Publishing standards (whether in philosophy or science)

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by C C, May 24, 2017.

  1. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Offshoot of or pertaining to the matter in:

    Little concern seems to be given for reviewing the submitted papers (experts may not even be employed for scrutinizing them), so open access journals are probably not the territory to be submitting test-hoaxes to. "It is [...] in the pecuniary interest of pay-to-publish journals to accept papers regardless of quality." --Phil Torres.[*] Whether those publications reside on the humanities or the methodological side of the fence.

    John Bohannon also conducted a test with a spoof scientific paper. So accordingly, what would its acceptance similarly say about the standards of the science publishing community if these "open access" rags actually did have good credibility to begin with?
    • John Bohannon: "From humble and idealistic beginnings a decade ago, open-access scientific journals have mushroomed into a global industry, driven by author publication fees rather than traditional subscriptions. Most of the players are murky. The identity and location of the journals' editors, as well as the financial workings of their publishers, are often purposefully obscured. But Science's investigation casts a powerful light. Internet Protocol (IP) address traces within the raw headers of e-mails sent by journal editors betray their locations. Invoices for publication fees reveal a network of bank accounts based mostly in the developing world. And the acceptances and rejections of the paper provide the first global snapshot of peer review across the open-access scientific enterprise." --Who's Afraid of Peer Review?

    Popular science news that springs from them could be abundant; and may arguably suffice for accommodating the casual, time-strapped interests in a forum. (I.e., in such a recreational context... Only when extended, combative discussions ensue might any compromised origins be dredged to the surface -- whether political, business, or just understaffed negligence.) But they wouldn't be sources / references to introduce or depend upon in an actual online workshop or legit classroom.

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    [*] Why the “Conceptual Penis” hoax was a bust ... SALON ... May 22, 2017
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
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  3. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Isn't a no review of a bill passing how the U.S. congress mostly functions?


    Off topic. Is the above sentence better understood like this: 'Isn't a no-review-of-a-bill passing how the U.S. congress mostly functions?

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    Last edited: May 25, 2017
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    But in addition to the purgative option, also the retentive decision to "not pass" the unexamined bulk.

    Dianne Feinstein (PBS NEWS HOUR, May 24, 2017): "Well, no one knows what’s in it [the health care bill]."

    If so, then this earlier declaration must have been occult precognition concerning the consequences of the unknown or obscure, abstract object:

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  7. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

    Not sufficiently knowing about something before acting is part of culture - organic magic mushrooms or synthetic LSD - so hoaxes have some ethical value in reminding us to stop and think once in awhile, especially when others take advantage of our naivete for some gain at our expense.

    Or, something like that. Maybe I'm thinking of the aforementioned thread.

    Last edited: May 27, 2017
    Michael 345 likes this.
  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I don't think that 'open access' necessarily means 'we publish anything'. It means that the journal doesn't charge its readers to read it. Many of them employ peer-review.

    Whether readers, authors or third-parties are paying the journal's bills, the journal is still going to feel pressure to please those who are paying. Journals that live behind pay-walls are going to want to publish stuff that keeps subscribers subscribing. While that probably isn't any problem for journals of record like Physical Review Letters, it will be for the countless more obscure journals. Many of these serve niche audiences and can be expected to publish papers that their audience wants to read. Standards might be just as bad in those cases as in cases where authors pay to publish.

    There's an assumption that with closed-access pay-to-read journals, professional scholars will only subscribe to journals that publish good stuff. That seems to be the case for the flagship journals in many of the more intellectually respectable fields. People subscribe to Physical Review Letters precisely because that's where important physics research news is first announced (after the preprints and personal communications).

    But I'm not convinced that it's always true. In some academic specialties (literary studies comes to mind) there isn't really any consensus on what good academic writing looks like. In others ('gender studies' and 'critical race studies' come to mind) what matters isn't so much facts presented or quality of argument as what political line is taken.

    I don't think that the issue in the 'Conceptual Penis' and Sokal hoaxes is so much the journals, as the (lack of) standards of the academic disciplines whose members read the journals and publish in them themselves.
    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  9. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Central Park doesn't mean muggers, either. But if that was a dominating trend taking place in that rectangular territory during the '60s, '70s, etc... In the case of open access journals, it's certainly going to skewer claims made by a hoax experiment should such be trying to deprecate the quality of the whole field or enterprise it targets.
    • Predatory open access publishing

      EXCERPT: In academic publishing, predatory open access publishing is an exploitative open-access publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without providing the editorial and publishing services associated with legitimate journals (open access or not).

      Hundreds of open access journals accept fake science paper

      EXCERPT: Numbers of open access publishers are only increasing, according to Jeffrey Beall, a library scientist at the University of Colorado, Denver, who names and shames a list of "predatory" publishers on his website. He said that predatory open access publishers "exploded" last year and numbers continue to grow at a "rapid pace".

      Leiter Reports: A Philosophy Blog

      EXCERPT: I want to bring to your attention, and the broader philosophical community, a scam journal Philosophy Study and predatory publisher David Publishing [...] In July of 2011, I was contacted by a new journal Philosophy Study [...] I was then asked to review again the paper I already rejected. The author had made a few changes, but it was still not worth publishing. I then used Google to search for the paper. I found that the paper had been published in an online journal type thing published by an institute run by the author. I alerted Karen Garcia about the fact that the paper had been previously published. She wrote back that Philosophy Study didn’t care and they were going to publish it anyway. I know now this is because they wanted the publishing fees....
    Even in terms of journals that only have one foot resting on the predatory side, it's still a game of Russian Roulette if either a legitimate or a hoax paper was sent to one with a functioning peer review during a particular week. Since they sometimes accept papers that were rejected by a qualified reviewer, they could as much be asking the janitor to examine the submissions every other day to cut costs, as regularly contracting those with the proper backgrounds.

    News-wise, science is covered more often in terms of these opportunistic journals with erratic standards. But Brian Leiter's blog has focused on some of those which prey on philosophy, like Christopher Pynes' account above.

    Again, that would seem to reflect upon the standards of scientists who review papers as well (not just intellectuals / philosophers), due to the hoax papers which are accepted by open-access journals of that ilk. Such judgements can't be rightly determined from a spoof-test if the bogus paper is being sent to or is only accepted and circulated among journals which are scams themselves. The most dismal section of the publishing industry wherein the provenance of many journals is ultimately traced to places like India, Nigeria, China, etc (renown for their predatory marketing ventures in other domains).

    Some are processed through familiar publishers in the West, which thereby gives them a facade of supposed respectability (though also reaping profits for those companies in North America and Europe). Pynes, for instance, jumped on board "Philosophy Study" because the "journal claimed to be published by an Illinois company". Perhaps it was published in that state, but for someone else, a more distant agency.

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    Last edited: May 27, 2017
  10. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 69 years old Valued Senior Member

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  11. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I think that the intellectual problems in academia are a lot larger than the existence of journals that damnably fail to charge their readers exorbitant fees.

    In the sciences:

    "Why Most Published Research Findings are False"


    "1,500 Scientists Lift the Lid on Reproducibility"

    In that one, the surveyed scientists top two reasons for why they think so many reported findings fail to replicate were 1. selective reporting, and 2. pressure to publish.

    And that's in the hard sciences, where objective methodology actually exists and where research can theoretically be repeated by others.

    In subjects like 'gender studies' or 'critical race theory', it's far worse. These days, what's published in many of the trendier areas of the humanities is often nothing more than the author's opinion. In other words, 'selective reporting' is going to be built in, simply by the nature of the thing. There really isn't anything factual there that can be objectively tested or replicated. And conclusions in these areas are usually going to have far more direct relevance to social/political issues than papers in the hard sciences.

    So there's going to be far more motivation for authors to bias papers towards desired conclusions (even if the arguments leading up to the conclusions don't make very much sense) and the papers are more likely to be reviewed by the journals' peer-reviewers according to how 'correct' those conclusions are perceived to be.
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  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    That earlier declaration was on the House bill, and it was accurate if a bit dramatized.
    Her more recent comment was on the Senate bill, and it too is accurate.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    There was no such issue surrounding the "Conceptual Penis", as it was not published in such a journal - that is, a journal representing an academic discipline, read by the members of an academic discipline, and publishing the work of those engaged in an academic discipline.

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