Jose Carillo's Forum


This section features wide-ranging, thought-provoking articles in English on any subject under the sun. Its objective is to present new, mind-changing ideas as well as to show to serious students of English how the various tools of the language can be felicitously harnessed to report a momentous or life-changing finding or event, to espouse or oppose an idea, or to express a deeply felt view about the world around us.

The outstanding English-language expositions to be featured here will mostly be presented through links to the websites that carry them. To put a particular work in better context, links to critiques, biographical sketches, and various other material about the author and his or her works will usually be also provided.

Parallel world of pseudo-academia vets scholarly papers for a fee

In “Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too),” an article that came out in the April 7, 2013 issue of The New York Times, Gina Colata reports on a very disturbing downside of “open access,” the movement in recent years to make scholarly publications freely and widely available. Respectable scientists are now being enlisted and duped by so-called “predatory journals,” with names nearly identical to those of established, well-known publications and events and that organize spurious conferences and events to lure their prospective victims.

One such predatory journal recently recruited scientists to appear at a conference called Entomology-2013, making them believe that they had been selected to make a presentation to the leading professional association of scientists who study insects. To their consternation, however, they found out that they had been had. “The prestigious, academically sanctioned conference they had in mind has a slightly different name: Entomology 2013 (without the hyphen),” the victims related to Colata. “The one they had signed up for featured speakers who were recruited by e-mail, not vetted by leading academics. Those who agreed to appear were later charged a hefty fee for the privilege, and pretty much anyone who paid got a spot on the podium that could be used to pad a résumé.”

Indeed, some researchers are now raising the alarm about what they see as the proliferation of online journals that will print seemingly anything for a fee, and they warn that nonexperts doing online research will have trouble today distinguishing credible research from junk. One blacklist of predatory open-access journals shows that they have grown from 20 shadowy publishers in 2010 to more than 30 today, running as many as 4,000 predatory journals. “It’s almost like the word is out,” an American research librarian says. “This is easy money, very little work, a low barrier start-up.”

Read Gina Kolata’s “Scientific Articles Accepted (Personal Checks, Too)” in The New York Times now!

In “The Dark Side of the Digital Revolution,” an essay they wrote for the April 19, 2013 issue of the online Wall Street Journal, Google’s Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen share their insights about Internet connectivity that they had gathered during a recent visit to North Korea. “Even the idea of the Internet has not yet permeated the public’s consciousness in North Korea,” they report. “When foreigners visit, the government stages Internet browsing sessions by having ‘students’ look at pre-downloaded and preapproved content, spending hours (as they did when we were there) scrolling up and down their screens in totalitarian unison.” Their conclusion: “The Internet is far from an unalloyed good to the citizens of dictatorships around the world.”

Read Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen’s “The Dark Side of the Digital Revolution” in The Wall Street Journal now!

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