In the first issue of a brand new journal that has no other articles in it.
You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, I co-moderated a session at Science Online that talked about how anyone can start a new open access journal on the web, and issues of credibility arising from that. Well, remove the “open access” part of the equation (they want $30 to read the single available paper), and you still have a lot of the same issues, and they are all in full view and writ large with the launch of the journal DeNovo.
Now, I am a scientist who is on the record as people should sometimes submit papers to new journals. I have occasionally taken a shot and submitted articles for new journals. Indeed, became one of my fastest papers to accumulate citations. I like to support new publishing ventures. Would I submit to DeNovo?
- There is no editor listed.
- There is no editorial board listed.
- There are no people who are identifiable by name anywhere on the website that I can see.
- There is no physical address.
- There is no phone number.
- A section requesting people perform “Open peer review” has no manuscripts ready for anyone to review.
- The bottom of some pages lists “denovoscientificpublishing.com”, which goes to a placeholder.
- The journal was created with a service that “helps you easily design & create gorgeous websites with just a few clicks.”
This whole thing looks completely dodgy, with the lack of any identifiable names being the one screaming warning to stay away from this journal. Far, far away.
I’m predicting this journal will never have a second issue. Meet me here in one year, and we’ll see if there has been any progress. Or if the journal is even still online.
Update: Carl Zimmer just paid $30 for a copy of the paper. I said I would happily donate to help pay the cost of the reprint, and he said I could buy a book of his instead.
Support science journalism. Go buy one of Carl Zimmer’s books.
Oh, I cannot wait for the critiques. Carl has already written on Twitter:
The phylogeny in this #sasquatchgenome paper is incomprehensibly illegible & doesn't seem to use any method I can recognize.
Yet more additional: Cryptomundo reports that Ketchum says she had nothing to do with the “acquisition” of the journal or its editorial process. Melba Ketchum is reported to write:
One thing I want to make ABUNDANTLY clear. I did not self publish, but acquired the other journal. I have had and still have NOTHING to do with any publishing, editing or peer reviewing for Denovo. That was all completed prior to the acquisition of Denovo.
But this raises more questions. If this was an “acquired” journal, what name was it previously know by? Are there any existing archives of past issues from before the acquisition and re-branding? Since we have no actual names of the publishers or editors, how can we confirm Ketchum’ claim of non-involvement?
Oh, and there’s this video:
I remain unconvinced, but still hoping there is more evidence.
Additional, 14 February 2013: Houston Chronicle blogger SciGuy is collecting reactions to the paper from some scientists who have read it. One thing I will point out is this from Leonid Kruglyak:
There’s also the strange statement they couldn’t deposit sequences in GenBank because it’s a new/unknown taxon — GenBank does that no problem.
I’ll second that. Marmorkrebs, the unusual clone crayfish I work work, had sequences in GenBank well before it had a proposed species name.
Ketchum Bigfoot DNA paper released: Problems with questionable publication
Like OMG! Bigfoot DNA paper is published!
Ketchum Sasquatch DNA Study Update: Questions Answered…