I say unkind things about various scientific journals here on occasion. But I have to say that I’ve never encountered a situation in chemistry that matches the affair of M. S. El Naschie, editor of the Elsevier journal Chaos, Solitons, and Fractals. It’s nice to see the editor-in-chief show up with an occasional paper in his own journal – keeping one’s hand in and all. But El Naschie has published three hundred and twenty-two papers in the journal since he assumed editorship. He has five in the December issue alone!
The N-Category Cafe, a math blog from the University of Texas, has the full story here. Briefly, El Naschie seems to have been running this journal as his own private kingdom for some time now. While I’m not qualified to referee his works, those who are report that his papers don’t make much sense – “undisciplined numerology larded with impressive buzzwords” is one review at the UT site. (That’s a phrase I’m going to have to remember for future use; it’s bound to come in handy).
Would you like to subscribe to this fine journal, and get the latest updates from El Naschie-land? That’ll run you $4520/year. As a library, you’ll be getting that as part of a bundle of other presumably more useful journals, so you won’t be paying full whack. But still. Why pay anything for a vanity press full of nonsense? (And if there are some real papers in there from other groups, then I pity them for having to appear alongside the gibberish).
Elsevier seems to have finally caught on, after many recent protests. The journal’s home page now states:
The Founding Editor for Chaos, Solitons and Fractals Dr El Naschie will retire as Editor-in-Chief. This will be announced in the first issue of 2009.
The publisher will work with the editorial board and other advisors to identify a new editor, as well as reviewing the aims and scope of the journal, as well as the editorial policies and submission arrangements.
I’ll bet they will. What’s puzzling is why this took so long – isn’t anyone at Elsevier paying attention? And why did it take some math bloggers to get things rolling – where has everyone else been in the field all this time? Just rolling their eyes and chucking the issues into the circular file, apparently. As I say, I don’t know of anything close to this in chemistry – if anyone has info to the contrary, let’s get on it ourselves. . .