June 17, 2012

Turkish mock conferences - Copy, Shake, and Paste

I've been sent an article from Hürriyet, a Turkish daily newspaper, apparently about mock conferences and Turkish scientists. Google translate didn't do such a hot job on translating - anyone out there read enough Turkish to translate?

Update 2012-06-18: Here's a translation, thank you to my anonymous translator! I've made some minor changes, if I have anything very wrong, please let me know!
2nd update: fixed two minor problems

He who plunks down money gets made professor (From Hürriyet Newspaper 12 December 2010)
WASET is a very stylish site, also it impresses with its content: links with international refereed journals, international conferences that organized almost in every subject... But if you delve into the issue a bit, you learn that this site only shows as if your paper was published in a journal which it is not, and it also shows like as if you attended the international conferences, which you didn't. He or she who plunks their money can add them to his/her CV and becomes a associate professor or a professor.
Actually what is done is simple: lets assume that it is time for your associate professorship or professorship. There is no way that it will occur automatically, you have to attend conferences or publish papers in refereed journals, so you can add these to your CV. Although there are 25.000 refereed journal in the world, you are not the type who bothers him/herself, you benefit enough from the culture of “is not there an easy way to do this, bro'?”
The “World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology” which can be found at http://waset.org is such a site. When you get into it, you come across a stylish, serious page. Information given, offered programs are kind of that can't be disregarded. This site, allows you to add “articles published in international refereed journals and international conferences” to your CV for a fee.
The site is backed by former science teacher Cemal Ardıl, his daugter Ebru Ardıl, and his son Bora Ardıl is also helping him. These names are very interesting. Science teacher for twenty years Cemal Ardıl introduced himself as Dr/PhD, and because of this TÜBİTAK [The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey] chair Prof. Nüket Yetiş opened a investigation about him in ethical committee. After that because of using the name TÜBİTAK without permission, she gave them a notarized protest certificate. Also TÜBİTAK withdrew support from Çanakkale 18 Mart University until bogus conference, bogus journal problem could be solved. But they continued with their activity. Guess who is the one with most articles in WASET? Cemal Ardıl with 46 articles is the one with most articles. But we couldn't reach the Ardıl family. Probably because they know that we are investigating, they closed the “contact us” section of the site. All other methods we used for reaching them also failed.
First who pointed out this issue is A. Murat Eren from NTV Science Magazine. Eren, who is also a academic,  gives interesting information about site's scope: “It is a widely known fact that there is a disproportion between publication and citation counts in Turkey, also how academics gets on staff by which kind of publications in provincial universities (small, country universities). This site allows people to publish by money, in fact who couldn't publish their works in another way (channel, course). Academics, who collects a few hundred euros, easily publish in WASET, without bothering himself/herself with complicated scientific process. Who pludges the money, climbs the stairs of academic life two by two. If published thousands articles, organized tens of conferences are thought, it can be seen that it is a really profitable business. When everybody wins, unfortunately science is losing.”
Again from the Eren's article, we learn that many of those who applied to the WASET originate from countries such as Bulgaria, India, Pakistan, Morocco, Egypt, Iran, Georgia, Azerbaijan, United Arab Emirates, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, or Indonesia. Some of the academics who are working on Turkey's universities are also regulars on the WASET. Common characteristics of these countries are that their hardship (poverty, etc.) in contribution to science, scientific thought and science world! “For instance” says A. Murat Eren, “a academic who published 14 article in WASET's so-called journals in Mathematics still serves in Uludag University”. We found the academic Prof. Ahmet Tekcan, who Eren mentions. He said to us, as soon as he learned that WASET was doing such things, he disengaged (dropped all relations) from it: “I have 14 articles since 2007 in WASET group journals and most of them are joint studies which are done with associates from my department. After hearing the news about WASET, I stopped sending articles to it. In the end nobody wants to be tainted (stained) by his scientific works. As I see most of the people who has papers with this group are not aware of the news about it.”
When we ask about the difficulty of publishing 14 articles in the field such as Mathematics in one year, he said that it is possible with well-founded basis (foundation). However, we couldn't find anyone within the most reputed mathematicians who can publish 14 articles in one year.
WASET actually is a new site. Before it, there was a site with Enformatika name. But, academic member of İTÜ Prof. Tayfun Akgül, who writes under the nickname “Conik Author: Piref H. Ökkeş” in Matematik Dünyası (Mathematical World Magazine), wrote an article in the magazine titled “I've sent a paper to bogus conference”. Piref Ökkeş, heard about an international conference in his major is going to be organized in Istanbul, also leading scientists from the world are going to attend to this conference. After sending an email to the one of the renowned scientists in list, he learned that this person don't have any information about the conference. Thus, it is emerged that this conference is totally fake.
But Piref Ökkeş, didn't settle with this. After a while, he sent an article with totally a fabricated title and content to the site. After an article was accepted and declared to be a fake article, the site was deciphered and it was hurriedly closed. Actually it only changed its logo. The new logo, which can easily be guessed, is WASET. “After this news” says A. Murat Eren, “probably WASET logo will change too”. 
When we were researching about this issue, we repeatedly called YÖK (The Council of Higher Education in Turkey) president Prof. Yusuf Ziya Özcan and sent our questions to his answering machine, but we couldn't get any answer from him.
TÜBA can't keep track of everything
I didn't know anything about WASET internet site. After your notice I researched. But I have to confess tha, I don't intend on keeping track of that thing. Also it is out of the question for TÜBA (Turkey Sciences Academy). People who takes this kind of actions, shouldn't have any claims about science. Society is also not criticizing (blame, condemn, denounce) this kind of people. I am sorry I don't have time to look into the question 'Is there any relation to publication explosion?'”.
Cemal Ardıl (46)
Ahmet Tekcan (14)
Melih Turgut (14)
Atilla Akpınar (12)
Basri Çelik (12)
Osman Bizim (10)
Serkan Narlı (8)
Betül Gezer (8)
Ali Eryılmaz (7)
Emin Özyılmaz (6)
A friend of mine who reads your blog sent me this link. Thanks for the translation. I am the person who did the research and wrote the original article about WASET, which led to this publication. I just wanted to let anyone who is interested that the original article here can be found here:


Following short article is a summary of the former one which was published in NTV Science and was referenced from Hürriyet:
A little note: the person who published 14 math articles in one year was defended by his Dean in Turkey after this news, and I was accused of slandering his colleagues and their department in Uludag University, because I was a servant of 'some people' who were 'jealous' of their success and had 'ulterior motives'. Ironically, when I searched his name in my WASET archives it turned out that this Dean himself had publications under WASET, as well.

It is not only Uludag University. I have unbelievable examples from all over the country. These people occupy 'departments' all together. They very well know what they are doing, and they protect their territory by hiring only people who share the same perspective on ethics and science.

This type of frauds are simply choking the academia in Turkey. While inflating the number of publications that are coming out of Turkey each year increases, the actual contribution of Turkey to international science is essentially zero, except a couple of lucky/heroic/isolated efforts. Quantitative measures to assess the importance of a scientist are open to abuse. Lack of regulations and ethics make under-developed countries like Turkey extremely good at abusing those indices, and therefore they remain under-developed.


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