Promoting Pseudo-Academia in Indonesia
Uli Kozok (University of Hawai’i at Manoa)
The Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan reported that a significant part of the articles of Kazakhstani scientists published abroad between 2011 and 2013 appeared in pseudo-scientific journals. The Deputy Director of the Research and Development Center of Almaty Management University Daniyar Sapargaliyev said:
In 2013, a third of all the articles of our scientists were published in such “predatory” publications. According to my estimates, about 50 percent of all the articles of Kazakhstani scientists published in foreign publications in 2014 were and will appear in such journals.”Tengrinews
The situation in Indonesia is similar. Because of the pressure to publish in international and peer-reviewed journals, many Indonesian academics publish their articles in magazines that lack reputation, have a low rating or are simply a fake. Even though these fake journals are technically “international”, the articles published by Indonesian academics in such journals are not on demand by their foreign counterparts, as evidenced by the absence of any references to them.
Rather than helping young Indonesian academics to publish in high quality international journals, some senior academics even actively encourage their junior colleagues to publish in low quality bogus journals.
Prof. Dr. Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo, professor at the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) in Surabaya, is one of them.
Besides serving as a professor in Environmental Engineering, Prof. Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo is also known for his eagerness to promote publishing in international journals. For this purpose he wrote a book entitled “Strategy for Writing Articles in International Journals” (Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo. 2009. Strategi Tulis Artikel Jurnal Internasional. Surabaya: Guna Widya. ISBN 979-545-001-8).
At the first sight it seems laudable if a senior academic of an acknowledged institution of tertiary education assumes a leading role supporting young academics to publish in international journals. The Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember considers itself as one of the best technological universities in Indonesia, and hence it must sound convincing and encouraging if a senior academic from such an established institute publicly announces: “Saya siap membantu Anda untuk publikasi hasil penelitian pada jurnal internasional.” (I am prepared to help you publishing your research in international journals).
Unfortunately, the journals in which Professor Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo suggests his junior colleagues should publish, are not internationally recognised peer reviewed journals. Instead he recommends the journals in which he is either an editor or member of the advisory board.
Professor Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo represents the following journals as editor or member of the editorial / advisory board:
- International Journal of Academic Research (Azerbaijan)
- Acta Scientiae et Intellectus (Azerbaijan)
- Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research (Egypt)
- World Applied Sciences Journal (Pakistan)
- Advances in Environmental Biology (Jordan)
- Scientific Journals International (USA)
- Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences (Jordan)
All above-mentioned journals are listed in Beall’s list as “potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers”, and the World Applied Sciences Journal was one of thirteen journals excluded from Scopus for “malpractice”.
Pak Sarwoko, as he is known by his students, is celebrated by the student journal Kabarkampus as one of the most prolific researchers:
Sejak tahun 2006, ia telah mempublikasikan sebanyak 74 jurnal. Salah satu jurnal yang dipublikasikan tahun 2015 berjudul System Dynamic Modeling for Behaviour Pattern on Process and Operation of Water Treatment Plant.” (Since 2006 he has published 74 journals [sic!]. One of the journals [sic!] is entitled System Dynamic Modeling for Behaviour Pattern on Process and Operation of Water Treatment Plant).Kabarkampus
The article cited is published in the Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences published by Textroad Publisher, a well-known publisher of low-quality journals. Textbook was one of the publishers who readily accepted a fatally flawed bogus scientific paper submitted by John Bohannon, a science journalist at Harvard University.
Indeed, the majority of Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo’s scholarship is published in low-quality journals such as Advances in Natural and Applied Sciences and World Applied Sciences Journal (Pakistan) where Sarwoko has published 5 articles. Both journals were excluded from Scopus for malpractice.
Sarwoko’s attempts to encourage Indonesian academics to publish in international journals are successful: Almost 20% of all articles published in the Humanities and Social Sciences part of the last volume (7,4) of the International Journal of Academic Research (Azerbaijan) is published by Indonesian scholars from institutions of tertiary education that are almost all located in East Java (No. 1-4) or in the nighbouring province South Sulawesi (6-7):
1. Universitas Brawijaya (4): Mardiyono, Choirul Saleh, Lely Indah Mindarti, Siti Rochmah
2. Universitas Negeri Malang (3): Bambang Budi Wiyono, N. Rusdi Hidayat, Nur Hidayah
3. Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (1): Bambang Widjanarko Otok
4. Universitas Pembangunan Nasional “Veteran” Jawa Timur (1): Eddy Poernomo
5. Universitas Muhammadiyah Prof. Dr. Hamka: Gunawan Suryoputro
6. STIM Nitro Makassar (1): Agus Arman
7. Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik Muhammadiyah Rappang: Idris Patarai, Jamaluddin Ahmad
The same pattern is recognisable in the other journals that belong to IJAR Azerbaijan. Submissions from Indonesian scholars tend to originate from institution of tertiary educations in the provinces Jawa Timur and Sulawesi Selatan.
Another journal, in which Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo functions as an editor is Acta Scientiae et Intellectus (Azerbaijan). The four most recent volumes (2,2; 2,1; 1,4; 1,3) contain 30 articles. Five (17%) were written by Indonesian academics. All of them are from East Java: Two articles with authors from Universitas Negeri Malang, one from Universitas Negeri Surabaya, and one from Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember.
The World Applied Sciences Journal (Pakistan) deserves special mention not only because Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo publishes in WASJ but also because it hit the spotline when in 2014 Scopus decided to remove not only WASJ but all journals published by the International Digital Organization for Scientific Information (IDOSI). Socopus never gave any explanation why it delisted the 88 IDOSI journals from its database, but Beall speculates that “it seems that these and other IDOSI journals have a high number of self-citations. An easy way for a journal to increase its impact factor is to have new articles in the journal cite older articles in the journal. This manipulation can be detected and lead to the de-listing of journals in scholarly indexes and metrics.”
IDOSI journals, and in particular WASJ, but also the Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research, in which Sarwoko also publishes, are in highly favored by Indonesian scolars and scientists, and again, predominantly from academics from tertiary institutions in East Java and Sout Sulawesi.
Between 2009 and 2014, academics from Universitas Brawijaya in Malang (East Java) published 23 articles in IDOSI journals (16 in WASJ, 6 in MEJSR, and one in Global Veterinaria). Sarwoko’s home university, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS), was represented with 18 IDOSI articles, 14 in WASJ and 3 in MEJSR, and scientists from Hasanuddin University in Makassar (South Sulawesi) published 16 articles in IDOSI journals—12 in WASJ, 2 in MESJR, 1 in Global Veterinaria, and 1 in Academic Journal of Animal Diseases, and there are 2 WASJ articles submitted from Universitas Airlangga in Surabaya (East Java). Universitas Halu Oleo, from Kendari in South East Sulawesi published 7 articles. Some of them struck for either being overtly general, such as “The Role of Women in Public Sector and Family Welfare”, while other articles seemed to be overtly specialised such as “Packaging of an Instant “Terasi” for Diversified Marketing”, and “The Hegemony of Capitalism Through Philanthropy in South Sulawesi, Indonesia”.
Not only academics from East Java publish in IDOSI journals. I found 6 articles submitted from Universitas Udayana (Bali), 13 articles from Universitas Indoneia (Jakarta), 22 from Universitas Diponegoro (Central Java), 30 from Institut Pertanian Bogor (West Java), and 39 from Universitas Gadjah Mada. The so-called “outer islands” are underrepesented: From Sumatra I found 3 articles from Universitas Syiah Kuala (Banda Aceh) and no articles from universities in Kalimantan.
As it is the case with almost all predatory journals, the IDOSI journals target academics from developing countries and from the former Sovyet Union. Based on 266 randomly selected articles, eleven countries are responsible for 93% of all contributions: 1. Iran (31%), 2. Malaysia (14%), 3. Pakistan (11%), 4. India (8%), 5. Nigeria (6%), 6. Turkey (6%), 7. Egypt (5%), 8. Kazakhstan (3%), 9. Saudi Arabia (1%), 10. Jordan (1%) and 11. Indonesia (1%).
In 2014, I sent Prof. Sarwoko two emails in which I asked him to comment on his involvement in the above-mentioned predatory journals. As expected, he chose not to reply.
Honolulu, 18 April 2016
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