The Quantum Pontiff

John Baez (via Zoran ?koda) points to the case of M.S. El Naschie. El Naschie is apparently the answer to the question “how do you publish over three hundred papers of craziness in an Elsevier journal?” Simple: just become the editor and chief of the journal!

Tell me again the argument about scientific publishers rendering a valuable service with their stellar editing?


  1. #1 S
    November 11, 2008

    Haven’t there been other instances where peer review failed, where consensus was worth about a buck and a half??? If a lot of white papers are shot over and no one really cares, what good is the review? I realize this isn’t the same thing.
    It may also be that non-scientific publishers do far more harm, even to science. I have seen more garbage on MSNBC and ABCNEWS that was actually contributed by so and so from such and such university that really went a long way before someone blew the whistle. Yikes.

  2. #2 Eric Lund
    November 11, 2008

    Oddly enough, the journal page you linked to doesn’t list any kind of affiliation for Mr. El Naschie, just the following address: PO Box 272, Cobham, KT11 2FQ, United Kingdom. Google Maps tells me that Cobham is in the southwestern suburbs of London, in the county of Surrey, just inside the M25 beltway. Presumably he has retired, though I can’t rule out his being forced out of his last job for reasons unrelated to his age. I don’t know enough about greater London to know whether this is a likely place for an allegedly respected scientist (even a supposedly retired one) to live.

    Most of the other editors associated with the journal list some kind of academic affiliation (the exception is the Econometrics and Statistics editor, whose address is a post office box in Denmark with a postcode but no town listed). It’s clear that there is something unusual going on here, but I don’t know enough to say more.

  3. #3 Blake Stacey
    November 11, 2008

    I knew the name of that journal sounded familiar!

  4. #4 Blake Stacey
    November 11, 2008

    Grrr, wrong link. My apologies.

  5. #5 D. Eppstein
    November 12, 2008

    And now Baez’ post has been overrun by sockpuppets. I hope you at least have some way of seeing IP addresses of commenters here, to guard against the same sort of infestation.

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