IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science worthless?

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IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science worthless?

Unread postby Botoxin » Sat Mar 29, 2008 10:19 am

Ongoing discussion at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Eric_Lerner

It seems that the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science is a worthless unreliable source:

  • Doubt on whether the journal is really peer reviewed.[1] It is.
  • An obscure journal.[2]. But not to the 3000 professional engineers and scientist who are members of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society.[3 (PDF)], and the 360,000 members in 175 countries of the IEEE.
  • "A joke of a journal publishing rubbish"[4] (the quality of the argument doesn't get any better)
  • "IEEE Plasma Transactions is a low-impact factor journal"[5]. Actually, Between 2000-2004, the journal was ranked No.10 for impact factor in "Physics - Fluids & Plasmas" by Thomson
  • "It is not a cosmological journal"[6] And this is intended as a criticism; papers on astrophysical plasmas aren't good enough for a journal on plasmas, and should be judged only by cosmologists?
And the main critic is none other than ScienceApologist (AKA Joshua Schroeder [7]), who once pretended to be professor when he was a college instructor,[7], and is now a grad student at Columbia University.
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Re: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science worthless

Unread postby davesmith_au » Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:00 am

Giday Botoxin, I have often read myself such claims that IEEE papers should have nothing at all to do with cosmology - when in fact the cosmologists don't know jack about how plasma works, and constantly make erronious claims about same.

And people like Josh Schroeder:
Schroeder on Wikipedia wrote:I believe that Wikipedia articles should conform to the most reliable, vetted, and factual understanding that humanity has about material reality, that is, everything that is observable, measurable, and explored through the scientific method. I am particularly interested in articles relating to physical reality because that is the area in which I am most educated.

- bang on about "material reality" like mainstream cosmology is all about things we observe and measure, this is the same cosmology which postulates the possibility of up to 11 dimensions, string theory, black holes, dark matter, dark energy, and a host of other things which have never been observed nor measured, more fudged into their theories to make the math add up. They have totally bastardised the scientific method, yet hold it up as the be all and end all of any argument. I would be inclined to replace Josh's last word "educated" with the term "brainwashed", though that might be seen as oxymoronic...

Cheers, Dave Smith.
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Re: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science worthless

Unread postby MGmirkin » Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:51 pm

davesmith_au wrote:Giday Botoxin, I have often read myself such claims that IEEE papers should have nothing at all to do with cosmology - when in fact the cosmologists don't know jack about how plasma works, and constantly make erronious claims about same.

And people like Josh Schroeder:
Schroeder on Wikipedia wrote:I believe that Wikipedia articles should conform to the most reliable, vetted, and factual understanding that humanity has about material reality, that is, everything that is observable, measurable, and explored through the scientific method. I am particularly interested in articles relating to physical reality because that is the area in which I am most educated.


Might I also add: "So long as it agrees with his particular interpretation of reality. Otherwise he'll protest all day long about its 'notability,' 'impact,' etc. etc. Whatever is possible to not have to deal with uncomfortable facts and actual scientific research in the lab [such as that reported in IEEE's "Transactions..."] that controverts his incorrect assumptions."

Some folks are just set in their ways of thinking, and get their panties in a twist if someone dares to "think different ." But, I think that some of that comes from th fact that so many disciplines are so insular and cellularized these days. People in some fields simply can't tolerate people from other fields pointing out their mistakes, or debating them on factual / physical points. Alfven suffered from that a bit, insofar as others sometimes criticized him on the basis of coming from an EE background rather than a cosmology background. What could an EE possibly know about plasma "in space?" Does it work all that differently "in space" than it does "on Earth" and "in the lab?" Maybe not. ;)

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Re: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science worthless

Unread postby Solar » Thu Apr 03, 2008 4:38 pm

davesmith_au wrote:And people like Josh Schroeder:
Schroeder on Wikipedia wrote:I believe that Wikipedia articles should conform...


There. That is more to the man's point. And the rest of the world should follow suit I suppose.

Very worthwhile post there Botoxin. I think SA has simply gone mad. The bullet points you put forth make his attempts to discredit reputable aspects of physics seem quite strange. The difference here, in my humble opinion, is that SA is attacking the true "precision science". Lives depend on what comes out of the IEEE because they help to produce products that will find their way to real consumers. Precision is imperative in this regard. In contrast the "big bang", and it's rather malleable siblings, aren't real in the same manner and cannot be called a "precision science".

What needs to be done is to have the energy produced from "dark matter", dark energy", and/or "black holes" created in a lab and fine tuned in such a manner as to run my car, power my home, or provide a new clarity to my music or television experience, or assist in communications. You know, the stuff engineers do EVERYDAY to make the world actually work!!

Until the unholy "dark" trinity produces some tangible results his brand of pseudoscience is just that.
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Re: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science worthless

Unread postby MGmirkin » Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:53 pm

Solar wrote:
davesmith_au wrote:And people like Josh Schroeder:
Schroeder on Wikipedia wrote:I believe that Wikipedia articles should conform...


There. That is more to the man's point. And the rest of the world should follow suit I suppose.

Very worthwhile post there Botoxin. I think SA has simply gone mad.


I think that's perhaps a bit overly harsh. I'd tend to say he's trapped within the confines of the Big Bang / Standard Model and has trouble thinking outside the box he's educated himself into.

On the one hand, I sort of understand his arguments. Though on the other hand I disagree with them. I'll offer a few quotes from the thread on Schroeder's Radio Interview:

viewtopic.php?p=2837#p2837
I wrote:Schroeder also seem to pull a few no-nos on Wikipedia as well, with respect to inserting his own POV or pushing to throw out references that he personally disagrees with or finds uncomfortable. He probably won't admit to it, or will make some roundabout excuse to say, "well sure, it's published in an academic journal, and it's peer-reviewed, but I think nobody pays attention to that journal, so it should be excluded." Sure he'll make it sound scientific by Wikilawyering to say that WP shouldn't give "undue weight" to "low-impact journals" or some other nonsense. Knowing full-well that "impact metrics" [ratings] are a dime a dozen, imperfect, and will vary based on any of a hundred factors, whether you're talking regional (in the USA) or world-wide, over what time frame you're talking about (one or two years, or long terms over 10 years). Or he'll argue that "such and such an article was published in an EE journal rather than a cosmology journal, so it's low-impact from the standpoint of cosmology."

It's a great tactic, and to some degree I even understand the logic behind it. If one publishes in an EE journal, the cosmology community might not notice. But, on the other hand, if you're an EE publishing for your peers an article on space plasma, should the article be published in a journal on plasma geared toward EE's or in a journal on space geared toward cosmologists? This seems to be a gray area that SA like to exploit to kick papers out of articles.

In my opinion, as the sciences advance and get closer to agreement on certain basic physics, processes, structures, behaviors, inevitably there will be disciplinary overlap. IE, notable papers on plasma physics may in fact render opinions on or implications toward space physics or cosmology. How should we categorize these things? Should or can the articles be cross-published to multiple journals? Or is keywording a paper sufficient for notability in the respective fields, regardless of the journal something was published in?

IE, if an article has implications both for the field of plasma physics and for the field of astrophysics but is only published in a journal that addresses one of the two fields should that de facto exclude it from consideration by scientists of the other field? In my view, no. That can't and shouldn't be the case.

Likewise, if an article is rejected from a "top tier" journal due to space limitations or some other factor, and it is published in a slightly more obscure journal (second-tier, perhaps) does that automatically exclude it from being a paper of note? In an ideal world, no it shouldn't.

Science should not be elitist. There should not be any ego involved in the process. A paper is not more or less valid because it was published in a more "elite" journal. Popularity should not and really CANNOT define reality (if the current consensus was that the sky is regularly the color currently commonly called purple at noon, that does not make the sky any less blue at noon on a regular basis; "consensus" is not necessarily correct).

If someone gets it "exactly right" but it is rejected by the most prestigious journal simply because it disagrees on some fundamental assumption that the prestigious journal holds "sacred" it neither invalidates the premise or results of the paper in question. Truth / correctness is not a function of popularity. Unfortunately, science currently appears to be something of a popularity contest. People try to get their work into the most prestigious journals on the assumption that getting in makes them "more correct" or "more prestigious" than the guy who got rejected and had to go somewhere else to publish. It seems to be something of a failing of the system right now. That's just my not-quite-humble opinion on the issue.

Granted, again, those lower-tier journals may not achieve the same mental penetration as the top tier journals. But again, overall penetration into the herd mentality does not necessarily equate to "correctness."


As I said before, I think he's educated himself into a rather tight box, and can't quite seem to get out of it. Anything outside of it, seems strange to him and he'd prefer not to have to deal with it. I mean, I can understand in some regards his arguments against truly low-impact journals (I don't think that IEEE's TPS qualifies as truly "low-impact"), but I also don't think that elitism has any place in science. I can understand the notion that more "prestigious" journals give the veneer of "respectability" to papers therein. But does prestige or popularity equate to "truth" or "correctness?" I'd argue, that no, in fact it's only a measure of popularity / conformity, and not necessarily an indicator of quality.

But, likewise, what happens a paper addresses more than one field? Which journal should one publish in? If you're an EE, should you publish in an EE journal, even if the results have implications toward cosmology? Should you try to publish it in the prestigious cosmology journals, even though the paper may be a "physics" paper, or it might get rejected due the fact an EE is trying to publish a paper on cosmology, or the reviewer thinks it somehow ended up in the wrong category? I mean, how does one resolve multiple-field-related papers?

It's a tough call.

Anyway, as you were, folks...
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Re: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science worthless

Unread postby Solar » Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:53 pm

There has been a call to right this 'elitist dogma': Crisis in Cosmology

The APS has also called for an interdisciplinary approach:

"Despite the identification of a rich class of physical problems of mutual interest, the plasma physics and astrophysics communities have remained, for the most part, quite distinct, with different societies and memberships, conferences and archival journals. A primary rationale for the formation of a Topical Group in Plasma Astrophysics (within the APS) is to build a bridge between the two communities that will promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge in both communities. We believe that the Topical Group will provide a new umbrella for interdisciplinary activity that will enrich both fields and extend the traditional boundaries of astrophysics and plasma physics." - Topical Group in Plasma Astrophysics


I think your assessment is better than mine. Though the tendency or tactic of ad antiquitam (appealing to convention or traditional action as a proof of validity) and authoritarianism (unquestioning reliance to authority) and pedantism (a demand to prove the case within the conventional framework) fails. But such are the fruits of not being objective enough to crack the shell of one's paradigm. Especially when accompanied by the unnecessary rejection of established journals and work outside of that paradigm which *does* prove the case within a conventional scientific framework. It would then appear that there is thought that astrophysics has exclusive domain insofar as considering which journals meet the definition of "conventional" despite actually meeting all of the criteria.

That is not objective. I have to give credit to Thornhill, Talbott, Dr. Scott et al on this score because the evidence points in that interdisciplinary direction and they're taking the results in the direction it needs to go.
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Re: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science worthless

Unread postby DustyDevil » Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:22 am

Botoxin wrote:Ongoing discussion at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Eric_Lerner

It seems that the IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science is a worthless unreliable source:

  • Doubt on whether the journal is really peer reviewed.[1] It is.
  • An obscure journal.[2]. But not to the 3000 professional engineers and scientist who are members of the IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society.[3 (PDF)], and the 360,000 members in 175 countries of the IEEE.
  • "A joke of a journal publishing rubbish"[4] (the quality of the argument doesn't get any better)
  • "IEEE Plasma Transactions is a low-impact factor journal"[5]. Actually, Between 2000-2004, the journal was ranked No.10 for impact factor in "Physics - Fluids & Plasmas" by Thomson
  • "It is not a cosmological journal"[6] And this is intended as a criticism; papers on astrophysical plasmas aren't good enough for a journal on plasmas, and should be judged only by cosmologists?
And the main critic is none other than ScienceApologist (AKA Joshua Schroeder [7]), who once pretended to be professor when he was a college instructor,[7], and is now a grad student at Columbia University.


Thanks, Botoxin, for bringing this interesting discussion to my attention. I've spent the past couple of days doing a lot more reading of Wiki editorial discussions then I ever thought possible.

You should be relieved to learn that Wikipedia has decided that IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science (TPS) is in fact a "Reliable Source" (RS) under Wiki policy, or guidelines, or whatever it is they use to determine these things. Here's the resolution:

Thanks for the clarification. I think the conclusion on this noticeboard must be that both are peer-reviewed academic journals and therefore RS. You will need to discuss on the talk page of the relevant article(s) whether they are being used appropriately and whether due weight is being given. Itsmejudith (talk) 18:17, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

No, the conclusion of this noticeboard is that just because a paper is in a peer-reviewed journal doesn't mean that it is necessarily a reliable source. Thanks for playing. ScienceApologist (talk) 22:35, 9 April 2008 (UTC)


You can read the entire discussion that SA started on IEEE TPS' reliability at the following link, just scroll down about two-thirds of the way to the heading "Low impact journals used to POV-push":

Wikipedia:Reliable sources/Noticeboard

As you can see, naturally, SA couldn't resist the opportunity to rewrite the conclusion in his own style. Then he tagged the issue resolved, and later archived the discussion. I had to resurrect it on the history page.

Apparently, SA was using the argument that IEEE TPS has a "low impact factor" and, therefore, it was an unreliable source. SA has been working very hard on the "Tired Light" Wiki page to keep Paul Marmet's non-Doppler cosmological redshift theory out of that page. Paul Marmet and Eric Lerner seem to bother SA a lot, and he works very hard to keep the public from learning too much about them on Wiki pages. As far as SA is concerned they are dangerous cranks in the scientific community that must be hidden from the public.

It was probably NOT his intention, however, SA DID manage to settle one question about Paul Marmet's non-doppler redshift theory for me: there has been NO scientific critique, much less any test, of Paul Marmet's theory. I had suspected as much when I first read Marmet's theory last year. I tried to find some peer reviewed critique of this theory, but could find NONE. I thought it strange, since Marmet was a professor of physics and a peer reviewed and published author; but for some reason, Marmet's colleagues just ignored this theory, with one notable exception. Dr. Halton Arp did not agree with Marmet's theory, however, he did suggest a method for testing it.

The only critiques I could find were on the BAUT forum in the form of posters calling Marmet a crank, and of course SA's name-calling as well. No one claiming to have any kind of scientific training could seem to point out where or how Marmet got either his math or his physics wrong. It's a puzzlement.

I guess I'm just going to have to do my own little critique of Dr. Marmet's theory; I was hoping to avoid that.

Thanks again.

DD
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