**I don’t know what your mathematics is like** but the above symbols are utterly incomprehensible to me. Reassuringly they are also indeed utterly meaningless, having been randomly-generated by a computer program (MATHGEN) which produces grammatical, yet nonsensical, maths papers. Less reassuringly the paper was accepted for publication in *Advances in Pure Mathematics*.

You can read the story here and the full version of the paper here.

**The paper is obviously complete baloney**. I urge you read it – it makes no sense at all. Below is a pearl selected for its lack of maths symbols which I can’t reproduce on this blog:

We proceed by transfinite induction. Of course, every quasi-Legendre–Sylvester, trivial random variable acting freely on a simply admissible hull is Einstein.

And the Editor’s response to this twaddle was to accept the paper while asking for some revisions. Amongst others:

For the abstract, I consider that the author can’t introduce the main idea and work of this topic specifically. We can’t catch the main thought from this abstract. So I suggest that the author can re-organize the descriptions and give the keywords of this paper.

To which the ‘author’ replies:

The referee’s objection is well taken; indeed, the abstract has not the slightest thing to do with the content of the paper.

**How could this happen? **Well, it happens because *Advances in Pure Mathematics* is an open access journal which means that if you pay them $500 – a low rate – they will publish your paper. As I mentioned previously, everything happens more smoothly if the quality barrier is as low as possible. The journal staff get paid, the author gets a publication on their publication list and everyone just hopes that they don’t apply Italian standards of judgement on the work.

**This is not to universally condemn all open-access publishing**: far from it. But it does demonstrate an inherent potential weakness in that publishing model.

**Finally, a test for the reader. **I have listed the titles of 13 papers below, 12 of which are genuine. Can you spot the randomly-generated impostor in the list?

- An Essay on the Double Nature of the Probability
- On Discrete Adomian Decomposition Method with Chebyshev Abscissa for Nonlinear Integral Equations of Hammerstein Type
- Existence of a Nontrivial Solution for a Class of Superquadratic Elliptic Problems
- Independent, Negative, Canonically Turing Arrows of Equations and Problems in Applied Formal PDE
- On the Generality of Orthogonal Projections and e-Projections in Banach Algebras
- Differential Sandwich Theorems for Analytic Functions Defined by an Extended Multiplier Transformation
- Second Order Periodic Boundary Value Problems Involving the Distributional Henstock-Kurzweil Integral
- Certain Properties of Trigonometrically ρ-Convex Functions
- Some Criteria for the Asymptotic Behavior of a Certain Second Order Nonlinear Perturbed Differential Equation
- The Primary Radical of a Submodule
- On the Infinite Products of Matrices
- On Some Properties of the Heisenberg Laplacian
- Global Attractor for a Non-Autonomous Beam Equation

Not so easy heh?

Tags: MATHGEN, Open Access

October 29, 2012 at 11:37 am |

I honestly have not got a clue but will plump for the first – who would say ‘The double nature of THE probability’ rather tahn ‘The double nature of probability’?

A friend points out that Nature have published a piece on the problems of OA journals –

http://www.nature.com/news/predatory-publishers-are-corrupting-open-access-1.11385

October 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

Not correct: try again 🙂

November 5, 2012 at 5:58 pm |

Brilliant! Despite being a mathematician I had to look through the titles quite carefully to spot the fake one.

Seriously though, as you say, this highlights one of the weaknesses of the so-called ‘gold’ model of open access where the writer pays. It encourages the formation of junk journals that will publish anything. I regularly get invitations from such journals to publish papers. In one email recently, the subject line was

Subject: Call for paper’s