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Chaos, Solitons & Fractals, the controversial Elsevier journal in mathematical physics still has no editor-in-chief, although this hasn’t stopped the journal from publishing articles.

The journal appears to be playing catch-up with an extensive backlog of articles in-press, reducing the number to 706 (as of May 5), down from 942 reported three months ago when the journal announced a “temporary submission stop.”  Since resuming publication, none of the issues have contained an article from the retired founder and Editor-in-Chief, Mohamed El Naschie.

The controversy over this journal erupted over a December 2008 issue of Chaos, which included 5 articles published by El Naschie.  Widespread speculation on whether the Editor-in-chief was using his position to bypass peer review was at the heart of the uproar.  The Elsevier website still states that El Naschie has retired and that the publisher is working with the editorial board to find a new editor.

What is surprising is that the number of articles in press has be reduced so drastically in such a short period since resuming publication.  One has to ask whether this journal has the intention of actually finding a new editor, or whether it is preparing to close shop?

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Phil Davis

Phil Davis

Phil Davis is a publishing consultant specializing in the statistical analysis of citation, readership, publication and survey data. He has a Ph.D. in science communication from Cornell University (2010), extensive experience as a science librarian (1995-2006) and was trained as a life scientist.


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