-authors could open it without any problem on different computers and OS). On the same day, Dr. Brett-Crowther wrote: “In the circumstances, I am not prepared to continue with this matter. Please arrange to put your work in front of another academic journal. I wish you well.” Still on the same day, i.e., June 22, 2011, I issued a first complaint, indicating that he had no right to reject simply because we were not satisfied with his poor communication skills and because we felt that our file was not corrupted. We kindly requested him to please consider the paper for peer review, as he had promised. We never heard from Dr. Brett-Crowther again.

    More than a year later, on 10 November 2012, I submitted a new manuscript to IJES. On the next day, Dr. Brett-Crowther wrote: “Unfortunately, your exceptional behaviour towards me some time ago makes me unwilling to assist you, but I am sure you will find other journals for this proposed paper.” On the same day, I requested Dr. Brett-Crowther to please be more specific about the issue he was referring to. On November 14, 2012, I sent a complaint email to select members of the IJES editor board and T&F management complaining of a biased and unfair double-rejection.

    On November 24, 2012, I sent a second and final complaint email to select members of the IJES editor board and T&F management, specifically to Joshua Pitt (Publisher Routledge/Taylor & Francis Australasia, Taylor & Francis Group, Level 2, 11 Queens Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia) and Gerald Dorey (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, Publisher – Area Studies, Regional Publisher – South Asia). Neither Pitt nor Dorey responded.

    I never heard from any IJES editor board member or T&F management regarding my complaints.

    a) Why do submissions not have an online submission platform like in other T&F journals?
    b) How do readers feel having to submit their papers to a gmail account? Should T&F not provide at least the editors and EICs with a formal e-mail account, especially given the risks in submission?
    c) What public relations skills are T&F editors trained to have? Dr. Brett-Crowther did not even bother to write “Dear Dr. Teixeira da Silva”, or sign off on some of his emails. Instructions were given as bullet points. In essence, basic information was transmitted, but I felt that the communication was informal, unprofessional and thus impolite.
    d) The second manuscript was automatically rejected, not for any scientific reason, but because Dr. Brett-Crowther had had a disagreement with my complaint after the first submission. How is this not ad hoc selected targeting and an unfair rejection?
    e) Notice carefully how all first names of editors on the editor board are abbreviated and how none of them have an affiliation listed. Most of them cannot be traced, even on Google Scholar. Is this a transparent editor board or policy?

  24. New Zealand Journal of Crop & Horticultural Science (NZJCHS; Query 8)

    This query involves three parts involving NZJCHS.

    Part 1

    A manuscript was published by NZJCHS in October, 2012. In the final version of my manuscript, my full name was written, yet in the final published version, an abbreviated form was published. Even though NZJCHS allows both abbreviated and full names to be published (see below), the final version of my manuscript specifically indicated that my full name be published. The proof had been approved with my full name, with edits having been submitted to Mia Yardley, Production Editor (Taylor & Francis Australia, Level 2, 11 Queens Road, Melbourne VIC 3004) on September 4, 2012:

    Despite this, and much to my shock and anger, my name was published in an abbreviated form, unlike what had been clearly indicated in the proof. I immediately issued a strongly worded complaint on October 9, 2012 to Prof. David Penman, the Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of NZJCHS, requesting that the whole PDF be republished. Only an erratum was issued.

    Full name used at NZJCHS:
    Shen, M.M., Yuan, Y.B., Teixeira da Silva, J.A., Yu, X-N. (2015) Induction and proliferation of axillary shoots derived from culture of Paeonia lactiflora Pall. excised zygotic embryos. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science 43(1): 42-52.
    DOI: 10.1080/01140671.2015.944548

    Abbreviated name imposed at NZJCHS even though proof had full name:
    Yang, X-Y., Wang, F-F., Teixeira da Silva, J.A., Zhong, J., Liu, Y-Z., Peng, S-A. (2013) Branch girdling at fruit green mature stage affects fruit ascorbic acid contents and expression of genes involved in L-galactose pathway in Citrus. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science 41(1): 23-31.
    DOI: 10.1080/01140671.2012.724429

    In response to my complaint, Jill Mellanby (Publications Manager, Royal Society of New Zealand, Te Apārangi, 11 Turnbull Street, Thorndon, PO Box 598, Wellington 6140, New Zealand) claimed, on October 10, 2012, that “The editorial office did not receive any correspondence from you requesting your full name on the published paper and nor did you request this option when you checked your proofs.” This is not correct, as can be seen here where the proof was approved with my full name:

    On October 27, 2012, I issued a second complaint that nothing had been done to address my complaint and that my name remained incorrectly represented, even though that was not the form indicated in the proof.

    On October 30, Joshua Pitt (Publisher, Routledge/Taylor & Francis Australasia, Taylor & Francis Group, Level 2, 11 Queens Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia) responded, as follows:
    “Dear Jaime,
    Re: Yang X-L, Wang F-F, Teixeira da Silva Jamie, Zhong J, Liu Y-Z, Peng S-A. Branch girdling at fruit green mature stage affects fruit ascorbic acid contents and expression of genes involved in l-galactose pathway in citrus. New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science. doi:10.1080/01140671.2012.724429
    Thank you for the feedback on your article, which was recently published online in the New Zealand Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science.
    We have noted your objections and are agreeable to publishing a corrected version of the article, to be loaded online and included in the next available issue of the journal – this will need to be accompanied by an erratum and brief note explaining the reason for the updated Version of Scholarly Record.
    In order to ensure consistency in the presentation of author names in the article can authors Yang X-L, Wang F-F, Zhong J, Liu Y-Z, Peng S-A please advise on their full names for amendment accordingly?
    Kind regards,

    Note how Joshua Pitt misspelt my name again in the correction as Teixeira da Silva Jamie, both misspelling my first name and omitting my middle name A. Further irritated by this incompetence, but pleased that finally it was getting some due attention, I responded to Mr. Pitt on October 31, 2012, thanking him for correcting the literature, but stating my insatisfaction with his newly introduced errors in my name. In that email, I also stated: “In closing, I would strongly suggest that you (i.e. NZJCHS and any other Taylor and Francis journals who share the same policy) in fact modify your Instructions and Guidelines for authors to forewarn all potential future authors of this policy held by the Royal Society, this journal and/or Taylor and Francis. It could reduce the number of potential unpleasant situations or feedback in the future. I will continue to support The New Zealand Journal of Crop Science and Horticultural Science because I am of the frank belief that it is one of the few journals in current horticultural science that defends the rights of authors fairly, and that undergoes fair and unbiased peer review. The comments have always been professional and the decisions have always been fair. I look forward to seeing the final published version of this manuscript in NZJCHS with the full names as indicated above.”

    Professor David Penman is the Director of David Penman and Associates Ltd. (40 Hanmer Street, Christchurch 8011, New Zealand).

    Part 2

    Another paper that was in review in NZJCHS was suddenly pulled from review, with Jill Mellanby transmitting the news, on October 31, 2012, as follows: “Dear Dr Silva: The above referenced manuscript, entitled “The Effect of Nano-Tio2 on Tomato, Onion and Radish Seed Germination,” has been withdrawn from consideration for publication in New Zealand Journal of Crop & Horticultural Science. The wording of your email of 27th October 2013, relating to manuscript number NZJC-2012-0083, implies that you are not in a position to have a working relationship with the Royal Society of New Zealand. I regret that we are no longer able to proceed with this work.” Notice how J. Mellanby refers to the wrong year. Angered by this sudden rejection of a paper that was in review but that was suddenly pulled as a consequence of my complaint about T&F’s mishandling of my name, I wrote a complaint email on October 31, 2012, requesting that my paper be immediately reinstated to peer review, and indicating strongly that I felt that the decision handed out suddenly was biased.

    On November 2, 2012, Prof. Penman agreed to reenter the manuscript into peer review, but disagreed that the decision to reject it was biased. On November 14, 2012, as well as on November 17, 2012, I reaffirmed my support for NZJCHS, and thanked Prof. Penman for reentering the manuscript into peer review. The peer review was fair, but not favorable (see part 3 below), and after fresh submission, the paper was eventually published in a Springer journal:
    Haghighi, M., Teixeira da Silva, J.A. (2014) The effect of N-TiO2 on tomato, onion and radish seed germination. Journal of Crop Science and Biotechnology 17(4): 221-227.
    DOI: 10.1007/s12892-014-0056-7

    Part 3

    Three papers that had been in review for approximately 70 days were lump-sum rejected in 23 minutes on January 31, 2014:

    In all three cases, Prof. Penman rejected using his gmail account. I complained on February 2, 2014. Prof. Penman responded on February 2, 2014, rationalizing the rejections as follows:
    “Thanks for your response and I am happy to provide some further explanation as to the decision-making process. While the emails were all sent in close temporal proximity I can assure you that all the processes of review were independent. It is just actioned the communication process with you on the same day. I also assure you that there was absolutely no link with the other issue you had with Taylor & Francis, the Royal Society of New Zealand and the journal staff. Within our editorial processes we take seriously our commitment to:
    “Pre-referee screening
    All manuscripts are screened by the editorial office to assess their match to a particular journal’s aims and scope. Those deemed to be unsuitable for a particular journal may be rejected without being sent for review”.
    The full policy can be reviewed at:
    For the other two papers, they were sent to me by the editorial staff to review for possible transmission to the associate editors. I outlined the rationale for my rejection. This journal gets over 200 submissions per year and we only publish about 10% of these. As such we are becoming more demanding as to the paper being within our scope and target crops and of a standard that contributes to new science understanding. We are serious about increasing the standard and the impact of the journal. I hope this explanation allays your concerns and I would assure of the objectivity of our process should you submit future papers. Yours sincerely David Penman, Senior Editor, NZ Journal of Crop and Horticultural Science”.

    What is curious is how one of the papers, rejected by NZJCHS, with a 5-year IF score of 0.605, was accepted, following strict peer review, by an Elsevier journal with a 5-year IF = 1.676:
    Wang, Q., Cheng, T-R., Yu, X-N., Teixeira da Silva, J.A., Byrne, D.H. (2014) Physiological and biochemical responses of six herbaceous peony cultivars to cold stress. South African Journal of Botany 94: 140-148.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.sajb.2014.05.012

    On the issue of impact factors, on the T&F web-site, it claims that the 5-year IF score is 0.605, but the Royal Society of New Zealand web-site lists the IF as being 0.605:

    Are both IF and 5-year IF scores 0.605? Of course, I cannot verify the IF scores because Thomson Reuters does not allow the public to verify this information freely.

    a) Why was my name not published as indicated in the approved proof?
    b) Why was an erratum published rather than a full republication, as I had formally requested?
    c) Related to query 6 above for IJES, how do readers feel receiving formal decisions regarding their manuscripts from a gmail account? Should T&F not provide at least the editors and EICs with a formal e-mail account, especially given the risks in submission?
    d) I am confused about the logic for rejection of the herbaceous peony paper: it was original, it was within scope, it covered a crop that falls within the range of crops covered by NZJCHS (as also evidenced by another herbaceous peony paper we have published in NZJCHS), and it was finally accepted by a journal with almost a three-fold higher 5-year IF score. I can only conclude that the rejection, at least of this paper, was anything but fair, or logical. If T&F or Prof. Penman disagree with my argument, could they please point out the flaws in my argument.
    e) Can Prof. Penman, NZJCHS, T&F or someone from the public who has access to Thomson Reuters IF data-base, please confirm the 2014 IF and 5-year IF score for NZJCHS. Thank you.

  25. Plant Biosystems (Query 9)

    A manuscript was submitted to Plant Biosystems on 22 December, 2014. On the very same day, we received a request: “Your above referenced manuscript, entitled [redacted] has been unsubmitted to Plant Biosystems, the editor requires you designate four out-of-country (not japanese/chinese) reviewers before giving consideration to your submission, according to the instructions provided by the submission form.” We were surprised by this request since we had perfectly conformed to this request upon submission:

    I issued a complaint on the same day: “There is surely some mistake. Our qualified reviewers are from India, Pakistan, Nigeria and Iran. We have re-submitted the paper without any new edits.” One day later, I received this response (unedited): “Dear dr Teixera da SIlva, sorry for the misunderstanding. The manuscript is now under review. you will receive the reviewers’ comments as soon as possible. Sincerely Cristiano Paolini”.

    On February 17, 2015, we received the reviewers’ comments in which the manuscript was to be accepted pending minor edits. At this point, we discovered that Plant Biosystems did not have a 2013-2014 Impact Factor and that, instead, a 2012 IF was being displayed on the Plant Biosystems web-site:

    I issued a second complaint to Prof. Carlos Blassi, the Editor-in-Chief, as well as the entire editor board, indicating that the journal was not displaying the current IF and questioning why not.

    Prof. Blassi responded on March 9, 2015 and referred my email to Taylor and Francis management. On March 11, 2015, Ailsa Marks, Managing Editor, Environment & Agriculture Journals, Taylor & Francis Group (4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, OX14 4RN, UK) sent me an email, stating:
    “1. Plant Biosystems was unexpectedly suppressed from the 2014 release of the Journal Citation Report by Thomson Reuters due to an anomalous trend in the self-citation rate. Thomson Reuters advise us that it continues to monitor citations to the Journal, and will be re-evaluating the journal in 2015.
    2. There has been no intention to mislead the research community, and it is entirely wrong of you to suggest this. Neither the Società Botanica Italiana nor Taylor & Francis has ever claimed to have had a 2013 Impact Factor for this journal. We have now removed the reference to 2012 Impact Factor to remove any possible confusion.
    3. We note you have now withdrawn your article from Plant Biosystems.
    4. We apologise for any inconvenience you and your co-authors may have been caused, but ask that you are mindful of appropriate language in commenting on this (and any other) journal, so the risk you are seen to be impugning the journal or individual editors is avoided.”

    Separately, after sending an e-mail to the entire editor board officially withdrawing our manuscript in protest, Prof. Russell K. Monson of the University of Arizona wrote to Prof. Blassi on February 27, 2015: “would you please remove my name from the list of the Editorial Board. I actually resigned from the board six years ago, and have not handled papers for the journal since that time. Thus, I was a bit surprised to find my name listed on this message.” On April 7, 2015, I asked Prof. Blassi and the Plant Biosystems editor board why Prof. Monson’s name was still on the editor board:

    Sometime in the past few months (April – November 2015), Prof. Monson and Prof. Peter J. Davies of Cornell University could not be found on the editor board:
    The date when the editor board was updated is not indicated on the Plant Biosystems web-site.

    a) How did Plant Biosystems make an error with the requested peer reviewers on the online submission system?
    b) Why do Plant Biosystems and Taylor and Francis / Informa not provide an explanation to the public about why the IF of this journal had been suppressed (i.e., the high level of self-citation)?

  26. Taylor & Francis survey (Query 10)

    In late January, 2013, I was invited to take a survey, as follows (this is one of at least half a dozen similar requests):

    “From: Academic UK Author Survey
    Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 8:00 PM
    Subject: Taylor & Francis Author Survey
    Dear Jaime Teixeira Da Silva,

    You have been sent this email because your article ‘Chrysanthemum Biotechnology: Quo vadis?’ has recently been published online in the journal Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences.

    We would be grateful if you could spare a little of your time to answer our author survey. The questionnaire should take about 10 – 15 minutes to complete and respondents who complete the questionnaire will be eligible to enter a quarterly prize draw to win a US $100 Amazon voucher. We plan to use responses to this survey to monitor and improve our service to authors.

    To complete the survey please go to the following address:

    or cut and paste it into your browser. Even if you have completed the survey recently for a different article we would be grateful if you could answer it again as we believe that each experience can be different.

    If you would like us to be able to identify the article your response refers to, please copy the manuscript ID below and paste it into Q1 of the survey:

    Manuscript ID: 696461

    This enables us to follow up on any issues you raise regarding your experience of publishing your article.

    Please be assured that email address and Manuscript IDs are always removed before any data from this survey is shared externally: academic editors and referees will not be able to identify you from your responses.

    If you have an issue that requires immediate attention please do complete the survey but also email explaining the details of the problem. This will ensure that we are alerted to your problem straight away.

    Now your article has been published, you might like to visit our Promote Your Article page at the Author Services website to learn how you can increase your article’s readership.

    Please note that the issue containing your article will be printed at a later date.

    Many thanks in advance for taking the time to complete this survey.

    Best regards,

    Christopher Bennett

    Research Coordinator
    Taylor & Francis Group”

    On February 3, even though I am usually against such surveys, but given the “issues” I already had with Taylor and Francis, I decided to take the survey. And this was my formal query/complaint on February 3, 2013, based on this specific question that I was not very pleased to read:

    “The concern relates to page 6 of the survey where we are requested to provide information about your competitors, specifically Elsevier, Springer/BMC (shouldn’t this be Springer Science and Business Medium?), SAGE, OUP, Wiley-Blackwell and CUP.

    1) Why were you specifically requesting author satisfaction of these specific publishers and not others?
    2) Why were you requesting information about these publishers at all? How does this have to do with your own independent service?
    3) Are these publishers aware that you are asking information about them from scientists and what response should we expect if we contact them with this query?”

    I further requested when we would be able to see the public results of this survey. I never saw, nor was informed of, the survey’s results.

  27. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis (CSSPA); International Journal of Vegetable Science (IJVS) (Query 11)

    Two manuscripts were accepted for publication in CSSPA and IJVS. My co-author is Iranian.

    Prior to proof development, the following e-mails were received.
    August 15, 2013 (CSSPA)
    “Thank you for your submission to Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. As a result of the recent sanctions issued by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury, all US-owned journals are restricted from handling research manuscripts authored by scientists employed by the Government of Iran; or whose research has been directly or indirectly funded by, or has been conducted on behalf of, the Government of Iran. Can you please identify the source of funding for the research in this manuscript. Please note that we can not act upon the manuscript until we hear from you. Sincerely, Dr Gretchen Bryson, Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis”

    October 6, 2013 (IJVS)
    “as a result of a legal decision you will have to affirm that no funds for the research came from any governmental agency of your country’s government. Funds dispersed from a university are exempt from this prohibition. Vincent Russo, International Journal of Vegetable Science Editorial Office”

    On October 13, 2013, I requested Dr. Russo to “please indicate where on the Instructions for Authors there is a clause related to Iranian scientists.”

    October 14, 2013, Dr. Russo responded: “Regarding the other matter. It is not in Instructions to Authors. This recently came to me from the Managing Editor* as a result of a rule interpretation of the US government. You can take this up with him if you wish, I copied this message to him.” *Referring to Michael Amato (Managing Editor, Environment & Agriculture, Taylor & Francis Group, 325 Chestnut Street, Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106 USA).

    On October 15, 2013, Michael Amato wrote:
    “In 2013 the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury issued a regulation which prohibits journal editors and referees who are US citizens from engaging in any “transaction” [for our purposes, the management and processing of any manuscript through peer review] with any author, either corresponding or co-author who is acting directly (as an employee) or indirectly on behalf of the Government of Iran. As International Journal of Vegetable Science is US-owned, these sanctions are relevant and applicable to the journal, which is why Dr. Russo wrote to you about this. To keep a rather long and complicated story short, the only way this article can be submitted and processed for peer review is if:
    1) No funding (if any) for this article came from the Iranian Government; however, any funding from a private sector is OK. If funding came from an Iranian institution, the funding must not have been budgeted for in advance;
    2) [redacted] is not an employee of the Iranian Government or is in any branch of the Iranian Government;
    3) [redacted] must be an employee of an institution/university in Iran.
    If any of the above are not true, then this article will not be able to proceed to peer review once submitted. For more information on the OFAC sanctions, please take a look at the official notice, which can be found at the following link:

    On the same day, I requested Mr. Amato to please “provide me with the exact web-page where this … policy has been indicated by Taylor and Francis, and the exact date from when this policy was put into place.”

    On October 16 2013, I received an email from Anthony F. Trioli, copied to Mr. Amato and Dr. Russo:
    “with respect to the US OFAC Regulation, as a responsible publisher, we are committed to ensuring our journal editors and our publishing partners are kept informed of legal issues which may directly affect them. It is incumbent on us to ensure that both we and our journal editors and publishing partners comply with all applicable laws. As a breach of any law can potentially lead to the indictment of individuals affected, we maintain that it is our duty to alert our journal editors and publishing partners of such risk. With respect to the US OFAC Regulation, we have circulated guidance to ensure all journal editors and publishing partners can make an informed choice in delegating the handling of a manuscript which falls within the Regulation to a co-editor, editorial board member, or referee, who is not a US citizen, resident or non-resident, or who is not resident in the US. We believe a fundamental aim of our publishing activity is to increase intellectual and academic exchange in publishing work of outstanding quality, including an open and collegial dialogue with Iranian scholars. However, we believe that our editors should be made fully aware of US government policy as explicit in the OFAC regulation, and so minimize their own risk to ensure this intellectual and academic exchange can continue to take place.”

    a) What is the current status of the OFAC-implemented sanctions?
    b) Which Taylor and Francis / Informa journals are published in the USA?
    c) The CSSPA and IJVS websites do not mention that these are US-based journals. Shouldn’t they?
    d) Shouldn’t the Instructions for Authors or web-pages of Taylor and Francis / Informa journals carry a public notice (for Iranian authors’ sake) indicating that there is a sanction against Iranian scientists funded by the Iranian Government?

  28. A manuscript was submitted to the The Journal of Horticultural Science & Biotechnology (JHSB)* by my team of 6 authors on August 14, 2015 and was placed into peer review.


    Today, I received this email from the editor.

    On Wednesday, December 2, 2015 10:13 PM, JHSB user [redacted] wrote:
    “Dear Drs. Da Silva and Hossain I am writing regarding Manuscript No. 277/15 that you submitted to JHSB on 14 August 2015 as “co-corresponding” authors. Based on information contained in e-mails from Dr. Da Silva on 26 September and 2 October, I have now confirmed with Taylor & Francis (the new publishers of JHSB) that Dr. Da Silva is indeed prohibited from publishing articles in any of their Journals. As JHSB is now published by Taylor & Francis (Oxford & London, UK), this means that the manuscript entitled [redacted] must be withdrawn and may be re-submitted by you to another suitable Journal. I deeply regret having to make this decision, but have no choice. Yours regretfully, Dr. T. Michael A. Wilson FRSB FRSE Retiring Editor, JHSB”

    Is this not a case of classical loss of editorial independence and rejection based on non-academic grounds? Today, I formally protested this decision to Taylor and Francis / Informa, COPE and JHSB.

    1. I wish to confirm that, over the past 3 days, all co-authors of this manuscript have independently protested this decision by Dr. Wilson and JHSB. All JHSB editors have been formally notified. We await further explanation from the editors and journal.

  29. Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance (AIR) (Query 12)

    An opinion paper was submitted to AIR on September 21, 2015 and acknowledged by the Editor in Chief, Dr. Adil Shamoo as “Your manuscript entitled [redacted] has been successfully submitted online and is presently being given full consideration for publication in Accountability in Research: Policies and Quality Assurance.”

    I was formally banned from T&F by Mr. Trioli on September 26, 2015.

    On September 29, 2015, I received the following notice from Dr. Shamoo:
    “Dear Dr Teixeira da Silva: I wish to inform you that the manuscript is inappropriate for the journal.”

    I contested the rejection on the same day, and copied Dr. David Resnik, an AIR editorial member.

    On September 30, Dr. Shamoo wrote: “The overwhelming number of articles rejected by journals are for appropriateness/scope. This is a subjective decision by nature. Most journals do not have the number of reviewers to review all submissions.”

    On October 13, I informed Dr. Shamoo and Dr. Resnik about my ban from T&F and ask if his/their decision was based on that ban.

    On the same day, Dr. Resnik wrote: “I know nothing about this T & F ban and did not approve it.”

    On the same day, I thanked Dr. Resnik for his email, challenging the rejection of the paper for the third time.

    On October 14, 2015, Dr. Resnik wrote: “I need to talk to Dr. Shamoo about this issue, as he is the Editor in Chief.”

    I did not receive any further correspondence from Dr. Resnik or Dr. Shamoo.

  30. Professor Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva we stand with you.These reputed publishers are publishing crap articles some times,it is better for researchers to get together and start their own journals for the benefit of scientific community.Publishing in SCI indexed journals is a straight forward nonsense these days.YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD.Bravo Professor.Once again we stand with you.

    1. Don’t know who you are, but I appreciate the vote of confidence. It’s rare to get a public display of support and/or recognition. I mostly get criticized. I want to make it clear, though, that I do not necessarily consider the whole of T&F, Elsevier and Springer-Nature – the three publishers I find to be most problematic – to be “crap” as you put it, but there are serious problems, and I am of the belief that journals and editors are, in many cases, ignoring the concerns. I recognize, in retrospect, that my tone was most likely not the most appropriate at all times, but that probably arose when I felt totally stone-walled by the editors and management about issues I felt were important. It’s a shame that I was banned based on on-existent, undisclosed and clear parameters that I apparently violated. Banned by one, banned by two, banned by 10, to me it’s all the same. I see more clearly now the problems, I see more clearly now who is covering up the truth, and I see more clearly now what the plant science community needs. I can appreciate that I do not likely represent the average plant scientist, and my often activist strategies certainly do get me into trouble. But conflict, I feel, is the only way to break a sad trend in science publishing. I suspect that my efforts will be in vain, but I will make the community aware as far as I can go. As I say, there are great plant scientists and even editors on the boards of these journals. It’s a shame that there were no laughing men to support me when I needed a communal voice to stand up to a very powerful set of individuals. (Disclaimer, I am not a professor, just a Dr.)

  31. Dear All,
    I am Research Scientist on soil carbon sequestration and climate change at the French Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) and Chief Editor of the journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, ranking 2 in the Agronomy category. Please find below, for information, a recent correspondence with Dr. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, following a call for chapters that I sent to my authors and reviewers. Please also note that an INRA colleague of mine, also Chief Editor at the INRA in the same building, have had serious issues on publication with Dr. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva. For further information, we have previously rejected articles from Dr. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva in my journal, based upon reviewer evaluation.
    Best regards and thank you for reading.
    Eric Lichtfouse


    De : Eric Lichtfouse
    Objet : Call for Chapters – Ecology for Agriculture – Springer Nature – Deadline December 1, 2016
    Date : 23 mai 2016 17:04:30 HAEC
    À : Eric Lichtfouse

    Dear Author,
    please find attached a Call for Chapters for a book on Ecology for Agriculture, scheduled to be published in 2017. The submission deadline is December 1, 2016. If you are interested to publish a chapter, please feel free to send us a proposed chapter title.

    Best regards,
    Dr. Eric Lichtfouse
    Author of the book Scientific Writing for Impact Factor Journals
    Chief Editor, Sustainable Agriculture Reviews
    Professor, Scientific Writing and Communication
    INRA, Agroécologie, 17, rue Sully, 21000 Dijon, France. Cell: +33 6 33 34 74 91. Office: +33 3 80 69 31 32


    De : Jaime Silva
    Objet : Lichtfouse warning: Call for Chapters – Ecology for Agriculture – Springer Nature – Deadline December 1, 2016
    Date : 23 mai 2016 19:04:19 HAEC
    À : Eric Lichtfouse


    This is the third time I have requested you to stop spamming scientists to get participants for your book.

    Why does Springer support this spamming campaign to support your success?

    Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva

    De : Eric Lichtfouse
    Objet : Rép : Lichtfouse warning: Call for Chapters – Ecology for Agriculture – Springer Nature – Deadline December 1, 2016
    Date : 24 mai 2016 10:38:35 HAEC
    À : Jaime Silva

    Dear Dr. Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva,
    I sincerely apologize for the inconvenience but this is not a spam because I have sent this message only to authors, editors and reviewers of my journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, which I am the Chief Editor. I am therefore perfectly entitled to contact my authors, editors and reviewers by any means that I please. Nonetheless, if you wish to make further claims and requests, I would greatly appreciate an official letter with your full name, professional addresses, email addresses, and telephone number.
    Best regards,

    Dr. Eric Lichtfouse

    Chief Editor, Agronomy for Sustainable Development

    Professor, Scientific Writing and Communication

    INRA, Agroécologie, 17, rue Sully, 21000 Dijon, France. Cell: +33 6 33 34 74 91. Office: +33 3 80 69 31 32

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