The predatory conferences organised by the team around Ashutosh Tiwari, fake professor of Linköping University (LiU) in Sweden, became now a comparatively modest affair, after my reporting set several misconduct investigations at LiU in motion and even alerted Swedish and international media. Tiwari stopped pretending being a LiU professor and even ceased signing his conference invitations. Internet announcements for his conference scams became rather minimalistic, while conference programmes or lists of speakers are not released to participants and are apparently arranged on the spot.

Since my last reporting on the Tiwari case, several things happened. Tiwari’s patron, LiU professor Anthony “Tony” Turner retired from this faculty position, his former division at LiU’s Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology (IFM) is has a new head. Turner now works with a biotech start-up Innovosens, in Malmö, Sweden, and remains Editor-in-Chief of his Elsevier journal, Biosensors and Bioelectronics. And it was in this journal that his former protégé Tiwari suffered two retractions, from a 2017 journal issue which he himself edited, no less. Even Turner’s boasting of full support by Elsevier against troll accusations didn’t protect Tiwari. All thanks to his data-faking friend from Allahabad, Prashant Sharma, whose seven papers were now mass-retracted just from Biosensors and Bioelectronics alone, following the guest post on my site by Smut Clyde.

LiU issued two press releases (here and here) to announce investigations and that Tiwari was never their professor, yet the university proved unable to dissociate itself from Tiwari’s predatory conferences as of yet. Mikael Syväjärvi, Tiwari’s probably closest business associate, was permitted to continue run their predatory conference and publishing business while officially at his work place as LiU employee. At least Syväjärvi doesn’t present himself as professor anymore, as he occasionally used to.

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Apparently, in 2017 Syväjärvi used to be a (LiU) professor, just like Tiwari. The university was totally unaware. From Syväjärvi’s public Facebook profile.

Two conferences organised by Tiwari’s phony International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM, which basically consists of him and his wife in a small rented office in Linköping) took place in 2018. One, the Advanced Materials World Congress, on February 4th-8th 2018 on a cruise ship from Singapore, where Syväjärvi himself documented his participation on Facebook.

screenshot-www.facebook.com-2018-02-07-10-23-27

The other event was the European Advanced Energy Materials Congress, on a Baltic cruise ship from Stockholm on March 24th-28th 2018, where a participant wrote to me that Syväjärvi was indeed there, photographing most of the time. According to this witness, the IFM scientist “seemed a main administrative responsible guy there“, also a former PhD student of Turner’s, Prashant Mishra was “very active in the administration and organisation of the conference“.

Tiwari and Syväjärvi still organise their conferences, as per established protocol, together with the third man of their scamming triumvirate, the IAAM president Hisatoshi Kobayashi, employed as group leader at the National Institute for Material Science in Tsukuba, Japan. Now that Tiwari’s name and his fake professorship became somewhat tainted, and Turner is definitely not available anymore, Professor Kobayashi stepped in as official organiser of the March 2018 boating scam.

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Scam entrepreneurs Tiwari, Kobayashi and Syväjärvi in front of the non-photoshopped version of “VBRI” in Allahabad, India. From Syväjärvi’s public Facebook profile.

Tiwari’s success secret is playing at academics’ vanity. All he had to do to get their (well, public) money was to promise them a medal or an award of his phony IAAM, and they flocked to pick it up. Their universities readily paid rip-off fees for accommodation and registration into Tiwari & Co pockets, some even proudly posted the news of their scientists being awarded with useless junk which Tiwari invented. Because, a shiny thingy awarded with some wah-wah in Stockholm by a fake professor pretending to be a President of a fake institute and a fake international association, sounds almost as if it was a Nobel Prize. Just last year, it was one of main Italian daily newspapers, La Repubblica, which breathlessly wrote in August 2017 about ERC-grant winning “Italian magician of new materials”:

“He is 46 years old and works for eight years at the Italian Institute of Technology. Liberato Manna wins the EAM Award, a prestigious award given by the International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM) to the most influential European researcher in the field of new materials. The prize will be awarded on August 22 in Stockholm (Sweden) by an international jury on the basis of publications and research grant data from over the past ten years”.

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Manna receives a worthless “award”, from predatory conference scammers Tiwari, Kobayashi and Zhong-Lin Wang (EiC of Elsevier’s Nano Energy and professor at Georgia Tech, USA). From IIT Facebook profile

Back then, one could still pretend (based on the rigged participants and organisers lists) that Tiwari’s scam conferences were serious scientific events. But for the last two cruise ship events, no organising committees were named  or programme made available in advance, in the worst predatory scamster tradition. Scientists had no more excuse to play being fooled: they simply went because they were promised a shiny medal. One PhD student followed the medal call to the Singapore cruise in February 2018, enthusiastically supported by his professor, a dean at a German university. Both soon apologetically withdraw their staunch support of Tiwari’s award-giving activities after their university’s Ombudsman educated them what a predatory conference is.

screenshot-www.facebook.com-2018-02-10-19-53-02
On the cruise ship off Singapore, Tiwari, a lucky winner, Kobayashi. How many people were present?

Not all academic institutions figured it out yet. Universidade NOVA de Lisboa in Portugal celebrated their award-winning postdoc in a news statement, while Universita degli Studi di Messina had their chemistry professor Candida Milone to show for.

Screenshot-2018-4-20 Premio “IAAM Medal 2018” alla prof ssa Candida Milone Universita' degli Studi di Messina
Candida Milone, professor of materials chemistry, was “General Chair” at March 2018 scam event and received a shiny medal, which her University of Messina, Italy, now celebrates.

LiU work ethics

I previously experienced that LiU is very concerned about how their scientists behave in public. LiU scientist Jaywant Phopase (incidentally, originally from the same IFM department Syväjärvi works in and Tiwari used to) sent me his open letter to be published on my site,. In this letter Phopase expressed his concerns of having his research results stolen and misinterpreted by former LiU professor May Griffith who left for Canada after being found guilty of research misconduct. What LiU then did, via their HR Director Pia Rundgren, was to pressure Phopase to make sure I remove his institutional affiliation which I myself added after his name. Basically, LiU made Phopase responsible for what I write on my site, instead of helping him defend his and in fact LiU’s intellectual property from being stolen by a dishonest former LiU professor. Eventually, the affiliation conflict was resolved by my added disclaimer that Phopase’s open letter “does not necessarily represent the official view of LiU“. This Swedish university apparently doesn’t condone their scientists protesting in public about data theft and patient abuse, at least not under their work affiliation.

What LiU apparently did not mind at all, was Syväjärvi flying to Singapore in February 2018 and organising Tiwari’s scam conference on a cruise ship for the purpose of personal enrichment, using his LiU affiliation. I asked IFM dean Ulf Nilsson if Syväjärvi at least had to take a vacation and travel privately. This was what Nilsson told me:

The department hasn’t found any documentation on this, which suggests that he has not been there on vacation. Nor is he on sick leave. There might be a verbal approval from his superior to travel but there seems to be no written travel order”.

Nilsson then clarified:

“His superior is Örjan Danielsson (head of division) and Mattias Severin (head of department).

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Invitation to February 2018 cruise ship conference in Singapore. Note that Syväjärvi uses institutional affiliation of “Linköping University, Sweden”. Source: PKL Energy Foundation public Facebook profile

Basically, LiU did not prevent Syväjärvi to go operate his shady business on the Southeast-Asian seas while he was officially at his faculty workdesk in Linköping, emplyoed by the Swedish tax payer. Syväjärvi apparently then pulled off exactly same leave of absence trick for the cruise ship conference in the Baltic sea, in March 2018. His superiors were OK with it, apparently also the university.

Requesting a university employee to actually appear at work instead of boarding some cruise ship to scam some gullible or vain scientists was apparently out of the question. Coercion and threat of disciplinary consequences is something LiU apparently only deploys when its scientists denounce misconduct in public. Both LiU press and legal offices refused to comment on their permissive attitude towards Syväjärvi’s side activities. LiU Deputy Registrar Ann Holmlid wrote me in this regard:

“[the issue] is covered by on-going investigations. At this moment LiU is not in a position to comment or discuss these investigations.”

Since April 1st, Syväjärvi is only partially employed at LiU, as he announced on LinkedIn. LiU registrar Livia Piniesjö confirmed to me:

“Mikael Syväjärvi is employed at Linköping University and the reason for his current leave of absence is working 40% as a material expert at Innovative Materials Arena in Linköping which is supported by the EU and Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth”.

Next event: August 2018

Thus, it will still be the Swedish or even EU taxpayer whose salary Syväjärvi will receive while organising and attending his next predatory conference with Tiwari. Here is an announcement which was forwarded to me:

Dear Dr. XXXXX,

We are delighted to invite you to join as a “Committee Member” and deliver “INVITED TALK” in the European Advanced Materials Congress 2018, Sweden (EAMC 2018, www.iaamevents.org/eamc18) during 20 – 23 August 2018, Sweden and solicit your advice, recommendations and supports for the grand success of this congress. Please send us your consent by 28 February 2018 using the YES or NO options:

YES – I would like to join as a Committee Member and deliver a INVITED TALK in the European Advanced Materials Congress 2018, Sweden

NO – I am unable to join as a Committee Member and deliver a INVITED TALK in the European Advanced Materials Congress 2018, Sweden

The Committee Member will get complementary membership of IAAM for 5 years. Please read benefits and other info, CLICK HERE (www.iaamonline.org/page/membership)

Please note that it is purely academic contribution and organisers will not pay any honorarium for this service and you will responsible for the payment of your own registration fees, accommodation and travel etc. However, you can avail IAAM supports a maximum 50% reduction in your registration fee for “Committee Member and INVITED SPEAKER”.

The conference will be host on the Conference Centre, M/S Mariella, Viking Line Cruise ship cruising from Stockholm (Sweden) – Helsinki (Finland) – Stockholm (Sweden) during 20 – 23 August 2018, Sweden. The conference will bring an amazing experience of cruise hospitality and visit two capital cities of Scandinavia, with allusion of the beautiful views of Stockholm archipelago (sailing through nearly 30,000 islands) in the autumn.

The Role of the Committee of Scientific Advisors:
To advise the conference organising committee on scientific matters including suggesting topics for sub/sessions, recommend speakers, etc.
To encourage student, researchers, colleagues and collaborators to participate in the conference.
To track developments of conference activities.
To assist to make grand success of conference, as appropriate, through public speaking, professional work, and outreach to contact networks.

For more details, please visit our website, www.iaamevents.org/eamc18

We look forward to hearing from you and it will certainly be our pleasure and honor to welcome you in Sweden.

With Best Regards
Conference Coordinator
European Advanced Materials Congress 2018, Sweden
www.iaamevents.org/eamc18

If you no longer want to receive email alerts, click here to UNSUBSCRIBE or send an email to unsubscribe@vbripress.com

eamcflyer

Update 1.05.2018. Seems KObayash is in a bit of a pickle with his employer now. Kazuhiro Hono, Executive Vice President of National Institute for Materials Science in Tsukuba, wrote me this:

“Thank you very much for sending us your recent blog article on predatory
conferences organized by Ashutosh Tiwari. We regret to hear that one of
NIMS staff members, Hisatoshi Kobayashi, was involved in the organization
of the fake conferences. We decided to investigate this case carefully and
will get back to you in a week.

In the mean time, as executive vice president of NIMS, I ordered Hisatoshi
Kobayashi to resign from the president of IAAM immediately and not to be
involved in this community in the future”.

 


 

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16 thoughts on “Linköping University and Tiwari’s predatory conferences

  1. Sir,
    Your articles exposing Dr. Tiwari and Dr. Sharma (ISM Dhanbad) are very insightful. I was particularly amused by the case of Dr. Sharma since he started his PhD under Dr. A C Pandey when I was also working at same place towards my PhD. Due to this negative attitude towards science, I decided to leave the place and leave 3 years worth of PhD work (2004-2007). I finally moved to KTH Sweden and did a fresh PhD there (2007-2012). It seems that finally Dr. Sharma was caught in the same web he started cobbling during initial PhD says which brought him good will of boss since he was “resourceful”. Anyway, I hope more such people are labelled to deter next generation following them especially because the ease with which they got jobs due to “managed” events including interview makes them idols for juniors.
    Regards
    Sandeep

    Like

    1. Avinash C. Pandey is not unknown at PubPeer, where scientific contributions have been questioned, some of them collaborations with Dr Sharma, but others without his involvement.
      https://pubpeer.com/search?q=%22avinash+c.+pandey%22

      Here, for instance, is a collaboration between A. C. Pandey and Ashutosh Tiwari, using recycled / plagiarised images, as well as extensive text plagiarism: https://pubpeer.com/publications/7ACFF5061334ABCF8BA93F4DA481B5

      Now it may be that Professor Pandey has terrible taste when choosing his collaborators. But there are a host of other entries in PubPeer without Tiwari or Sharma. It is almost as if the teacher / student relationship worked in the opposite direction, and Pandey learned from Sharma… including the lesson that you can recycle images or make them up in photoshop, and hand-drawn spectra and diffraction patterns, and the editors of nanotech journals won’t care.

      Like

      1. Nanotechnology application centre (earlier Nanophosphor application centre) was the hotbed of Dr. Pandey and his team of students to manufacture such managed research. I was the first one to make ZnS nanoparticles here and within 3 months others published journal articles for simply doing an XRD scan for the sample. I was the naive one to give them the recipes. When Dr. Pandey (in-charge of NAC) did not objected to my complain, I could see the game plan and shifted my work efforts away from NAC. All these years the centre has churned out numerous fakers in good numbers because students who obliged could get “managed” positions. How can a person have more than 100 research articles in a lifetime if one does not manage to “include” one’s name by various means.

        I must also add that these people aren’t the only one doing such things. Indian higher education is plagued by sycophants who “manage” their way up and this has become the de-facto norm for younger generation. For this reason India is hardly producing any original research. The “decent” researchers are sidelined and they could bloom only in foreign countries. This is the reason that a country of over billion english speaking educated people is producing mediocre quality researchers who engage in such activities. We have made a society who promote and glorify mediocrity. We need a big shakeup from grounds up to remove such black sheeps in mass numbers who is close to impossible !

        Like

    2. Nice Sandeep, expose these idiots. These kind of guys give a bad reputation to many hard-working and sincere researchers in India and coming out of India.

      Like

  2. One more happy owner of IAAM Award for 2018, also Editor for some Elsevier journal
    https://www.journals.elsevier.com/nano-structures-and-nano-objects/editorial-board/professor-xiao-yu-yang

    The problem here is produced not only by scientists happy to receive awards from anyone who gives them. Some research funding agencies use awards as evaluation parameter for projects and proposals. What is reported in some cases is “number of awards.”. Any award counts. Tiwari distributed hundreds of awards and these certainly were counted as performance indicators in project reports and included into CV’s in job applications. As I heard recently, having any award could help to young researcher to get work permit.in some countries.

    The CV of this guys shows how yet another funny performance parameter is evolving:
    “Cover paper”, “Inside-cover paper”, “Back-cover paper”

    The guy like Tiwari must understand the value of “Cover” and design new journal which consists only of covers. I can suggest more names: “supercover”, “Cover of covers” “Cover of the issue” “Cover of inside chapter 1,2,3…101”., the list can be continued….

    Like

  3. Just checking about the photo you have put on as ‘ in front of the non-photoshopped version of “VBRI” in Allahabad, India’. The name is written in Hindi says it is a law university. Certainly not a science university. And the name too is not ‘Vinoba Bhave’, the ‘VB’ of VBRI. It is ‘Ganesh Prasad’ written in Hindi. Can you please check ?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So Tiwari is not associated with the A.N. Tiwari suite of fine law and industrial trades colleges?
    The one shown in the photo is associated with Allahabad State University, not to be confused with the sad outfit that gave this joker his doctorate (University of Allahabad – don’t Google it, since their home page is an attack site). One has to grudgingly admit that he has gamed the CV-pumping scam to perfection.

    Like

  5. Predatory Journals are proliferating like Cancer. It is time to expose the people like Ashutosh Tiwari and their scams. Institutions such as LIU are doing nothing to prevent these scammers. I am suspicious of scientists publishing more than 5-10 papers a year. There is usually scientific misconduct, abuse of subordinates and sexual harrassment. Look at all these sex predatory cases- Arnold Levine (Rockefeller), Michael Katze (University of Washington), Inder Verma (Salk) , scientists at Caltech, Columbia etc. Predatory Journals and predatory PI or Bosses often go together.

    Like

  6. Interesting update. It look like IAAM is going to loose its president soon. I wonder what Kobayashi will do if Tiwari will not remove his name from the web pages of IAAM? It would be quite ironical if the former president of IAAM would need to fight misconduct from the “association” founder.

    Like

  7. One of your posts even shows Ashutosh Sharma in one of the “CON”-ference, who by the way is the secretary of Department of Science and Technology (DST), one of the major funding body in India. This dude knows the game for sure, duped Liberato Manna, Wang, Liz-Marzan, Martensson…damn boy!!!

    Like

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