[Coral-List] predatory journals and coral science in India
douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Sun Jan 27 01:29:33 UTC 2019
A couple of articles have come out recently that discuss predatory
journals, the first of the two below is in The Economist. Both illustrate
that these problems are not restricted to India. Indeed, we also know that
it does not apply to many in India, but on the other hand it does apply to
some in the US and elsewhere. Incentives to use predatory journals appear
to be surprisingly common.
Some science journals that claim to peer review papers do not do so. The
Payouts push professors towards predatory journals
I have posted before about articles and books published by the small
group of people in India which have been publishing coral species they say
are in India, including species found only in the Caribbean, and also in
some publications engaging in plagairism.
I have made the leaders of the Zoological Survey of India (where they
work) aware of these problems, sending them copies of my posts documenting
this. Initially they responded, saying they would investigate and take
action if they found misdeeds. They have posted on the ZSI website a
document about plagairism, claiming that they are highly ethical and then
laying out a program of consequences in line with what the Indian national
government had done with universities there. They told me they were
setting up a committee to investigate. I can find nothing about the
committee or any investigations on the ZSI website, they have told me
nothing more and no longer respond to emails, and my contacts in India know
of no actions being taken. Perhaps they think it will all just blow away.
I think institutions that reward such behaviors with pay and promotions
find that the huge numbers of papers produced impress funders such as the
government and others (who don't know the difference between legitimate
peer-reviewed journals and predatory journals), so maybe the administrators
who tolerate or even promote this, and certainly incentivize it, are
themselves rewarded for this unethical behavior. According to the articles
above, that seems to be a pattern in some institutions in the US as well.
Sources in India tell me that students are taught in universities
what plagiarism is and that it is wrong and will be punished. There is no
excuse for plagiarism.
Below I document additional problematic papers published by this
group. This makes it so I think no one can trust their results, any of
their results. Which is a huge part of the India coral species literature
it appears, because they produce so much. It will make the task of
figuring out which coral species are actually in India much more difficult,
since it will take a mountain of work to try to figure out which records
can be trusted, and which not. Many records are likely to remain
uncertain, not supported by evidence, but not refutable because pictures of
those species were not included in the papers, or the pictures were not
clear enough. Plus, the taxonomy is actually based on skeletons, not live
corals, and identification of living corals is unreliable if done by people
who don't know what they are doing.
The material below is long, but it just is the tip of the iceberg of the
huge number of publications these people have produced. Virtually every
paper either engages in plagiarism or has incorrect identification of
species, or both and all are in predatory journals or in-house ZSI
publications that clearly have no competent review (of either English or
coral taxonomy and identification).
Mondal, T. and C. Raghunathan. 2016. New records of five species of
scleractinian corals to Indian waters from Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Global Journal of Science Frontier Research: C Biological Science 16:
The journal is a predatory, “fake” journal. Fake journals often have
“International” or “Global” in their titles. They do not have any
reviewers that are native English speakers, so they don’t catch obvious
poor English. Likely they have no reviewers at all review these articles
All you have to do is pay the money and provide copy and they publish.
Sort of like diploma mills, pay your money and get a diploma (without
having studied anything) They did such a poor job that the genus and
species names were run together, such as “*Isophylliasinuosa*”.
“*Acropora lovelli*” is unlikely to be this species, the axials are tubular
and corallites low on the branch are not immersed.
“*Acropora willisae*” in the photo is a nice colony of *A. granulosa*.
“*Mycetophyllia lamarckiana*” is *Symphyllia*. *M. lamarckiana* is a
Caribbean species, it is NOT in the Indo-Pacific. A competent coral
taxonomist would know that.
“*Isophyllia sinuosa*” is *Symphyllia*. *I. sinuosa* is a Caribbean
species, it is NOT in the Indo-Pacific
The name of “*Porites cumulates*” was misspelled, it is “*Porites cumulatus*”
(Microsoft word changes it to *Porites cumulates*).
The English is very poor in the introduction and discussion as well so they
were not plagiarized. The English was so poor it is obvious that no native
English speaker proofread it before it was published. The English in the
descriptions is suspiciously good, they were likely copied from another
source as the authors have done in almost all their publications.
Mondal, T., C. Raghunathan, and K. Venkataraman. 2014. A note on
Acroporidae corals of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Research Journal
of Science and Technology 6: 25-29.
The journal is a predatory, “fake” journal. From the title of the journal,
they will take anything in science. They could not possibly have editors
and reviewers which know enough about all branches of science to
competently review articles on all subjects. Another clue is that often
their title has two or more unrelated topics in it, such as “International
Advanced Open Journal of African Art and Quantum Electrodynamics.” I
exaggerate, but not a lot.
They do not state that Wallace (1999) was used in identification, an
obvious omission when a large number of *Acropora* species are reported.
The English is very poor in the introduction and discussion so they were
not plagiarized. The English was so poor it is obvious that no native
English speaker proofread it before it was published.
Mondal, T., C. Raghunathan, and Ramakrishna. 2011. Notes on three new of
scleractinian corals from Andaman Islands. Journal of Oceanography and
Marine Science 2: 122-126.
The journal is a predatory, “fake” journal. Notice it is volume 2. Most
fake journals are new and haven’t been publishing for long.
The English in the introduction and discussion is very poor, so it is
unlikely to have been plagiarized. Last sentence in the discussion is
“Further surveys are required in near future to get more apprehensive data
on different types of species.” (A second language is very difficult to
get really good at writing, so it is necessary to have a native speaker
check the writing. Obviously none of these journals have such reviewers,
probably because they have no reviewers at all. The writers need to get it
checked themselves.) I get “apprehensive” just looking at these articles.
The description of the skeleton of “*Montipora gaimardi*”, the color, and
differences with other species were copied verbatim from Veron (2000).
There are no quote marks around it and the Veron reference was not given at
the end of the copied text, it was plagiarized. It says that the
coenosteum has fine ridges. However, the photograph of their sample shows
widely spaced corallites with no ridges between them. Compare with photos
of skeleton in Veron, 2000 and www.coralsoftheworld and it is clear this is
not that species. The coral in the photo may be *Montipora digitata*. The
description is not a description of their coral, rather a copied
description of something else.
The description of skeleton of “*Podabacia sinai*”, color, and differences
with other species were plagiarized from Veron (2000). The description is
not of their skeleton, but a copied description of something else. The
photo of the whole skeleton shows many or most corallites are inclined
towards the colony edge like *P. crustacea* and unlike *P. sinai*. Also,
this species has not been reported outside the Red Sea so far. This is
likely to be *P. crustacea*.
The description of skeleton of “*Podabacia lanakensis*”, color, and
similarity to other species were plagiarized from Veron (2000). The
description is not of their skeleton, it is a copied description.
The paper does not cite Hoeksema (1989) which reviews the fungiids. An
Mondal, T., C. Raghunathan, and K. Venkataraman. 2012. New record of five
scleractinian corals to Indian water from Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
International Journal of Advanced Biological Research 2: 699-703.
Another predatory “fake” journal. Note the journal title has
“International” and “Advanced” in it. Fake journals often have those words
in them, as well as “open”. Notice it is volume 2, a new journal.
Poor English in the introduction and discussion, so likely not plagiarized.
The description of *Favia rosaria* was plagiarized from Veron. It is
plausible that the living coral in the photo may be *Favia rosaria*,
however skeletons are required for secure identification, particularly in
The description of *Platygyra contorta* was plagiarized from Veron. The
photo of the live colony might be this species or not, skeletal examination
The description of *Leptoseris gardineri* is long and has excellent
English. The authors clearly did not write it, they are not capable of
English that good. Where they copied it from I don’t know. There are many
details in the description that you can’t possibly gather from the photo of
the living colony, it cannot possibly be a description of that colony.
The photograph of “*Leptoseris gardineri*” is most likely some other
species of *Leptoseris*. At the very least it is not adequate to confirm
The description of *Goniopora albiconus* was plagiarized from Veron word
for word (all the plagiarized sections in all these papers have no quote
marks nor the reference following the quoted material). The photograph
does appear to be *G. albiconus*.
The description of *Psammocora nierstraszi* was plagiarized from Veron.
The photo appears to be a live colony of this species but isn’t clear
enough for a positive ID.
Mondal, T., C. Raghunathan, K. Ventkataraman. 2014. Scleractinian corals
of Loha Barrack Crocodile Sanctuary, Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Global
Journal of Science Frontier Research: C Biological Science 14:
Predatory, “fake” journal. Poor English, not likely plagiarized. Long
list of species names, no way to check if they are correct. Since they are
based on the work of the authors of these other papers, this list and all
others they produce are highly unreliable and untrustworthy, but may have
some species right, no way to tell.
Mondal, T., Raghunathan, C., Venkataraman, K. 2015. Report on Eleven
Newly Recorded Sclearactinian Corals to Indian Waters from Andaman and
Nicobar Islands. Middle-East Journal of Scientific Research 23: 1980-1989.
If this journal is not a predatory “fake” journal (which I doubt), at the
very least it does not provide competent review of coral articles, as you
can see from the information below.
The language in the introduction and discussion is poor English, obviously
the journal did not have a native English speaker review the article.
The initial part of the description of *Acropora rosaria* came from Veron
with modification, the last few sentences were copied verbatim. The
initial part has some poor English. The countries in which the species are
found had to have been derived from the maps in Veron (2000) as that data
is not available virtually anywhere else. That is the case with all of
these papers, these authors did not go around the world recording these
species. There is no indication in the paper where they got that
The description of *Acropora acuminata* was clearly derived from the Veron
text since it copies several unusual words and phrases exactly, though
other wording is changed. The last two sentences were copied from Veron
where his one sentence was divided into two sentences. The last sentence
of Veron’s description is “The skeletons have a permanent dark colour.” No
doubt omitted because these corals don’t.
The description of *Acropora meridiana* follows the same pattern as the
previous two species. It is obvious that they are trying to make enough
changes so it doesn’t qualify as plagiarism. They are not describing their
coral, they are paraphrasing and then copying Veron’s description, without
attribution of the source. The photos are insufficient to identify this
*Acropora cervicornis*. When are these authors going to realize that
Caribbean corals are NOT in the Indo-Pacific? The photo is of a staghorn
shaped coral, but there are several species in the Indo-Pacific it could
be. But one thing is certain, it is NOT *A. cervicornis*. The last two
sentences were copied directly from Veron without attribution, so
plagiarized. All the countries listed where it is located are in the
Atlantic Ocean except for this report from India, which is obviously
incorrect. That should have been a red flag to the authors, but apparently
they were not watching. Careless.
*Acropora akajimensis*. Almost the entire description is plagiarized. The
photos are not good enough to verify this species.
*Anacropora spinosa*. Almost the entire description is plagiarized,
including the sentence that reads “Corallites are elongated, crowded,
irregular and are usually not strongly tapered.” That statement appears to
be erroneous in Veron (2000) itself and was probably intended to read
“Spines are elongated….and are usually not strongly tapered.” The
corallites are nearly immersed, not crowded and not irregular. The
photographs do not look to be this species at all, the branches are way too
short and there are no spines, plus they are attached to a massive base.
This is probably a *Montipora* colony.
*Astreopora scabra*. One sentence of the description was copied from Veron
without attribution. The description says that the corallites are conical,
but the photos show they are immersed, with perhaps a tiny projecting rim.
This coral is *Astreopora listeri*.
*Favites stylifera*. The last sentence is copied from Veron word for
word. The rest was copied from Veron with modifications that show that the
authors don’t really know what they are doing. Veron’s “corallites are
irregular in shape…” becomes “The shape is irregular.” The authors don’t
seem to realize that the purpose of the description is to convey the
specimens they have, not to parrot an authority. They are clearly trying
to paraphrase so they aren’t plagiarizing, but aren’t very good at it.
*Favia fragum*. Another whopper. This is a Caribbean species, it is NOT
in the Indo-Pacific. The last couple of sentences are copied word for
word, the previous sentences copies with some re-arrangement. As in all of
these species, the list of countries was obtained from Veron’s map and the
source was not given. (unfortunately, that is a common practice, many
people and organizations have copied Veron’s maps or taken his lists of
countries and published them without attribution of the source. Sorry,
that’s plagiarism no matter who does it. There is even a very prominent
researcher in a developed country who has gone to lengths to conceal the
source of his information, saying that it came from a “publicly available
source” that is only named in supplemental material, when it could only
come from Veron. What is the purpose of that evasion??? Could only be not
acknowledging the source of the data, because that would imply that Veron
should be listed as a co-author? If someone finds a source of my data and
publishes a whole study based on it and doesn’t even talk to me let along
offer co-authorship, and only cites a secondary source of my data, is that
ethical????? I think not. If they did it to you, what would you
think???) All the locations listed are in the Atlantic other than the
Andaman and Nicobar Islands, unique outside of the Atlantic for having
these corals. This paper is unique in having erroneously reported them in
India. The photographs appear to be *Favia pallida*.
*Stylophora wellsi*. Again, the sentences near the end of the description
were lifted directly from Veron, but the beginning sentences were modified
slightly from Veron’s wording to make it look like they weren’t copied.
The photo look like a young colony of *Stylophora pistillata*, and the
corallite details cannot be checked.
*Porites mayeri*. This species cannot be identified from the photo of the
living coral. It could be any of several massive species of *Porites*.
There is no way to verify this identification. *Porites* are the hardest
of all corals to identify, these authors have not demonstrated competence
to do so.
Mondal, T., C. Raghunathan. 20?? New record of two scleractinian corals
to Indian waters from Ritchie’s Archipelago, Andaman and Nicobar islands.
The description of *Halomitra clavator* says at one point that “Septa have
distinctive knob-shaped teeth.” And then at another spot in the same
paragraph it says “Primary septa have well developed triangular
dentition.” The photos show this is actually *Halomitra pileus*, according
to Bert Hoeksema, the world fungiid expert.
The photos of “*Agaricia grahamae*” are clearly not of that species, a
quick glance at a closeup picture of that species’ skeleton on
www.coralsoftheworld.org shows that clearly. Rather it is a photo of
*Coscinarea*. *Agaricia grahamae* is a Caribbean species, not present in
the Indo-Pacific. Interestingly the paper lists countries it is known
from, all of which are in the Caribbean. That should have been a hint to
Mondal, T., Raghunathan, C., Venkataraman, K. 2016. Diversity of
Scleractinian corals in Great Nicobar Island, Andaman and Nicobar Islands,
India. Proceedings of the Zoological Society, Kolkata 69: 205-216.
A long list of species without any way to verify the accuracy of the
identifications. *Turbinaria stellulata* is listed under the genus “
*Tubastrea*”. The names are similar, but the corals are wildly different
in appearance. This would be an easy mistake of someone who didn’t know
that they are very different corals, and fits with other evidence of the
authors’ low competence at identifying corals. If I remember, they made
the same mistake in that book they wrote, the first one I publicized a
Poor English indicates text was not likely plagiarized, but also that it
was not reviewed by a native English speaker. Low quality.
Mondal, T., C. Raghunathan, and Vendataraman, K. 2015. Report of newly
recorded eight scleractinian corals from Middle and South Andaman
Archipelago, India. Global Journal of Science Frontier Research: C
Biological Science 15:
Same predatory “fake” journal as some of their other articles. I note that
at the bottom of the page, it says “(US)”. Predatory journals commonly
establish some kind of fake headquarters in the states for legitimacy.
They also often list editors that are not sent any papers.
The introduction and discussion have poor English, indicating they were not
copied and that there was no reviewer who was a native English speaker.
*Acropora azurea*. The description is mostly copied from Veron. This
species has nariform appressed corallites, but the photographs show tubular
appressed corallites. This is not *A. azurea*, likely it is *A. nana*.
*Favia vietnamensis*. The description was copied from Veron with
*Turbinaria irregularis*. The photograph shows corallites shorter than on *T.
*Psammocora vaughani*. Synonymized with *Psammocora nierstraszi* by
Benzoni, Stefani, Pichon et al. (2010) Benzoni, F., Stefani, F., Pichon,
M. and Galli, P. (2010). The name game: morpho-molecular species boundaries
in the genus *Psammocora* (Cnidaria, Scleractinia). Zoological Journal of
the Linnaean Society 160(3):421-456. Veron et al (2018)
www.coralsoftheworld.org say that there taxonomic issues which they are
studying and it is currently unresolved.
*Coscinaraea wellsi*. The description uses Veron’s words, but breaks
sentences up, and one sentence is incomplete “The columellae are with
deep,” If there was a reviewer (unlikely), they missed that.
*Lobophyllia flabelliformis*. The description does not say anything about
anything that looks like tentacles such as what Veron says: “The mantle is
covered with elongate papillae that may resemble tentacles.” The
photograph does not show any papillae. The coral illustrated in this paper
is *Lobophyllia hataii*.
*Mussismillia braziliensis*. This species was previously known only from
Brazil, as indicated in the text. The photo is far too poor to establish
anything. Likely it is a *Favites*. *M. braziliensis* is NOT in the
Indo-Pacific. This, like the claim that Caribbean species are in India, is
a major mistake and indicates that the authors have little knowledge of the
biogeography of tropical marine provinces.
Mondal, T., Raghunathan, C., Venkataraman, K. 2014. A note on acroporidae
corals of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Research Journal of Science
and Technology 6: 25-29.
Another predatory “fake” journal. They cannot possibly have reviewers for
all specialties in science and technology, likely they do no review at all.
Reddiah, K. 1977. The coral reefs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Records of the Zoological Survey of India 72: 315-324.
A checklist of coral species names is given, but there is nothing to verify
the species with. Some of the names used are now considered synonyms. The
one exception is *Mussa angulosa*, which is a Caribbean species and is not
in the Indo-Pacific. This might be *Lobophyllia*.
Mondal, T., Raghunathan, C., Venkataraman, K. 2011. Addition of thirteen
scleractinians as new to Indian water from Rutland Island, Andamans. Asian
Journal of Experimental Biological Science 2: 383-290.
Likely another predatory “fake” journal.
*Acropora cuneata*. The second to 4th sentences in the description are
copied word for word from Veron, without attribution.
*Montastrea annularis*. Another report of a Caribbean species which is NOT
in the Indo-Pacific. The picture appears to be *Galaxea astreata*. The
description was plagiarized directly from Veron (2000).
*Colpophyllia natans*. Another report of a Caribbean species which is NOT
in the Indo-Pacific. The picture is likely of *Symphyllia* and looks
nothing like *C. natans*. The description is good English the authors are
not capable of writing that, it is surely plagiarized from somewhere.
*Siderastrea radians*. Another report of a Caribbean species which is NOT
in the Indo-Pacific. The picture is certainly not this species, looks like
it might be *Coeloseris mayeri*. The description is plagiarized from Veron
*Psammocora obtusangulata*. The first sentence and at least 3 other
sentences were plagiarized from Veron (2000), the other sentences were
plagiarized from Veron and Pichon (1976)’s description of *Psammocora
contingua*. That’s creative, plagiarize descriptions of two different
species and put them together.
*Cantharellus doederleini*. The description was plagiarized from Veron
*Acanthastrea maxima*. The photo appears to be *Scolymia vitiensis* (now
called *Parascolymia vitiensis*). The description was plagiarized from
*Scolymia cubensis*. Another report of a Caribbean species which is NOT in
the Indo-Pacific. The description was plagiarized from Veron (2000). The
photo may be *Scolymia australis*.
*Echinomorpha nishihirai*. The photo is not this species. The description
was plagiarized from Veron (2000).
*Goniopora eclipsensis*. The photo is not this species. The photo shows a
flat colony, the description says small branching cylindrical columns. Did
the authors not notice this difference or did they think that the tall
(unbranching) polyps were “cylindrical columns”?? Either way indicates
incompetence. The description was plagiarized from Veron (2000).
*Gonipora fruiticosa*. Unrecognizable photo. The description was
plagiarized from Veron (2000).
*Pocillopora elegans*. The first two sentences were plagiarized from Veron
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