Promoting Pseudo-Academia in Indonesia
Uli Kozok (University of Hawai’i at Manoa)
The Ministry of Education and Science of Kazakhstan reported that a significant part of the articles of Kazakhstani scientists published abroad between 2011 and 2013 appeared in pseudo-scientific journals. The Deputy Director of the Research and Development Center of Almaty Management University Daniyar Sapargaliyev said: “In 2013, a third of all the articles of our scientists were published in such “predatory” publications. According to my estimates, about 50 percent of all the articles of Kazakhstani scientists published in foreign publications in 2014 were and will appear in such journals.” (source)
The situation in Indonesia is similar. Because of the pressure to publish in international and peer-reviewed journals, many Indonesian academics publish their articles in magazines that lack reputation, have a low rating or are simply a fake. Even though these fake journals are technically “international”, the articles published by Indonesian academics in such journals are not on demand by their foreign counterparts, as evidenced by the absence of any references to them.
Rather than helping young Indonesian academics to publish in high quality international journals, some senior academics even actively encourage their junior colleagues to publish in low quality bogus journals.
Prof. Dr. Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo, professor at the Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (ITS) in Surabaya, is one of them.
Besides serving as a professor in Environmental Engineering, Prof. Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo is also known for his eagerness to promote publishing in international journals. For this purpose he wrote a book entitled “Strategy for Writing Articles in International Journals” (Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo. 2009. Strategi Tulis Artikel Jurnal Internasional. Surabaya: Guna Widya. ISBN 979-545-001-8).
At the first sight it seems laudable if a senior academic of an acknowledged institution of tertiary education assumes a leading role supporting young academics to publish in international journals. The Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember considers itself as one of the best technological universities in Indonesia, and hence it must sound convincing and encouraging if a senior academic from such an established institute publicly announces: “Saya siap membantu Anda untuk publikasi hasil penelitian pada jurnal internasional.” (I am prepared to help you publishing your research in international journals).
Unfortunately, the journals in which Professor Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo suggests his junior colleagues should publish, are not internationally recognised peer reviewed journals. Instead he recommends the journals in which he is either an editor or member of the advisory board.
Professor Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Academic Research (Azerbaijan), and the Executive Editor of the Journal of Basic and Applied Scientific Research (Egypt). He serves as the Associate Editor-in-chief of the World Applied Sciences Journal (Pakistan) published by the International Digital Organization for Scientific Information (IDOSI) and regional editor of Advances in Environmental Biology (Jordan) published by the American-Eurasian Network for Scientific Information. Sarwoko Mangkoedihardjo is also a member of the advisory board of the Scientific Journals International (USA).
All above-mentioned journals are listed in Beall’s list as “potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers”, and the World Applied Sciences Journal was one of thirteen journals excluded from Scopus for “malpractice”.
Pak Sarwoko, as he is known by his students, is celebrated by the student journal Kabarkampus as one of the most prolific researchers:
“Sejak tahun 2006, ia telah mempublikasikan sebanyak 74 jurnal. Salah satu jurnal yang dipublikasikan tahun 2015 berjudul System Dynamic Modeling for Behaviour Pattern on Process and Operation of Water Treatment Plant.” (Since 2006 he has published 74 journals [sic!]. One of the journals [sic!] is entitled System Dynamic Modeling for Behaviour Pattern on Process and Operation of Water Treatment Plant).
The article cited is published in the Journal of Applied Environmental and Biological Sciences published by Textroad Publisher, a well-known publisher of low-quality journals. Textbook was one of the publishers who readily accepted a fatally flawed bogus scientific paper submitted by John Bohannon, a science journalist at Harvard University.
Sarwoko’s attempts to encourage Indonesian academics to publish in international journals are successful: Almost 20% of all articles published in the Humanities and Social Sciences part of the last volume (7,4) of the International Journal of Academic Research (Azerbaijan) is published by Indonesian scholars from institutions of tertiary education that are almost all located in East Java (No. 1-4) or in South Sulawesi (6-7):
1. Universitas Brawijaya (4): Mardiyono, Choirul Saleh, Lely Indah Mindarti, Siti Rochmah
2. Universitas Negeri Malang (3): Bambang Budi Wiyono, N. Rusdi Hidayat, Nur Hidayah
3. Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember (1): Bambang Widjanarko Otok
4. Universitas Pembangunan Nasional “Veteran” Jawa Timur (1): Eddy Poernomo
5. Universitas Muhammadiyah Prof. Dr. Hamka: Gunawan Suryoputro
6. STIM Nitro Makassar (1): Agus Arman
7. Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik Muhammadiyah Rappang: Idris Patarai, Jamaluddin Ahmad
The same pattern is recognisable in the other journals that belong to IJAR Azerbaijan. Submissions from Indonesian scholars tend to originate from institution of tertiary educations in the provinces Jawa Timur and Sulawesi Selatan.
In 2014, I sent Prof. Sarwoko two emails in which I asked him to comment on his involvement in the above-mentioned predatory journals. As expected, he chose not to reply.
Honolulu, 18 April 2016