Imaginary editor, imaginary papers?

In British Universities the  all-important Research Excellence Framework (REF) is coming up. It is all important as how well a University does will determine how much money they get from the government. If we are assessed and found to be really good, we should get a bit more money from the government, but if we are found to be not so good, we will get less money which as money is so tight in UK Universities is very bad. Basically, in the future Universities will get most of the money to cover our basic running costs (e.g., my salary) from UK student fees, this REF money which we get to support research, and the fees of overseas students.

Anyway, the most important part of the assessment is via assessment of 4 research papers per academic. So, I will need 4 ‘good’ papers to submit. So, what is a ‘good’ paper? That is a tricky question but it clearly helps if it is in a well known prestigious journal. So I won’t be publishing in the OMICS journal Molecular Biology.

There are couple of reasons for this. One is that although you appear to be able to submit manuscripts, it does not appear to have actually published any papers. This is strange as generally the whole point of a scientific journal is to publish papers. A journal without papers is a bit like a cheese shop with no cheese. Weirdly, if you click on the research highlights it takes you to papers in other journals. This seems a bit like clicking on a link on and getting a special offer on Sainsbury’s site.

Also, although he has now been taken down, it appears that at one point it had an imaginary member of the editorial board. One Dr Peter Uhnemann from the Department of Nonindoeuropean Parapsychological Higgs-Boson Hyperspace Geekology. An excellent title for a Department but of couse an entirely made up one. He was made up by the German Magazine Titanic. This perhaps a shame as without him, his field of ‘applied endoplutomomics’ probably won’t progress very fast, as I don’t know any real people who work in it.

This journal (like many good, real scientific journals) is Open Access, i.e., the authors pays the publication costs and then anyone can download and read the paper. Open Access is a good idea but I guess that some unscrupulous publishers are abusing it by publishing any old rubbish and collecting the fee. If they do little work maybe they can turn a profit that way. Although here although they may collect a fee, I don’t see any evidence of them actually publishing papers, which is a bit odd. Anyway, I think I will look elsewhere to publish my papers.