Wood Fractal
Wood Fractal by Skepsis via Flickr

The August 30th issue of the journal Chaos, Solitons & Fractals was published on Monday this week. It contains six articles by the former editor-in-chief, Mohamed El Naschie.

It was followed on Tuesday with the publication of the September 15th issue boasting no less than seven El Naschie articles.

Both issues are unusually large (85 and 93 articles respectively), more than twice the size of normal issues and released several months ahead of schedule.

While the size of issues has grown, the list of associate editors has shrunk and is now missing Steven Bishop, professor of mathematics at University College London.

According to the publisher’s website, the journal is still attempting to find a new editor, although it has maintained its submission stop and encourages authors to submit to other Elsevier journals.

The backlog of unpublished papers — once holding nearly 1,000 papers in press — is down to 329.

The lack of a replacement editor-in-chief, coupled with the submission stop and haste to clear its backlog, all suggest a publisher rushing to close the journal.

A controversy in the mathematical physics community erupted late last year over the practice of the controversial Editor-in-Chief, Mohamed El Naschie’s practice of publishing his own articles.  While this practice was not new, it came to a head last December, with five of his papers appearing in the same issue. El Naschie is the founding editor of Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, which began publishing in 1991.  His practice of self-publishing began in 1998.

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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. https://phil-davis.com/


8 Thoughts on "Chaos Still Publishing Former Editor’s Work"

So more to the point, are the new El Naschie papers valid scholarship, or not? That seems to be the relevant issue.

The papers are the same numerological junk.
I imagine that Elsevier has contractual obligations/lawsuit fear which prevents it to shutdown the journal and admit that the peer-review process was flawed. Because in that case, the libraries which were forced to subscribe to it, can sue Elsevier in court for fraud and demand their Elsevier-depleted money back. May be the blog authors, who are publishing professionals can comment on this issue.

The only responsibility a publisher has to libraries (or to their subscription intermediaries), is to deliver the number of issues promised. There is no explicit (or even implicit) guarantee that the information is valid, trustworthy, or even original.

In an historic case of republishing which took place over 3 decades, Emerald Publishing systematically filled many of its journals with previously published articles from other Emerald journals. No lawsuits from libraries ensued, and I’m unaware of any library cancellations that took place as a result.

Davis, P. M. (2005). The Ethics of Republishing: A Case Study of Emerald/MCB University Press Journals. Library Resources & Technical Services, 49(2), 72-78. http://hdl.handle.net/1813/2572

Davis, P. M. (2005). Article duplication in Emerald/MCB journals is more extensive than first reported: Possible conflicts of financial and functional interests are uncovered. Library Resources & Technical Services, 49(3), 138-150. http://hdl.handle.net/1813/2574

What about the authors, who probably already transferred their copy rights to the Journal? Does Elsevier has any obligations toward them to publish their articles?
I fail to understand why would Elsevier will insist on continuing to tarnish it’s own reputation by sticking with such a controversial journal.

It would be such a Utopian scenario. All the scientific libraries demand their money back in a class-action lawsuit for years that Elsevier was publishing this journal and forcing the libraries to buy them. That would restore their budget after years of Elsevier’s plundering.

Still counting papers by El Naschie. Seven in this volume, six in that volume. Truly profound science. That is the quintessence of a new notion crackpots numerological blogging. Is that what useless lots can do as a substitution for being totally unable to produce anything not even numerology?

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