List of predatory, parasitic, or pseudoscientific publishers and journals
Because Science does not need lack of rigor and seriousness, we do not need them ...
Homeopathy is not a medical practice!
You are allergic to pollen ...
Well, eat pollen!
And we will talk about natural selection.
From now on, we will add to the Dolos list all journals presenting homeopathy as a medical practice or promoting this pseudoscience.
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a pseudo-medical practice devoid of scientific foundations. It represents a dynamic sector of activity, whose profitability is based on its assimilation to classical medicine (Wikipedia page here and here). In France (yes, for those who do not know it yet, I'm French), the National Academy of Medicine considers that homeopathy is a "method imagined two centuries ago from conceptual a priori devoid of scientific foundations" (article here and here). In Australia, same statement from the National Health and Medical Research Council: Homeopathy is a belief, not a science. And so it is everywhere in the world. Legitimate scientific institutions are unanimous: It is not a true medical practice.
What are the "scientific" arguments of homeopaths?
Inspired by methods such as vaccination or adaptation to the consumption of certain toxins (like some poisons, but do not try, the historical examples of this practice do not make it an effective practice), homeopathy would allow adapt the human body to harmful or rejected substances by repeatedly exposing it to small doses of the same substance. Homeopathy would apparently be proven scientifically ... by experimentation.
What is this scientific basis?
In fact, in the experiments that may be effective for homeopathic treatments, the results are due, for some, to a trial-and-error method and, for others, to a placebo effect. There is really no scientific proof of homeopathy.
What are the risks ?
The main risk is to divert the patient from real drugs by offering pseudo-medical treatments that have the same effectiveness as a voodoo ritual. In the case of severe allergies, exposure (even small doses) to substances to which the patient is allergic can have serious consequences. Patients do not always make the difference between medicine and homeopathy (which masquerades as a real medicine), they are easy prey to this kind of scams.
Why is the Dolos list interested?
My team has received reports of two reviews: La Revue d'Homéopathie and Homeopathy. One is published by Elsevier, the other was published by Elsevier and is now published by another publisher, the Faculty of Homeopathy (confirmed by Elsevier). Contacted on September 22, 2018 by my team, Elsevier answered several times to indicate that the questions were transmitted, then relayed ..., and to clarify a point on one of the two journals. An Executive Publisher ended up writing on September 28 that he would answer in more detail in the following week. However, as indicated in the Operation section of the Dolos list. Since this was Elsevier, I decided to postpone their deadline to the list update day.
One of the questions was about the classification of La Revue d'Homéopathie (screenshot here) in the "medicine" category. As a serious publisher, Elsevier should be the guarantor of scientific rigor. It is not very rigorous (or even scientific) to publish a pseudo-scientific journal as a medical journal. Elsevier, for this time, will not be added as a predatory publisher, as it remains a serious publisher in the rest of its journals.
Today, October 4, 2018, an Elsevier Executive Publisher has finally answered:
"This message to confirm La revue d’Homéopathie is
1. Published under the Direction of Medical Doctors (+ a midwife in the Editorial Board),
2. Peer reviewed articles report works for daily practice (no other intention) AND in no case research works,
3. Never relates to pathologies such as cancers,
4. For treatments / therapies by Medical Doctors that favor the human approach,
5. And for patients seeking such therapies (they’re also demanding).
Last but not least, if you search for La revue d’Homéopathie in our catalogue,
the journal is in the Subdomain Complementary and Alternative Medicine."
Here is a part of what my office replied:
"However, you did not answer our questions clearly:
We asked for the degrees and CVs of your editorial board, you did not provide them.
We asked for names of reliable reviewers who would be able to confirm that they have already done a positive review for an article published in your journal, you have not given us any.
We asked if it was possible to insert The Homeopathy Journal into a more appropriate category. The sub-domain "complementary and alternative medicine" is not. Indeed, the medical qualification of homeopathy has never been supported by a serious scientific study. According to the Académie Nationale de Médecine, homeopathy corresponds to a "méthode imaginée il y a deux siècles à partir d’a priori conceptuels dénués de fondement scientifique". It is impossible to consider homeopathy as a medicine, alternative or not.
Elsevier will therefore be mentioned, in the Dolos list after the name of the journal in the form "(published by Elsevier)". The name of the journal, as "newcomer", will be at the top of the list for an indefinite period."
We also asked Elsevier's position on Homeopathy. Our request was ignored, which is not very smart (from a strategic point of view), because Elsevier had a clearly indicated way out: To demonstrate ethical and serious behavior, which would have avoided being targeted here. And it would be a scientific publisher? Sorry, I thought the scientific rigor and the promotion of pseudoscience were incompatible. Apparently not for Elsevier.
I decided to add its journal to the Dolos list, with the mention "published by Elsevier". I can not adapt the rules of the list to publishers. Its traditional seriousness will not save it twice and the scientific ethics of Elsevier will be carefully studied in the future. If Elsevier once proved that it could consider the profit generated by an open access journal (page here and screenshots here and here) more important than the scientific seriousness, it is no longer irreproachable.
In conclusion ...
Homeopathy is not a science and, until proven otherwise, it is science that has been able to overcome rabies, plague, leprosy, cholera, and certain cancers. It's medicine that heals, not magic. Seriously, gentlemen homeopaths, if you have a minimum of ethics, make real medical studies and do not play charlatans or misunderstood geniuses. We are talking about public health!
In a more humble way, I would also like to point out that a 7-year-old child died of an ear infection treated with homeopathy (article here and here). However, in 2017, classical medicine was well able to treat otitis (and for a long time). Without these charlatans and their good friend Boiron, he would be alive.
The Dolos list team will consider, by default, that a journal promoting homeopathy is a pseudoscientific and potentially dangerous journal.
Professor Alexandre GEORGES.
Article published in October 2018.