Sunday, 6 June 2010

Debunking Corner - When "peer review" is just a matter of ££

Uncommon Descent recently published a note that our very own Andy McIntosh of "dead fish float" fame had gotten himself into the peer reviewed literature with a paper on ID.

This struck me as a  huge leap forward for the ID/Creationists so I thought I would did a little deeper.

The journal quoted seemed a bit off the beaten track as it where when I discovered it isn't even available from the OU library!

With the aid of Brian and the forum we can reveal that the WIT appears to be prepared to accept anything if you are prepared to pay for the submission.

This comes from The Institute of Computer Graphics and Algorithms in Austria, here (our emphasis);

We decided to write more than one crazy abstract to make sure that an acceptance cannot be interpreted as accident and so we tried different types of weird papers proposals. The first of four abstracts we produced was simply a completely irrelevant topic, namely how to create footprints on the walls of public rooms. It includes several statements that every reviewer must recognize as joke. The complete text is given in abstract 1. 
The second abstract describes a correct method which makes no sense at all, that is how to render interior rooms without light. Obviously, the resulting image will be completely black. This was written as in abstract 2. 
These first two productions have at least a little bit the structure of a scientific paper abstract. What we also wanted to try was, if VIDEA would accept its own text as abstract. So we copied the complete introduction from the "Call for Papers" and gave this abstract the title of the conference. Minor changes were only made like changing the word "conference" to "paper". The result is given in abstract 3. 
Last but not least we decided to produce an abstract without any content, just complete nonsense. So we took a dictionary of information processing words and selected randomly some 40 phrases from there and joined them together to a fantastically technical sounding text. The given reference is, of course, the utilized dictionary! We had much fun with abstract 4. 
All abstracts were sent to the conference in November 1994 and on January 14th, 1995 we received the results. All four abstract have been "reviewed and provisionally accepted"! This means, that the VIDEA conference organizers [3] claim someone has reviewed these abstracts and has found them suitable for the conference! As members of the program committee two of us had nothing to do with reviewing.

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