Academic Publishing University Affairs

Ariel Rector Zinigrad and his elusive qualifications

Ariel University is a settlers' university, located outside of legal Israel borders. What Ariel lacks in academic performance or even official recognition, it makes up in support from right-wing politicians. This post addresses the scientific qualifications of Ariel's rector Michael Zinigrad. Or the pretence thereof.

Israel is tiny country, but definitely a scientific superpower with high education standards. Even the Weizmann Institute I wrote about several times before, has despite all the fraudulent data fakery going on there many decent and honest scientists without whom Weizmann would never have its elite status. But the following story is about the back end of Israeli research and education excellence: the Ariel University, which is located de facto not even in Israel, but in the occupied territories, and is described as “Settlers’ university”.

Excluded from EU Horizon’s funding and its PhD degrees subject to external vetting even in Israel, Ariel University cannot care less about delivering any real academic performance. It is all just pretence and show, to make the settlers and ultra-right politicians feel big. Which might explain why Ariel has such a peculiar rector. Michael Zinigrad, claims to have an impressive list of serious papers and a long list of PhD students he supervised. Only that he can’t really prove that. Maybe in the end it doesn’t matter: to run an academically irrelevant higher education institution in occupied territories, one rather needs political friendships than scientific qualifications.

The so-called Ariel University Center of Samaria was accredited by the Israel Council of Higher Education and given recognition as the 9th research university in Israel in 2012. The Israeli academic community struggling for the scarce public funding are not huge fans of Ariel. In all parameters of academic performance like publication output, citations and scientists’ awards, Ariel lags way behind other Israeli universities.

The lagging starts with Ariel’s own leadership. The Chancellor is a certain Yigal Cohen-Orgad who has no advanced degree but is a senior member of the Likud Party and a former Minister of Finance, where he proved his qualifications by presiding in 1983 over a hyper-inflation in Israel. As one of the “founding fathers” of Ariel he was recognized by the Moskowitz Prize as a “Lion of Zion”.

Cohen-Orgad was criticised for leading the university just as he used to run the Israeli economy, which led to the hyper-inflation: fill the university with as many students and faculty as possible, keep opening new departments, and never mind the quality or qualifications. It is the big numbers which count. Of course a politician, even if he is a Lion of Zion, needs an academic to run a university, to give a pretence of credibility. This character was found with Professor Michael Zinigrad, a former Soviet metallurgy researcher of Ural State Technical University, who emigrated to Israel in 1992. His present interests are now in material sciences and nanotechnology, which he publishes in some rather questionable journals. If he does publish, instead of cloning some publication to pad up his CV. My readers will now understand my curiosity in the subject.

Zinigrad was born in 1945, to parents from Ukraine escaping Nazi Holocaust in the Altai area of Russia. He received a PhD in metallurgy in 1972 and made an academic career in the Ural State Technical University in the Soviet Union. When the Soviet empire collapsed, Zinigrad moved to Israel and immediately joined the Ariel faculty as full professor in 1993. Until 2008 he served as Dean of Natural Science faculty and in 2008, he became the academic head and rector of Ariel.

Man of the Year

Zinigrad may have emigrated, but he maintains a very active connection to Russia, a country which he left long ago. In 2017, he submitted his candidacy for the Man of The Year in a public poll of the Russian TV. On the website of Channel 9 , which is broadcast by Russia to a large Israeli audience of Soviet immigrants, Zinigrad presented himself as a “Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences”.


What followed was that the Russian-speaking academics in Israel and Russia distributed an anonymous letter exposing the dishonest CV of this candidate for the Man of the Year Award. Help arrived quickly: a certain Albert Pinhasov, Ariel’s Vice-President for research and development and Soviet emigree just like Zinigrad, defended his rector by distributing a short letter extolling Zinigrad’s scientific achievements. It was signed by all the faculty deans of Ariel. And still, Zinigrad was not elected as Russia’s Man of the Year in Israel, but rumours go that Pinhasov is to be rewarded for his constant loyalty with the succession to rectorate once the now 73-year old Zinigrad retires.

There are two versions of Zinigrad’s full CV available, both from Ariel website. A 2016 one, and one from 2010 which was meanwhile removed, but there is a cached backup. The official website at Ariel (backup here) speaks of

“2 monographs, over 200 scientific articles, 6 patents, 22 textbooks, over 80 presentations in international scientific conferences.”

Trans Tech from a Zurich flat

The “Selected References” list consists of 23 articles. This is where scientists usually put their best-of. What did Zinigrad list there then? Mostly papers with the publisher Trans Tech Publications/ SciPress/ which is located in a flat at Reinhardstrasse 18 in Zürich, Switzerland. The (main) owners are Christian Wöhlbier and his sister Anne [relationship corrected following Wöhlbier’s comment], there is a long list of interesting internet domains all registered to Wöhlbier, while his publishing business’ only cost-consuming bit, the IT, is likely outsourced to competitively-priced Ukraine, via the Wöhlbier-owned company GConnect. Since the house in Reinhardstrasse is newly built (after 2014), and other Wöhlbier publishing businesses are still registered at yet another apartment house in Switzerland, at Seestrasse 24c, Bach, one can assume that Wöhlbiers’ scholarly publishing business is doing well. All thanks to academic elites like Zinigrad who publish with Trans Tech, and you are a slanderous envious fool if you have any other but the highest opinion of this Swiss scholarly publisher which operates alternatively from Mr Wöhlbier’s kitchen, bedroom or, when urgent, from his toilet.

And as for professor Zinigrad’s other publishing achievement, those are even more slippery.

Elusive Text Books

The publications summary section of Zinigrad’s CV notes that he published “22 textbooks”. Not all of them are actual books, but are rather brochures: 14 of the text-books listed have between 12 to 36 pages. In any case, they cannot be found online. Maybe Zinigrads owns the only copy. Two more of those text books turn out to be actually “Chapters”, and also these cannot be found.

Only one of the books in the list is associated with a named publisher: Springer (or as Zinigrad prefers it, Shpringer), this book from 2012 does actually exist, and described on the publisher’s site as authored by “Boronenkov, V., Zinigrad, M., Leontiev, L., Pastukhov, E., Shalimov, M., Shanchurov, S.” In his CV however, Zinigrad listed himself as the first author, and his colleague Vladislav Boronenkov of Ural Federal University was delegated to third position.

Zinigrad apparently started this practice of post-publication author reordering already early in his career. In the first two papers listed in the “Articles” section of his CV, Zinigrad has placed his name as the first author. But, in the Web of Science records these two articles list Zinigrad as the third author. No, it is not a Soviet academic peculiarity where a third author is equivalent to Western first.


Unfortunately, it is all but clear how this pattern of author name shuffling continued, because the “scientific articles” numbered 3 to 5, and a number of others are not listed either in Web of Science or Scopus databases.

How many papers?

Zinigrad’s CV states that he has over 200 scientific articles and over 80 conference presentations. Thing is, not all of them are available on Web of Science. Granted, it may be due to a number of Soviet scientific records being lost to posterity, but then again, maybe some of those items from Zinigrad’s CV might have not been published in proper scientific journals, and this is why they never made it in either Web of Science or Scopus.


Web Of Science results for Zinigrad, 1969-1976.

What Web of Science delivers for Zinigrad for the years 1950-2018 (from “All Databases” , and not just the “Core Collection”) is not “over 200” but merely 69 documents, and even of those are only 57 scientific articles, the rest being conference presentations (17) and other publications (3). A search of the competitor database provider Scopus provides 63 documents. Where is the rest? Left behind in Sverdlovsk, maybe?

Zinigrad’s Google Scholar profile is not much of a help either. Only 72 items there are marked as “Journal articles”. But even this number seems to be exaggerated because the list of publications includes many duplicate items – up to at least five times per a single article!

How does one find these duplications? One could import Professor Zinigrad’s Google Scholar Profile into an Excel sheet like this one using Publish or Perish software by Harzing. By sorting the columns one can then find the duplicates. For example:

The above mentioned book from 2011 with the title of “Phase Interaction in the Metal-Oxide Melts-Gas System: The Modelling of Structure, Properties and Processes” appears twice. Its second copy has a different title: instead of “Systems”, the singular “System”, and the authors list is shuffled, so Zinigrad gets to be the first author in the extra version.

A common strategy of duplication is the listing same paper as two separate ones using both the English and the Russian name of the journal. Here some examples:

  • The article entitled “Reaction Kinetics of Multicomponent Metal With Slag Under a Diffusion Regime” published in 1979 in “Russ. Metall“, re-appears as “Kinetics of the interaction of multicomponent metal with slag under diffusion conditions” under the full Soviet journal name in “Izvestiya Ac. Nauk USSR. Metal“, de-abbreviated and translated: Proceedings of USSR Academy of Sciences, Metallurgy. Web of Science confirms that the article indeed exists only once, in journal now renamed “Russian Metallurgy” and published in English by Springer.
  • An extreme case is an article listed at least five times. In Web of Science this publication has the title “Synthesis of bulk nanostructured manganites LaMnO3+delta by quasi-static and dynamic deformation methods” and was published in Doklady Chemistry 405: 247-250 in 2005. But in Zinigrad’s Google Scholar profile this article is listed FIVE times. Here is the breakdown: 2 times with tits translated English title and journal name, 2 times with its original Russian title and journal name “Academy of Sciences Reports”, the difference between each duplicate being the Greek letter “δ” spelled out as “delta”. The fifth duplication of this article is more interesting. Instead of the article title, the fifth copy lists the names of the final authors who got abbreviated in the other four versions. The paper in “Dokl. Chem.” is titled “SV Naumov, SA Petrova, VP Pilyugin, A. Ya. Fishman, and NM Chebotaev”.
  • In 2007, Zinigrad published an editorial titled “Mathematical modeling of physicochemical processes – Foreword” in the Israel Journal of Chemistry 47:I. This editorial appears twice in his profile, the second time with the alternative title of “Foreword by the guest editor: Mathematical Modeling of Physicochemical Processes”.
  • In another case, same article “Effect of Surface Concentration of Oxygen in Me–S Melts on the Kinetics of Its Transfer Through the Interphase Sulphide–Oxide Melt Boundary” in Zhurnal Fizicheskoi Khimii (Journal of Physical Chemistry) appears twice. The main difference: one version is all written out in caps. Some works of science must be shouted out, in addition to being spoken.
  • A conference proceedings paper published in 2003 is entitled “New approach to welding materials design”. A second copy is nearly identical, except of being spelled in caps also. It bears no journal name and no year of publication though.
  • Another conference proceedings paper from 2004 is entitled “Mathematical representation of a modified structural Schaeffler diagram”. A copy, also from 2004 goes as “The mathematical concept of the modified Scheffler structural diagram”. The journal name is same, but transcribed differently, just like poor diagram inventor Anton Schaeffler. Both articles have same authors and the same page numbers (114-119). There is also a Russian-spleed version form the same year. Even earlier versions from different conferences seem to exist: from 2002: “Mathematical representaiton (sic!) of a modified Schaeffler diagram” and from 2000 “Predicting weld structure using modified Schaeffler constitution diagram”.

The lack of journal name and year of publication is a common problem in Zinigrad’s Google Scholar Profile, by last count it affects 23 such publications in his list of publications. One paper is titled “Ariel University Center of Samaria”.

The main lesson here is probably not to take anyone’s Google Scholar profile at face value. People can do funny things there, just to impress colleagues and themselves.

A journal named Sverdlovsk

Seven of Zinigrad’s articles have been published in a journal he decided to call “Sverdlovsk”. There is no such journal, Sverdlovsk is a place, or rather used to be, in the Soviet Union where cities were renamed after high Communist Party cadres. This city in the Ural region is now back to its original name Yekaterinburg (there is also another, smaller Sverdlovsk in Ukraine, now renamed Dovzhansk while occupied by pro-Russian separatists who probably prefer the USSR version). Why did Zinigrad invent a publisher named Sverdlovsk then? Was he presenting there at some Ural metallurgy conference? But then why is this not in the more appropriate section for “Conference Proceedings” at his CV?

Indeed, Zinigrad likes to parade conference proceedings as peer-reviewed publications. For example, the items in his CV section “Articles”, numbered 102 through 106, were presented at the “Fifth Bi-National Israeli – Russian Workshop” held in Novosibirsk, Russia in 2006. And the items numbered 117 and 118 were presented at the “Sixth Bi-National Israeli – Russian Workshop” held in Jerusalem the next year, in 2007. Both events were basically meetings of Zinigrad with his mates from Ural, and sponsored by the Ural Institute of Metallurgy and the College of Judea and Samaria (that is what Ariel University used to be). If anyone peer reviewed those submissions, it was Zinigrad himself.

His “Conference Proceedings” section includes four articles presented at the “Second International Conference on Mathematical Modeling and Computer Simulation of Metal Technologies” held in 2004, and six articles (numbered 52-56) presented at the “Fourth International Conference on Mathematical Modeling and Computer Simulation of Metal Technologies”. Both were held in Ariel University. Apparently Zinigrad’s research is so exciting, only an audience he himself hand-picks is qualified to see it.

Booming citations

Zinigrad left the collapsed USSR and emigrated to Israel in 1992. He joined Ariel and the western scholarly community right away. Yet not many people cited this eminent Israeli metallurgy researcher until he was appointed Ariel rector in 2008, with an h-index of 2. As soon as Zinigrad became rector, at the age of 63, his citations skyrocketed. The issue apparently became a subject of moderation at Zinigrad’s Wikipedia page, soon after a Google Scholar profile was set up to prove Zinigrad’s scholarly excellence. But just look at this beauty, from Web of Science:


What on Earth did Zinigrad discover at such an advanced age to become suddenly so well-cited by his peers? Gives the Beatle’s song “When I’m sixty-four” a new meaning.

Now, at the age of 73, Zinigrad the Scientist keeps growing. His Google Scholar citation index increased from 74 in 2017 to 124 in 2018.

Preprint artist

In 2018, Zinigrad published 4 preprints on the arXiv preprint archive. A laudable deed, so good to see someone from his generation embracing the preprint revolution? Preprints are recorded by Google Scholar, rightly so. And it seems, Zinigrad has abused the preprint concept to please his vanity.

One of his this year’s preprints includes 31 self-citations, a second one 11 self-citations, and the other two contain 4 self-citations each. The self-citations in these four arxiv preprints add up to exactly 50 citations by which his Google Scholar Citation index grew between 2017 and 2018.

The preprint platform Arxiv is almost 30 years old. If only someone told Zinigrad about preprinting back when he became rector and sat on a long list of papers nobody ever cited even once. What a citation index he might have had by now!

Lost academic children

Zinigrad is not just a prolific producer of real or less real research publications, he also boast on his 2016 CV the “Scientific supervision: 16 Ph.D Students, 37 Master Students and 5 Post Doctorants.” . These academic children of Zinigrad’s are not named. It would have helped, especially since an earlier version from 2010 of his CV used to list 18 PhD students. A normal professor would have gained PhD students in the 6 years that passed since, but Zinigrad lost two.

The gamble for Medical Faculty

Ariel University is set to grow. It has an ingenious idea of how to solve the shortage of medical doctors in Israel: to use Ariel’s and Zinigrad’s unconventional understanding of scientific credentials and qualifications to mass-train clinicians, in a new medical faculty. The people behind it are the Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson (who payrolls the medical faculty plan with a $25mn pledge) and the ultra-right-wing education minister Naftali Bennet (who wants to help those settlers rejected at proper Israeli universities to their own medical school). The issue is these days very big in Israeli media, maybe because not everybody wants to be treated by doctors trained in what many perceive is not a real university. Israeli academic and medical elites run a protest storm, which Bennet decries as a conspiracy against poor oppressed settlers. This is how Haaretz described the contented issue:

“Approval for the medical school in Ariel was criticized by many Israeli academics, who claimed it was rammed through at the insistence of Bennett, the head of the pro-settlement Habayit Hayehudi party, in violation of the usual academic standards.

Bennett rejected this criticism, even after the council of university heads sent a highly critical letter on the subject warning that it would result in a “loss of trust.”

Bennett responded at the time that the country’s other universities were behaving like a “cartel,” “.

Corruptions accusations and nepotism evidence abound. Rivka Wadmany Shauman, recently installed by Bennet as member of the Budget Committee at the country’s 25 member strong Council for Higher Education (CHE), voted in favour of creating a medical faculty at Ariel, after she secretly met with Ariel officials and was offered a position of professor there. A professor at that same Ariel’s medical faculty, mind you, even though this scholar of languages and education has no medical qualifications whatsoever.

Because Ariel is legally outside Israel’s borders, a special CHE was once in place to manage and endorse the academic activities in the so-called Judea and Samaria. There are several members from that old settler-friendly CHE now sitting in the current CHE, thanks to the minister Bennet: Leah Boehm , historian Ofir Haivri , Weizmann professor Eli Pollak and Bar-Ilan University professor Haim Teitelbaum . More CHE members have other connections to Ariel: Rivka Gilat is professor at Ariel, while the Tel Aviv University professor Ilana Gozes is the former PhD advisor of Zinigrad’s groomed successor for Ariel rectorship, Albert Pinhasov (mentioned above).

In Israel, higher education is a political game. And the Ariel rector Zinigrad is sure an expert there, whatever you may think of his scientific qualifications.

Update 7.06.2019.

Professor Zinigrad’s English-language Wikipedia page has been deleted just recently, the last cached version is from 29.05.2019, where the removal is announced. The Russian version is still pristine, but the Hebrew Wikipedia article about Michael Zinigrad contains this interesting text, translated:

Following the exposure of fake CV on a site about Zinigrad [ Https:// ] major changes were introduced at the Wikipedia page. Following these changes the English page on Zinigrad’s name was deleted by a team of Wikipedia’s senior editors. The editorial team explained their decision that Michael Zinigrad did not meet any of the conditions necessary to gain a personal page on Wikipedia in English. In addition, the team also noted that in their opinion there was a risk to use the Wikipedia page to build his profile which is not worthy in terms of academic status”


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57 comments on “Ariel Rector Zinigrad and his elusive qualifications

  1. Pingback: Casinò - Ocasapiens - Blog -

  2. There´s a mistake in the post His Google Scholar citation index is 14


  3. Christian Wöhlbier

    Dear Mr Schneider

    One of my ukrainian colleague forwarded me the link to this article. I found it interesting, many things about me is good researched, some parts are incorrect, but I ask you only for one little favor to remove the part where you write that Anne is my wife (we are both shareholders, but also not the only ones is correct), she is my older sister.
    If you are interested in more, feel free to contact me.
    Wish you happy holidays und erfolgreiches neues Jahr, Christian Wöhlbier


    • Many thanks Mr Wöhlbier, I corrected the misunderstood relationship. I presume the remaining description is technically correct?
      Otherwise, would you be interested to tell my readers what in your view were the decisive arguments for eminent researcher like Prof Zinigrad to choose your Trans Tech/ SciPress / over more traditional peer reviewed journals in his area?
      Also, what is the current publication pricing scheme in your journals where Prof Zinigrad published?


      • Christian Wöhlbier

        I think some parts could be misunderstood, eg I don’t own this appartment/office houses (eg Reinhardstrasse 18, first level is rented office by, above appartments), I own one 4.5 rooms appartment where my two children and I live in Giessereistrasse 12, 8005 Zürich and one appartment in Dnipro, Ukraine. In Dnipro GConnect owns an office building where most of our scientists, developers, etc work. But I think for you could be of more interest the scientific background, where I like to introduce Ekaterina Antonova, our team lead ‘science’. She will get in contact with you to clarify all publishing questions, beginning 2019.


      • Dear Mr Wöhlbier,
        of course you are welcome to clarify who owns and lives in those two flats where your scholarly publishing offices are registered at.
        You indicate the real offices are in Ukraine, at GConnect. This is also what the website says:
        Scientific.Net, one of the largest scientific platforms in the area of material research, goes online with all its data. To date GConnect is the service provider for Scientific.Net. The services include software development, web design and different office work, from proof reading to scientific reviews.”
        It is still not clear from that site however who the actual editorial office experts are. I am looking forward to hear from Ms Antonova, your “Outsourcing Department Team Lead”. Again, the website does not indicate in her case any academic background, in the area of material sciences or any other science.


  4. Sylvie Vullioud

    Mr Wöhlbier,

    I would be interested to know also more about your group structure.

    Could you give some information about Scipress activity in Delaware USA?

    And role of GConnect of the Belgian, Malaysian, British and Delaware corporates?

    Scipress and GConnect share same address: 160 GREENTREE DR STE 101, DOVER, Kent, DE. That is corresponding to offshore activity companies.

    Could you explain, if possible, how Delaware corporates es may participate to fiscal optimization?

    Many thanks in advance,

    Sylvie Vullioud


    • Smut Clyde

      The address of OSCF (OffShore Company Formation Group). Among other clients, they provide the semblance of a US base to Hyderabad scammers like SM Group / Austin Publishers.


    • Woehlbier Christian

      I’m living since 50 years in switzerland and active more than 13 years in ukraine, so all necessary jurisdical entities are in this countries. AG is the family holding, All investments are organised from there. SciPress (founded 2014), (Trans Tech Publications, founded 1967 – minority shareholder) are also swiss based companies, one organisational company in Dnipro, below GConnect Switzerland. Mr Schneider made correct research here, incl. the addresses.
      Wish you a great last day in 2018


      • Sylvie Vullioud

        Mr Wöhbier,

        I thank you for your reply.
        According to answer, it seems that Scipress in Delaware is in fact not related to Wöhlbier group.
        And same situation for GConnect in Belgium, Belgian, Malaysia, UKand Delaware corporates, that are mentionned in Open Corporates database.
        Meaning in fact that Sciptress and GConnect share same names of other corporates, that have nothing to do with Wöhlbier branch group activities.
        Did I understand this well?
        In this case, I apologize for my mistake.
        Best regards,

        Sylvie Vullioud


      • Sylvie Vullioud

        Mr Wöhlbier,

        One more question:

        Trans Tech Publications in Switzerland, share the same name with Trans Tech Publications in Delaware according to Opencorportes database,
        at the address 251 LITTLE FALLS DRIVE, WILMINGTON, New Castle, DE, 19808.

        Is there any commercial relation between Trans Tech Publications AG Switzerland, and TTP Trans Tech Publications Inc. Delaware USA?

        Thank you in advance for your reply.

        Best regards,

        Sylvie Vullioud


      • Woehlbier Christian


        Yes, you understood right, we have no connection with them, no cooperation, no businesses, just nothing.
        About this Delaware Company TTP, I don’t know, it looks really very much like a connection: My father was in charge at this time (I joined 2003 the board,, maybe there was an idea to migrate to the USA. Since 2003, I can confirm, there is no connection or buiness or anything with this Delaware-Company.
        My brother, supported by our father, created his own publishing company in 2015: – it has also zero connection with us.

        Best regards, Christian


  5. Sylvie Vullioud

    Mr Wöhlbier,

    It would be very useful to add on EACH Scipress journals home pages, by which high standard specialized bibliographic databases journals are indexed, such as Compendex and Inspec for engineering topic, MathSciNet and/or Zentralball MATH for mathematics, Scifinder for chemistry, Agricola and/or Agricultural & Environmental Science Database for agriculture etc.

    For the moment, ‘bulk’ indexing is displayed on the general page at the bottom at the page

    This is unsufficient for a reader to understand for each journal which one is indexed by which tool. For the moment, there is only display of general tools Google Scholar, Copernicus, ROAD, Google Scholar, JournalTOCs, UlrichsWeb, and WorldCat that only require technical compatibility to be indexed, and not quality criteria.

    The specialized displayed indexing tools are only Inspec and CAS, that select journals on quality critieria.

    Therefore, a complete list of indexation of each Scipress journals would be highly appreciated.

    Sylvie Vullioud


    • None of those “bulk” indexing services mean much, as you already say. Index Copernicus is not much to be proud of and even OMICS journals get into Google Scholar…


  6. Rector Zinigrad has a Platinum Scopus h-index ((h-index/year)x(citations/journal articles)) = (8/42)x(235/52)=0.9


  7. See below the platinum h-index in Scopus database (self-citations excluded) of three Nobel Laureates:
    Tasuku Honjo (Medicine, Nobel 2018)=192
    Paul Romer (Economy, Nobel 2018)=191
    William Nordhaus (Economy, Nobel 2018)=67


  8. Dear Win, have you read the complete editorial ? or just the part that appear in Open Acess ?


  9. You can read the platinum-h index paper on research gate:'Platinum_H'_Refining_the_H-Index_to_More_Realistically_Assess_Career_Trajectory_and_Scientific_Publications

    I don’t see how adding more terms to the h-index helps matters. A better assessment of publication impact is based on relative performance, e.g. how was a paper cited relative to others appearing in the same journal at around the same time? Of course that involves actual statistics, which institutional honchos don’t have much of a taste for.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aharon Friedman

    I find this article extremely slanderous and extremely political in its nature. The article uses general sentences such as: “Ariel University cannot care less about delivering any real academic performance.” How do you know? Did you look at the publications coming out of it? Honestly this is nothing but libel.

    Next, the article goes to defame Mr. Yigal Cohen Orgad, assuming that nobody would bother to check the facts. Mr. Orgad was not the one leading the hyper inflation. He was nominated MoT after the inflation was in full swing when one MoT caused it (Aridor) and another was not able to bring it under control. Mr. Orgad started implementing steps to control the running inflation. His tenure as MoT was very short, and after the election his successor (Peres) continue theses measure to a successful halt of the inflation.

    As for all the defamation of Zinigrad, I cannot really respond. I do not know, but judging by the blatant defamation that led to this part of the article, I find it hard to give it any credence.


    • Prof Friedman, thank you for commenting here.
      First of all, It is not my job to rank Israeli universities. Others did it, and Ariel never makes any lists. It is not included in Times Higher Education ranking, it is not listed here:
      Ariel is one of 9 Israeli universities, yet it ranks Nr 10 (!) here:
      And yes, I looked at the publications by your Rector Zinigrad. I am still waiting for an explanation about the many duplications, what kind of journal “Sverdlovsk” is, and why Trans Tech from inside a Swiss flat is such an elite publisher. Prof Zinigrad never replied to my emails, would you care to address those criticisms?
      Also what function does Zinigrad junior have or has had at Ariel University? What is this “Ariel – University R&D Company Ltd.”? Can you explain why this is not nepotism?—university-r&d-company-ltd._2?trk=ppro_cprof


      • Christian Wöhlbier

        Dear Mr Schneider, why you write we operate from flat? I explained everything. We have more than 40 employees and work very nice offices.
        Best regards, Christian Wöhlbier


      • Dear Mr Wöhlbier,
        there seems to be a misunderstanding. I did mention in my article that your IT is in Ukraine, which you confirmed. You even said one of your IT experts will contact me to explain how your publishing business works.
        But: that your IT infrastructure is operational, with offices and employees in Dnipro, was never an issue.
        I still would like to figure out where your editorial office resides. I hope you understand there is a difference between IT experts and Editorial team.
        I do know where the publisher is registered, the two flats in Zürich and Bach, whatever that means. But where are the editorial offices? The GConnect team lists no editorial office members, just IT personnel. It does not matter if one of them is responsible for “science”, one needs some scientific qualifications like a PhD in relevant subject to be responsible for editorial work.
        Mr Wöhlbier, other Swiss scholarly publishers like Frontiers and even MDPI, have listed editorial offices with named people inside (it is another issue what to make of those), but where are the editorial offices of Trans Tech etc located?
        Also, did Prof Zinigrad pay for publishing with Trans Tech? Are the fees listed somewhere?


      • For Better Science

        Dear Leonid, I am very much enjoying your hobby but maybe, indeed, some more time (research?) should be invested in your endeavors 🙂
        Let me respond maybe just to this comment of yours.
        1. Ranking
        Ariel Univeristy is in the 2018 ARWU ranking ( (801-900 place), you couldd of course Google it instead of writing in never makes any lists, but alas.
        There are indeed only nine universities in in Israel, and the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya mentioned as number 8 in the ranking website you refer to, isn’t a university. But I guess you could Google it and find out yourself…

        Elite Journalism
        I liked your qualification of “elite publishing”, but not sure how this is relevant to the subject of your blog. The “Defect and Diffusion Forum” is a scientific journal (see e.g. here: Without checking your own publishing record I am sure you have published in truly elite and superb journals, but why do you assume a scientific journal has to be “elite” to be included in your CV?
        I understand you are flirting with science yourself, perhaps even employed by a university. Most universities have Research and Development departments (R&D) (Google will readily provide more info). Here is an explanation of what R&D is at Ariel
        “Junior”, according to your link to his linkedin, worked for “Ariel – University R&D Company Ltd” from 2004. Zinigrad at this time was the Dean of the Natural Sciences department. Seems to me then that implying nepotism is a bit dishonest on your behalf, unless of course you think that either relatives must not work in the same institution or that the R&D department is placed under the Dean of natural sciences (but that is not the case).

        These are only some examples and hence, unfortunately, Prof. Friedman’s remarks on your blog being slanderous and politically biased seem pretty fair. I urge you to work more seriously, as I am sure you will achieve better and even more interesting outcomes in the future.

        Best of luck with your future projects, truly.


      • Dear anonymous friend from Ariel,
        first of all for all I know you are the same person as before, now asking another friend to post the comment for you. Any reason why you are so afraid to reveal your name? People might think you are Prof Zinigrad himself, but I heard he doesn’t speak much English.
        Now, I am not sure what your patronizingly passive-aggressive and rather helpless tirade was supposed to mean: that I myself am just as qualified to be Ariel rector, because a strong publication record is not required? Are you offering me Zinigrad’s succession or what?
        Of course you will find some ranking somewhere which might mention Ariel (you actually did not find any), just as Prof Zinigrad found some journals somewhere which took his papers, likely in exchange of an article processing charge, since Mr Wöhlbier prefers not to talk about the costs to publish with his Trans Tech, or where their editorial offices are hiding.
        You just admitted that Trans Tech is indeed the highest journal venue he ever achieved, despite being in the “western” publishing system since 1992. Come on, I did much better, back then as postdoc. But I don’t want the Ariel rector’s job, I am indeed a politically biased leftist.
        What you blather about to justify nepotism is almost funny. Except that it is not. How many members of your family got a job at Ariel? Come on, out with it.
        Last point: you make things up. First, you quote me wrong. I never referred to any “elite publishing”, but instead wrote about Zinigrad’s list of selected publications you referred to: “The “Selected References” list consists of 23 articles. This is where scientists usually put their best-of.”
        Best-of, not “elite”. You explain Trans Tech is indeed the best of. Where do you publish? Ashutosh Tiwari’s VBRI Press? He has some Baltic ferry scamferences for you and Prof Zinigrad to attend, medals included.
        Also: “the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya mentioned as number 8 in the ranking website you refer to, isn’t a university” : this is not true. IDH has been recognized as a private university, see
        Finally: Shanghai Ranking does NOT list Ariel. Other 7 Israeli universities, yes. Not Ariel. Candidacy is when Ariel listed itself, but it is another question if it makes the 2018 ranking.
        You are a grown man and you make stuff up from an anonymous account and scrambled IP address. Sad, isn’t it?


  11. Dear mr. Shneider. First of all I really admire your work – this type of scientific “trolling” is very important for science in general. Your investigations despite being written in “clickbait” manner reveals the sad truth of modern science. That’s why it is very disappointing to read such a silly, poorly-proven, politically-motivated post. Almost every step of your “investigation” is crap. You couldn’t find half of the publications of Zinigrad in Web of Science? The explanation is simple and you as journalist should know it. Most of the Russian journals are not indexed by these services. Not necessarily because they are bad – this is just how it works. You didn’t like the journal “Sverdlovsk”? Of course there is no such a journal – it’s the name of the city where it was published and the journal name is just missing probably by mistake. The whole part about medical faculty is just pure politics and does not reflect anything except for your personal opinion (and I bet you are from the “left wing”). Gozes used to be an advisor of Pinhasov? Is it a violation of some laws? Are all members in other universities are unrelated to each other? Again – nothing else but speculations.
    Moreover, some of the facts that you “uncover” in your investigation could become available to you only if you have an “insider” – someone who knows a lot about internal processes of the university. All these facts are not a “top secret” but could be incorrectly used and manipulated. Which for me means that your investigation is either a “paid journalism” or you became a victim of let’s say internal war between different parties of the university.


    • Dear Israeli commenter,
      Yes, I am from the “left wing”. This said, will you kindly retract your accusation of “paid journalism”?
      Now, could you as Expert for Russia, explain for us why Russian papers need to be listed several times, in English, in Russian, with different spellings, each time as separate publications?
      As for nepotism, I still await for someone to explain the (former) function of Zinigrad Junior at Ariel. Are your kids also in nice jobs at your university, dear Sir?
      Otherwise, whatever happened in Sverdlovsk was NOT a peer reviewed journal. Otherwise I challenge you to name it. I also hope you know the difference between conference abstracts or rather seminar presentations versus peer-reviewed papers.If not, do tell, and I will elaborate.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. A search on Scopus shows that Ariel University now produces around 600 publications referenced on Scopus per year. The journal where the scholars of this university published the most is “Israel Affairs” edited by Taylor & Francis. And the top author is Bormashenko that has 218 Scopus publications and a Scopus h-index=40


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  14. Pyotr Sabashnikov

    The fresh version of CV of Professor Zinigrad already appeared. It seems that three of versions of the CV belong to various guys. The CV still contains the mixture of non-peer-reviewed proceedings and papers. The Google Scholar account was also modified. The majority of papers has zero citations. This is the scandalous story.


  15. Michael Nosonovsky

    Unfortunately, many university administrators, especially in provincial places, do not have a good publication record, because they are administrators and not famous scientists. This happens here in the US all the time (I do not mean top Ivy League universities, but medium rank schools), and I can supply you with many examples. This happens in Russia, in Azerbaijan, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Ukraine. This happens everywhere. Nothing specific to Ariel. And AU is not a “settlers university.” Many faculty come from Tel Aviv area (which is 20 minutes drive), students are all around Israel including many Israeli Arabs who are definitely not “settlers.” AU has reasonably significant scientists (e.g., E. Bormashenko or M. Sherman, and many others) for a university of this rank. By the way, it is also always supported by Nobel laureates Robert Aumann and Dan Shechtman.


    • Ah, but Prof Zinigrad is a very famous and productive scientist, even in his 70ies. How about this 2016-2019 research grant of $1.5 Million for projects which are not metallurgy, but from Roman Abramovich? Can you name other Israeli professors of the same age who get such funding? See how good he is?


      • Michael Nosonovsky

        Leonid, in America we do not discuss people’s age, because age discrimination is prohibited. In Israel most profs. retire at 67, but this is Israel’s internal affairs (which would be considered age discrimination in the US), isn’t it? Abramovich is not a criminal, the money is legal, what’s your problem with it?


      • Michael, you can’t have it both ways. Either Prof Zinigrad is a truly recognised giant of Israeli research in (checks notes) fuel cells and photovoltaics, with a big running lab, which would justify a $1.5mn research grant, or he is just an administrator who doesn’t have much to show scientifically, as you initially explained, and then questions will arise.
        Besides, I would like to be told of at least one other Israeli researcher to receive money from Abramovich. We are talking about Russian foreign policies here, and not research philanthropy, I am afraid.


      • Michael Nosonovsky

        Leonid, you CAN have it both ways. You can be an administrator (a Dean, Rector, Provost, Chancellor) and participate in some projects and co-author papers. In that case your role is not cleaning Petri dishes, your role is to organize the project and bring money… Abramovich (who lives in London and has little to do with Russian politics during recent ~10 years) has acquired the Israeli citizenship recently. Obviously, he is trying to help his new country of citizenship. I think he is building a nano-science center at Tel Aviv university and invested some money in Ariel as well… Your article does not show any evidence of illegal corruption or fraud. And as far as the moral side, it is not worse than what I see in American universities… Furthermore, you indicated that you have certain political reasons to dislike Ariel due to its location at the disputed territories, whose permanent status yet to be settled in the future as a part of a future peace agreement between Israel and Arab countries. Therefore, you are not impartial here.


      • Michael, you talk too much bullshit here, none of it makes sense, for a normal university at least. I will end it before you sing praises for Putin or Trump here and call me out as biased for not liking these either.


      • Michael Nosonovsky

        Leonid, you suggestion that I will praise Putin or Trump is EXTREMELY offensive. I googled “Zinigrad” and found your article yesterday, because I got an invitation to contribute to his 75 anniversary Festschrift, and there are various rumors. I was looking for an impartial opinion and I read everything you said about him with a lot of attention. I think I have came to my conclusions now. Thank you. :).


  16. Leonid, this is incorrect: “On the website of Channel 9 , which is broadcast by Russia to a large Israeli audience of Soviet immigrants”. Channel 9 is an Israeli TV channel, which is broadcast in Israel (in Russian language) and is not broadcast in Russia. I’ll let you know if there are other mistakes in this article.


  17. Ok, I read your entire article about Michael Zinigrad and some others from your blog, and I admit that your are now always objective in your judgement. This article is purely based on internet research as you have never talked to people in Ariel and in particular to Michael himself. You also seem lack understanding of Russian “Aliah” of 90s in Israel. There were many many Soviet scientists who came to Israel at that time and who helped a lot in creating the today’s high-quality science in Israel. I do not know the reasons for your such negativism to Michael, but what you describe is again just shows a complete lack of understanding the situation in Soviet science and post-Soviet activity of former Soviet scientists coming to Israel. The problem with your article is that you show just facts extracted from internet without content. For example, I believe that Sverdlovsk was a magazine published in Sverdlovsk during that time, and you think that it cannot be named by the name of the city. Why? Most of the former Soviet scientists were prohibited to publish outside Soviet Union, but they published a lot. Did you know that? Today, materials or nanomaterials science is a pure Western science heap with a very cool name – “nano”. As I correctly remember, all the university schools of material science and engineering, even in Israel, in the beginning of 90s were focused on metallurgy, because the sexy name “nano” was not invented at that time. It was later invented to attract funds… And so on. I can actually answer most of your statements, but for the sake of brevity and saving my time, I invite you to communicate with me personally, particularly on the subjects that you simply do not understand. But before doing so, may I ask you that you remove this article and apologize to the man who is much older than you that you threw a lot of dirt without understanding the subject matter you are talking about.


    • Dear “Vlad”,
      I am afraid I will not follow your orders. In brief: there are many other Soviet scientists in Israel, USA and elsewhere whose CV is not inflated artificially in same way. Soviet journals are very much findable and citable, except those invented ones.
      You say:
      “For example, I believe that Sverdlovsk was a magazine published in Sverdlovsk during that time, and you think that it cannot be named by the name of the city.”
      You will find that Prof Zinigrad himself disagrees with you. Please check his new version of CV here.

      Click to access BamuBEza1.pdf

      Sverdlovsk is indeed a place where conferences took place, so says the CV. It is not a journal.
      Also, please do not defend Prof Zinigrad by ridiculing nanotechnology. He namely describes himself as expert in it, see again his CV and website.
      I could go on and on.
      Now it is you who embarrassed yourself. I guess this is why you didn’t sign your comment with your full name, dear patent attorney?


      • Vlad is my real name and I didn’t give you any orders. You can check my name in internet, as you have already checked my occupation. Your personal attack on Michael Zinigrad is actually an embarrassment to you. It clearly shows that you have some personal issues or you just enjoy trolling. You may blame the entire academic system, the publishing system, Chinese publication bazar etc and I would hearty agree with you, but personal insults are really bad. You have even attacked me in your post. I am sorry that you do not understand that and that you do not respect people. You probably need to grow, since adult people do not behave like you. You’re simply talking rubbish and enjoy it, that’s your hobby, and it has nothing to do with TRUTH that you are claiming to uncover. Have fun.


      • Was this mature, Vladislav? If someone disagrees with you or refuses to do as you tell them, you get angry, feel personally insulted and say they have “personal issues ” and “need to grow [up]”?
        Also, I forgot to ask, why do you ever ridicule nanotechnology and China if you yourself used to worked on nanotechnology in Singapore (yes, not China, but close enough in several aspects)?
        Do you wish to discuss why you invented that “Journal of Sverdlovsk”?. Even Prof Zinigrad admits it never existed.


    • In your attempt to defend the fake CV of the Rector Michael Zinigrad, you have offended the scientists who came to Israel from the Soviet Union. In all the Israeli universities there are many outstanding Soviet scientists who had high quality publication records even before they came to Israel.
      Secondly, from your comments it is clear that you did not examine the data Dr. Schneider presented in this article.
      According to Zinigrad’s CV he immigrated to Israel in 1993.
      According to the data from the Web of Science (see image above), for nearly 20 years after he immigrated to Israel, he hardly had any publication that was cited in the academic world. Dr. Schneider’s story exposed that Zinigrad obtained his position by presenting a fake list of publications inflated by all kinds of papers that do not even exist in bibliographic databases. After Dr. Schneider’s story, Zinigrad crafted a new CV from which he (not somebody else, but ZInigrad himself) deleted over 30 so-called “books” and “text-books”. Just compare the versions of Zinigrad’s CV to see the “books” that he deleted.
      His newly crafted list of publications is the best evidence for his fake CV. The list of articles is full of tens of conference presentations that should not be listed as “Articles”.

      From your comments it is clear that you know Michael Zinigrad. Could you please ask Michael to supply the list of the names of his trainees and their thesis titles. In his CV he stated that he had 18 Ph.D Students, 37 Master Students.
      Among the Russian scientist emigres, this has become a real riddle as to where the 55 trainees of Zinigrad are hiding.
      Could you help publish this list for this scientist who has become a shame for the Ariel University?
      He should be proud to display the list of his former students!


  18. Peet Peterson

    If Vlad is
    Your behavbious is a disgrace on your company. Remember customers also read this blog.


  19. It seems I stirred up the the nest of trolls. No, I’ve never met Michael Zinigrad, but I just don’t like the tone of all these posts. Don’t mind the numbers of publications or citations. But why to offend people, even those who read your blog? Why do you have the problem with some particular scientists? It really sounds like something personal. Ariel is a very small university of idealists who built it and now try to survive in the hard political and economical system of Israel. You have no idea about all this and how it is difficult. Kudos to those people including Michael Zinigrad for not lowering his hands and continuing to struggle. Maybe he is not a great scientist and maybe there are unintentional mistakes in his CV, but why does it matter to YOU? He really worked hard to make this university existing. If you don’t like the fact that there is a university in Judeah, then that’s a political discussion, which again has nothing to do with the subject of this post.

    Like any other respectable troll in internet, you are digging numbers and base your opinion on them without seeing people behind these numbers. Now I tend to agree with Tony Turner – this is all trolling and absolutely nothing else. You clearly mask your pique under the words such as “truth”. It is not the truth you are searching here. It’s just your ego and pique. At least be truthful with yourself, go outside, breath fresh air, look for something real behind the black mirror, which is probably the only positive thing in your life.

    Felix, do you have also personal issues with Michael Zinigrad? Have you tried to get to Ariel and they did not accept you? There are so many scientists in the world that (I met them personally) worth questioning their scientific conduct. But why is him?

    Peet, I’ve referred one of my clients to this blog and he told me: “Stop posting there. Don’t feed the trolls.”


    • Vladislav, you just compared Rector Zinigrad to Ashutosh Tiwari, that protégé of Tony Turner you mentioned.
      Facepalm, really.
      Ever heard the expression: when in a hole, stop digging?


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