Presentation about predatory publishers

Predatory publishers named and shamed by journalists presenting at technology conference DEFCON 26

Svea, Suggy, Till – Inside the Fake Science Factory (published 17th September)

Fake News has got a sidekick and it’s called Fake Science. This talk presents the findings and methodology from a team of investigative journalists, hackers and data scientists who delved into the parallel universe of fraudulent pseudo-academic conferences and journals; Fake science factories, twilight companies whose sole purpose is to give studies an air of scientific credibility while cashing in on millions of dollars in the process. Until recently, these fake science factories have remained relatively under the radar, with few outside of academia aware of their presence; but the highly profitable industry is growing significantly and with it, so are the implications. To the public, fake science is indistinguishable from legitimate science, which is facing similar accusations itself. Our findings highlight the prevalence of the pseudo-academic conferences, journals and publications and the damage they can and are doing to society.

Quote is video description on youtube video linked above.

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The authors generated an abstract using the “Automatic CS Paper Generator” available here: which was accepted for presentation at WEAS London. The went along and presented their nonsense paper at WEAS, no one there knew it was nonsense, because non of the people in the conference knew about computer science either, they actually won an award for best presentation.

Screenshot at 2018-10-01 11-45-57

They used tools to download and analyse authors from predatory journals, many authors are associated with prestigious institutions and companies which might be publishing with an agenda, what’s that all about?

Here predatory journals are defined as those which claim to be peer-reviewed but actually seem to be publishing for a fee instead. Low quality science journals, are they a threat to science and society? Fake news, fake science, what’s that about, do we need to start to think critically about everything we read? Ok, from now on…

Tens of thousands of abstracts were scraped from the OMICS and WASET websites, in terms of author affiliations, India and USA lead. With 15,000 papers submitted from Indian researchers. USA followed close behind with 13,000 papers submitted to OMICS (10,000) and WASET journals (3,000).

Eckert and her colleagues discovered 162 papers submitted to WASET and OMICS journals from Stanford, 153 papers from Yale, 96 from Columbia, and 94 from Harvard in the last decade. Yet according to Krause, “this goes way beyond academia.”

Quote from a Vice article on the story

The authors of scigen originally had their randomly generated paper accepted at WMSCI 2005 (looks like same conference organiser as for WEAS 2017(year?)?). I think they were dis-invited by the organisers after it became known their work was randomly generated. They held their own parallel session in the same hotel and invited WMSCI delegates to attend.


Materials with 1bn times the strength of steel?

Because of the immense gravity of neutron stars, the outer layers freeze solid to form a crust that surrounds a liquid core. Between the outer layer and the inner core quark–gluon plasma (or quark soup) nuclear pasta forms at matter densities of 10^14 g/cm^3. Protons and neutrons are thought to spatially separate as nuclear attraction and Colombic repulsion forces compete (a type of Spinodal decomposition) and end up forming long cylindrical shapes or flat planes. These have become known as “spaghetti” and “lasagne”—or nuclear pasta.

In a recent PRL paper, it was claimed that this nuclear pasta has a stength of 10 billion times that of steel.

The paper states in abstract a strength of 10^30 ergs/cm^3. 1 erg / cm^3 is equivalent to 0.1 J/m^3. 0.1 J/m^3 is the same as 0.1 Pa. Therefore 10^30 ergs/cm^3 is 10^29 Pa.

Comparing this to the 5.5 GPa stength of Steel Scifer wires… ultimate shear strength = 0.5 * UTS = 2.25 GPa.
(A value for maximum theoretical Shear strength would be 12 GPa I believe).

So now …. 10^29 Pa / 2.25^9 Pa = 3.0 x 10^19 * steel strength = 30.25 Quintillion times the strength of steel.

Tell me what I’m missing here… maybe the paper converted to specific strength over exaggerate their value? What’s the density of nuclear pasta?

Nitinol Stent

This stuff is like magic, it’s metallurgy.

They call this elastic memory, the mechanical properties of nitinol be controlled by composition and prior treatment. Here the stiffness has been decreased such that it’s much lower than we expect in a metal.

Some background about shape memory effect (Materials Science and Metallurgy Department, Univ. of Cambridge):

Example manufacture of knitted stent:

Football world cup crystal distraction

I was captivated while watching a football match by this nice netting. It’s similar to the crystallography of a single graphite layer. Close inspection shows that the netting doesn’t have perfect hexagonal symmetry, as different sides of the hexagon are made up either two or one rope. Also, sadly the football shown doesn’t obviously have the Buckminster Fullerene type stitching that is sometimes used in footballs, a missed opportunity?


Edit: Image shown is from 2014 World Cup, not the current year.

mtex examples with data

I have been doing a bit of play using mtex to look at some EBSD data which I previous exported to .ctf format. mtex is an open source (GPL) software, which written for the commercial matlab software. The mtex package comes along with several examples and tutorials which can be read within matlab or over the http-internet-web.

Example scripts for using mtex are also available to download from the recently published paper “On Three-Dimensional Misorientation Spaces” by Krakow etal. published in Proceedings of the Royal Society A, 473, 2017.

Scripts and EBSD data for the case studies in the paper are available here:

Scripts for producing other figures in the paper (explaining orientation relations etc.) are available from the mtex website here (along with other examples):

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Control of texture in materials using mtex /matlab at Sandvik

Dr Claes Olsson from Sandvik AB’s Materials Technology division explained at the Matlab expo 2016 how Sandvik has used the MTEX toolbox for analyzing and modeling crystallographic textures by means of pole figure and EBSD data. The software has been integrated into the work of the Materials Technology division allowing an auditable methodology for quality control, meeting standards to supply to their nuclear customers (e.g. in case of rolling zircalloy with controlled texture). Initial example of use was with pole figure data collected with a diffractometer, but they have also used the software to analyse EBSD data.
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A video of the presentation can be seen here:
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Slides can be found here:
Mtex is a free toolbox released under the GNU GPL 2, which works inside the commercially available matlab environment.

Angel of the North


The Angel of the North: Image from Wikipedia

At 200 tonnes excluding the concrete piles used to support it, the total cost of The Angel Of The North was said to be £800,000. That means the installed cost for the 200,000 kg was £4 / kg.

The Angel Of The North owes it’s appearance to the weathering steel it is constructed from, these steels are designed to form a stable oxide layer, with a low corrosion rate across the entire surface. This strategy means that it’s possible to have a reasonable service lifetime with a minimum of maintenance, even an initial layer of paint is unnecessary.

Example weathering steel compositions / wt%

Grade C Si Mn P S Cr Cu V Ni
ASTM A242 0.12 0.25–0.75 0.20–0.50 0.01–0.20 0.030 0.50–1.25 0.25–0.55 0.65
ASTM A588 0.16 0.30–0.50 0.80–1.25 0.030 0.030 0.40–0.65 0.25–0.40 0.02–0.10 0.40

Somewhat uniquely for steels, the initial rust layer protects the steel underneath from further deterioration, eliminating the need for paint. This depends on environmental conditions, too much humidity too often mean that the rust layer never reaches a stable point. This can lead to corrosion and loss of integrity.