Saturday, November 28, 2009


The 'truthers' can't stop mentioning that the 'nanothermite' article was 'peer reviewed' and published in a reputable physics journal. Allow me a long excerpt from a translation of a Danish newspaper article (from the debunking site Screw Loose Change; my emphasis in red):
"It created a great attention, surprise and suspicion when the Open Chemical Physics Journal in April published a scientific article on remains of nanothermite which were found in great amounts in the dust from the WTC.

One those most surprised is apparently the editor in chief of the journal. Professor Marie-Paule Pileni first heard about he article when wrote to her to ask for her professional assessment of the article’s content. The e-mail got her to immediately close the door to the journal.

“I resign as the editor in chief”, was the abrupt answer in an email to

A telephone call reveals that editor in chief Marie-Paule Pileni had never been informed that the article was going to be published in The Open Chemical Physics Journal, which is published by the journal giant Bentham Science Publishers.

They have printed the article without my permission, so when you wrote to me, I did not know that the article had appeared. I cannot accept this, and therefore I have written to Bentham that I resign from all activities with them”, explains Marie Paule Pileni, who is professor with a specialty in nanomaterials at the renowned Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in France.

She feels not only stabbed in the back, but is puzzled that the article on dust analysis following the terror attack on the U.S. on 11 September 2001 could at all have found its way to the Open Chemical Physics Journal.

“I cannot accept that this topic is published in my journal. The article has nothing to do with physical chemistry or chemical physics, and I could well believe that there is a political viewpoint behind its publication. If anyone had asked me, I would say that the article should never have been published in this journal. Period.” Concludes the former editor in chief.

The editor-in-chief’s dramatic departure gives critics additional reason to doubt the article’s conclusions, but Marie-Paule Pileni points out that because the topic lies outside her field of expertise, she cannot judge whether the article in itself is good or bad.

Nevertheless, the publication gets her to give the Open Chemical Physics Journal failing grades.

I was in fact in doubt about them before, because I had on several occasions asked about information about the journal without having heard from them. It does not appear on the list of international journals, and that is a bad sign. Now I can see that it is because it is a bad journal”, says Marie-Paule Pileni and continues:

There are no references to the Open Chemical Physics Journal in other articles. I have two colleagues who contributed to publishing an article which was not cited anyplace either. If no one reads it, it is a bad journal, and there is not use for it”, is the harsh verdict.

The professor informs us that a few years ago she was invited to be editor in chief of a journal which would open new possibilities for new researchers and because she supports the idea of open access journals where the articles are accessible to everyone, she said, “Yes” thank you.

“It is important to allow people to try and gain success, but one should not be allowed to do everything, and all this is certainly a bunch of nonsense. I try to be a serious researcher, and I will not have my name connected with this kind of thing,” concludes Marie-Paule Pileni.

The editor-in-chief’s decision is viewed as regrettable by the Danish chemist Niels Harrit, who is one of the authors to the controversial article on nanothermite in the dust from the WTC.

“It surprises me, of course, and it is regrettable, if it discredits our work. But her departure doesn’t change our conclusions, for it is a purely personnel related thing she his angry about. I still believe that we have carried out chemical physics, and if there is something wrong with our study, she is welcome to criticize us for it,” says Niels Harrit, Associate Professor at the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Copenhagen.

It is Niels Harrit’s coauthor Steven Jones who was in charge of contact to Bentham, and therefore the Danish researcher is presently not aware which responsible assistant editor the group has been communicating with.

However, he does know the names of the two researchers –so-called referees—who have reviewed he article, but he will not give their names because they ‘are in principle anonymous’.

Niels Harrit’s superior at the University of Copenhagen, Nils O. Andersen has himself participated in the pool of researchers who could be selected as editor, on an article which should be published in The Open Chemical Physics Journal. He has recently chosen to resign from the journals Editorial Advisory Board.

He informs that the decision has nothing to do with Niels Harrit’s article, and that he otherwise did not achieve having any experiences with the journals, so that he cannot shed further light on how the journal operates.

“Open access is an exciting development, and as a principle the idea should be tried out for there is no reason for the commercial publishers to earn money from our work. But professionally, the journal lay at the margin of my expertise, and as I had said No to be editor of two articles, I decided that I would not use my time on anything else.”, explains Nils O. Andersen, dean of the faculty of Natural Sciences and editor of the European Physical Journal D.

It has not yet been possible to get any comment from Bentham Science Publishers."
If you are looking for a real conspiracy, you might want to consider a conspiracy between Steven Jones and the publisher of this 'scientific journal', Bentham Science Publishers (Bentham, which appears to be based in the UAE, used post office boxes and one of its directors refused to disclose who owns it).

On Bentham Science Publishers (my emphasis in red; I note that they have since fixed their list of advisory board members to make it look less corrupt):

I enjoyed hearing about your efforts to contact Bentham Publishers. I, too, have been curious about them. I looked at to check on whether Bentham has ISI-listed journals and how they are priced. lists 14 Bentham journals, 12 are classified as "bad values" in terms of price per article and price per citation, and 2 as "medium values". It appears to me that they are an established publisher that has fallen into "bad hands".

Not only does Bentham spam for authors. They are also spamming for editors.

I have received unsolicited messages from Bentham inviting me to be an editor of the Open Journal of Education as well as the Open Journal of Economics. They also sent me an email inviting me to contribute an article to the Open Journal of Sleep.

I was particularly pleased with the following:

Based on your record of contributions in the field of Education, I would like to invite you to submit to me your CV with current list of publications so that we may consider you as a possible *Editorial Board Member* for the journal.
Since I my record in the field of Education is nil, I feel particularly well-qualified. I have never written a thing in an Education journal. I don't know whether or not to be honored to be invited to contribute to the Open Journal of Sleep.

If you look at the web page of the "Open Journal Advisory Board" you will find something remarkable. There is a list of about 40 economists who are "members of the advisory board," all but one of whose last names start with the letters A-C and only one of whom I have ever heard of. I suppose these are the top of the list of people who responded to the spam letters. What an embarrassing list to have one's name on.

The spam letters say

Bentham Science Publishers have gained a longstanding international reputation for their excellent standards and top quality science publications. Many journals published by Bentham Science Publishers have received high impact factors in their respective fields. For the current list of publications, please visit <> . Seven Nobel Laureates have endorsed a number of Bentham Science's journals; please read their quotes at <>

The quotes from Nobelists endorse a couple of journals in medicine and chemistry published by Bentham.

There is a particularly delightful touch at the bottom of the Open Economics Journal web page: "Indexed by Google, Google Scholar." Just who would be gullible enough not to notice that this means "indexed by nobody other than search engines"? Well, I can show you a list of 40 economists whose names start with the letters A-C.

Cheers, Ted"
Note that a lot of the controversy over Bentham started in the scientific community before the 'nanothermite' article was published.

Here's your 'peer review': $800.

It appears that the world-renowned physicist Niels Harrit, who couldn't think of anything to explain the results of his scientific analysis other than the presence of nanothermite, was just discovering the paint on all the steel girders used in the building.

This is a terrible embarrassment for Bentham, the 'truthers', and the poor university that has the misfortune to employ Niels Harrit.

I repeat: $800. The price of 'truth'.
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