John Baez has an excellent post on the journal Chaos, Solitons and Fractals. In particular he is interested in the curious fact that one of the editors has had an amazing 322 papers published in the journal. On closer examination Baez suggests that a number of these papers are essentially numerology hiding behind a bit of genuine maths and physics. Anyone with an interest in maths &/or physics should follow the link to read the details, but it is also of more general interest for anyone who has followed the controversy over the big scientific publishers, particularly the much criticised Elsevier.
Now, I get crud like this in my email every day. I delete it without comment. What makes this case different is that El Naschie gets to publish these papers in a superficially respectable journal that he actually edits.
The fact that Elsevier would let Naschie edit this journal and publish large numbers of papers like this in it shows that their system for monitoring the quality of their journals is broken.
The fact that this journal costs $4520 per year would be hilarious, except that libraries are actually buying it — at a reduced rate, bundled in with other Elsevier journals, but still!
It is worth following the long comments thread at the n-Category Café as various readers find unusual things in Chaos, Solitons and Fractals, including two near identical papers, a number of sockpuppets come to El Naschie’s defence, and readers puzzle over the details of his background and current affiliation. No doubt there is more to this story which is still to emerge.
See also Backreaction, The Quantum Pontiff and Ars Technica.