Smut Clyde University Affairs

Nuttingham Trash University

"I will not by myself, or be instructing or encouraging any other person or howsoever othewise, publish or cause to be published words or otherwise howsoever make statements to others which wrongfully refer to Nottingham Trent University and/or their employees and for any person or any body associated with Nottingham Trent University"

I tried my best to get threatened with a lawsuit by the Nottingham Trent University, a kind of higher education institution founded merely 30 years ago in that sad alcohol-drenched English town otherwise known only for its ancient tales of merry robbers and grumpy sheriffs. Because I failed where others got viciously threatened for much, much less, I asked Smut Clyde for help.

Scientists are well-known to sue their critics (ask me, ask me!) with silent support of their employers, and some universities do try to control undesired reporting by claims of copyright, but so far I never heard of a university directly deploying unhinged threats against people for what amounts to “are you looking at me?!” So here is Smut Clyde’ story (with a bit of input from me) about the hyper-prolific professor of behavioural addictions, Mark D Griffiths, and his peculiar co-authors of the Nuttingham Trash University.

Can we now have our legal threat, please?


Won’t somebody please think of the children?!

By Smut Clyde

Data point #1. The editors of an obscure creationist-science journal from Poland explain to J. F. Derry that they couldn’t possibly retract a bad paper, because Feyerabend. It misses the whole point of his arguments that no general programmatic method can reliably generate scientific hypotheses, and is exactly the kind of vulgar Feyerabendage which Paul Feyerabend inveighed against in his later essays.

The editor for Filozoficzne Aspekty Genezy responded, “Our journal will never retract any paper already accepted for publication. It does not matter whether it is recognized as completely wrong by the dominant party. This is consistent with Feyerabend’s philosophy. … Sutton, he cannot justifiably claim much credibility for his ideas just because these are published in such a journal like ours, i.e. one adopting Feyerabendian pluralism. If he thinks otherwise, it is only his problem. Any reasonable person should know better. Anyway, from the Feyerabendian perspective, it is strange that anyone would like to simply eliminate such papers like Sutton’s from the start. After all, Sutton do not want to prove the existence of a tooth fairy or something like that. He presents arguments that can be, at least in principle, easily refuted. So why just not do it …?” (Dariusz Sagan, pers. comm. by email 07-Sept 17) Our reply is that Feyerabend did not discard the relation between measurement (observation) with the real world. When a paper is undermined by data inaccuracy, it does not qualify under Feyerabend’s “Anything goes” approach, (a phrase he regretted for suggesting he was stepping outside science).

  1. “On knowledge contamination: new data challenges claims of Darwins and Wallaces independent conceptions of Matthews prior-published hypothesis” (Sutton 2015)

The backstory there of Derry vs. Sutton is lengthy enough to have been written by George R. R. Martin, so let’s set it aside for a moment and turn to Data point #2. Here, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) lawyered up and threatened J. F. Derry with lawsuits for making their faculty cry. Specifically, for Derry’s suggestion that the immense h-index and publication record of NTU professor Mark D Griffiths may be the result of Google Scholar’s algorithm which included unrelated works by other authors of similar name.

“Whilst you are required to remove content immediately we remind you of the duty not to
destroy evidence in your control that may be relevant to any proceedings moving
forward in the event such steps have to be moved to.”
  • 2. Using Date Specific Searches on Google Books to Disconfirm Prior Origination Knowledge Claims for Particular Terms, Words, and Names” (Sutton & Griffiths 2018)

I choose to imagine NTU as a fictional institution – created to be the setting of one of those comedy-of-manners-in-academe novels that Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge and Robertson Davies used to write in which a cast of nonpareils and grotesques, sheltered in a hothouse environment, struggle with one other and with the uncertainties of a changing world. It was never clear how much these novels were romans-à-clef (authors write about what they know!) but I’ve known two people who boasted of being the original inspiration for the protagonist of The History Man, Howard Kirk.

NTU is also the origin of a long series of papers by Edo Shonin (aka Edward Penney) and William Van Gordon (Shonin’s disciple deploying libel lawyers against newspapers, bloggers, and his mother), plus NTU professor Mark D Griffiths, promoting Mindfulness for psychological well-being.* The authorship bolsters my impression of NTU as a peculiar and possibly fictitious environment. This is not to impugn the sincerity or the authenticity of the first author’s Buddhist beliefs and practices… it is just Edo Shonin‘s memory that is in question, with questions as to when and where Edward Penney came to be ordained as a monk in the esoteric Shingon school of Japanese Buddhism, and suggestions that his accounts of his spiritual transformation have undergone considerable embroidery.

This is all in keeping with the English tradition of metamorphosis that allowed Cyril Henry Hoskin to become the Tibetan Lama Lobsang Rampa, and Archibald Stansfeld Belaney to become ‘Grey Owl’, and a mild-mannered perceptual psychologist to become “Smut Clyde”. Staff meetings at my own campus would be vastly improved if more of the faculty reinvented themselves similarly.

There was also a (planned? executed?) clinical trial in 2012, titled “Effects of Meditation Awareness Training on Psychosocial Functioning in Prison Participants“, sponsored by NTU, Collaborators “Awake to Wisdom Foundation” and “Serco Group Plc”. NTU announced in 2012:

“The effects of meditation on violent offenders are to be investigated as part of a research project at Nottingham Trent University. The impact of ‘Meditation Awareness Training’ on prisoner reoffending levels- as well as anger levels,
impulsivity, drug-use, mood state, optimism and self-harming – will be monitored as part of the study […]

Doctoral research psychologist Edo Shonin in conjunction with fellow researchers William Van Gordon and Professor Mark Griffiths, will also study the effects of meditation upon patients suffering with fibromyalgia – a medical disorder
characterised by widespread pain – as well as the general population, as part of the project.”

But again, all that is backstory. Data point #3 is brought to us by Nick Wise, who monitors authorship bazaars on Telegram and Faceborg: papers in the pipeline for publication (but not yet finalised and set in type) go onto the auction block, so researchers suffering from Publication Deficiency Syndrome can bid to become a coauthor. Now it is true that traders in this authorship economy are not always scrupulous, and might solicit payment for things that they aren’t in a position to sell. Also true: if parties in the marketplace were aware of Nick’s scrutiny, and wanted to discredit his observations, a logical strategy would be to muddy the waters by placing decoy advertisements for perfectly cromulent papers with no negotiable authorship slots. Anyway, this happened:

In this case, the title matches

  • 3. “Psychometric Validation of the Indonesian Version of the Fear of COVID-19 Scale: Personality Traits Predict the Fear of COVID-19” (Nazari et al 2021).

Lead author Mark D. Griffiths vigorously defended the integrity of his geographically far-flung colleagues, vouching for their separate contributions to the manuscript and rejecting any suggestion that any of them had been added as afterthoughts. See my caveats above.

I have done no such thing and reported these bogus claims to my line manager (Daragh McDermott) and to the editor of the journal a few days ago and also refuted the claim on PubPeer

Dr Mark Griffiths, Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Addiction

Rebecca Jenkyn, NTU’s head of governance and legal services and author of the above letter to Derry, declared [to LS] this case to be closed with Griffiths’ refutation.

Data point #4 brings us to a jackal with a university affiliation but no sense of basic decency who scours the local news media in search of high-profile suicides that reporters have linked to (a) on-line gaming or (b) COVID-19 anxieties, in order to use the bodies as building-blocks in his preferred narratives. All these papers have Griffiths as last author.

  • 4. “Indian celebrity suicides before and during the COVID-19 pandemic and their associated risk factors: Evidence from media reports” (Mamun et al 2020).
  • 5. “COVID-19 suicidal behavior among couples and suicide pacts: Case study evidence from press reports” (Griffiths & Mamun 2020).
  • 6. “First COVID-19 suicide case in Bangladesh due to fear of COVID-19 and xenophobia: Possible suicide prevention strategies” (Mamun & Griffiths 2020).
  • 7. “Hospital suicide due to non-treatment by healthcare staff fearing COVID-19 infection in Bangladesh?” (Mamun et al 2020).
  • 8. “A rare case of Bangladeshi student suicide by gunshot due to unusual multiple causalities” (Mamun et al 2020).
  • 9. “Mother and Son Suicide Pact Due to COVID-19-Related Online Learning Issues in Bangladesh: An Unusual Case Report” (Mamun et al 2020).
  • 10. “PUBG ‐related suicides during the COVID‐19 pandemic: Three cases from Pakistan” (Mamun et al 2022).
  • 11. “Gambling-related suicide in East African Community countries: evidence from press media reports” (Kaggwa et al 2022).

We are assured that transmogrifying popular-press reports into scholarly publications – paraphrasing the explanations of local blowhards without bothering to check their claims or to anonymise identities – is an accepted way of doing research in the author’s culture:

“Extracting information from previously published media reports is a popular method of reporting suicides amongst the South-East Asian countries.”

Professor Dorothy Bishop was not well-pleased:

Earlier, Dr Linda Kaye was equally not-well-pleased, and condemned the exploitative oeuvre of Mamun et al. The journal’s response to that condemnation was to publish her Letter to the Editor.

These newfangled “computer games” and their unknown impacts upon vulnerable young minds are of course a reliable hot-button issue, conducive to moral panics and self-righteous freak-outs and reflexive condemnations. The topic guarantees media time and book contracts for anyone with opinions on the topic, however ill-informed they might be.

What interests us here is not so much Mohammed Mamun and his unedifying efforts to repackage worthless anecdotage as papers, and more his coauthor on many of these exercises in bloody shroud-waving: Professor Mark D Griffiths, of Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Griffiths’ work is well-regarded, and (respect!) he coauthored a refutation of problematic claims from Brad Bushman. His papers have attracted a list of PubPeer entries, which are a kind of recognition… and I hasten to add that 14 of those entries were approving, automated comments from the StatCheck bot, extracting statistical tests from the text and confirming the accuracy of the p-value calculations.

WoS treeplots for contributors to (l) J Beh Addictions and (r) Int J Ment Health Addictions. H/t D. Bishop: “We can however ask, how unusual is it for a single author to dominate the profile of publications in a journal?

Griffiths’ name came up in Bishop’s 2020 blogpost about the symbiosis of ‘hyper-prolific researchers’ and like-minded journals. Griffiths explained his predilection for particular journals, and defended their editors, on his blog.

“This week has seen a strange tale unfold around the publication practices of Professor Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University. Professor Griffiths is an expert in the field of behavioural addictions, including gambling and problematic internet use. He publishes prolifically, and in 2019 published 90 papers, meeting the criterion set by Ioannidis et al (2018) for a hyperprolific author.”

BishopBlog

Griffiths’ coauthors have testified to the substantial nature of his contributions to those collaborations.

He is an exponent of a ‘realist’ paradigm for professional academic conduct: that one must network with potential collaborators, self-cite, self-quote and self-promote, because no-one else is going to promote your work for you (the rival strategy of “silence, exile, and cunning” only works if you happen to be James Joyce).

Comrade Stakhanov asks: How many papers have you published this month?

Griffiths may be feeling piled-on and persecuted at the moment, and unreceptive to advice from well-meaning pseudonyms, on account of authorship traders using him as a human shield. Nevertheless, I am proposing that despite the exigencies of maintaining a prodigious publication rate, sometimes it is OK to turn down an invitation to co-authorship on a collaboration. This post is not intended to censure Griffiths, nor to attack his body of work.

I mentioned PubPeer comments above. As the Corresponding Author, Griffiths received an email for each one, automagically sent by the PubPeer platform, appraising him of the comment and inviting him to join the discussion. And fair enough, I might well feel trolled and cyberstalked by a torrent of these invitations, and only my abysmal publication count saves me from that tribulation. I propose to summarise the comments here, to show that they are not a coordinated trolling campaign.

Some came from from a regular PubPeer contributor, Actinopolyspora biskrensis (aka Cheshire), worried that more papers should have included Griffith’s role as a consultant to players in the on-line gaming and gambling industries in their Conflict-of-Interests declarations… if only for consistency with papers where the consultancies were declared.

  • 12. “Gaming and Gaming Disorder: A Mediation Model Gender, Salience, Age of Gaming Onset, and Time Spent Gaming” (Buono et al, 2020).

“It is confidential. “

Mark D Griffiths

Most of Actinopolyspora‘s ‘satiable curiosity related to studies of problematic on-line gaming, or on-line gambling, or unhealthy relationships with the virtual world (with some work on COVID anxieties for topicality). Such work involves questionnaires – ‘instruments’ in the language of the trade – translated into Russian or Indonesian or whatever. Then each translation requires fresh papers to study its psychometric structure and confirm that the internal consistency of its subscales remain close to the original (i.e. that the translation was accurate). And this happened:

  • 13. “Using Fear and Anxiety Related to COVID-19 to Predict Cyberchondria: Cross-sectional Survey Study” (Wu et al 2021).

NTU replied to Cheshire’s’ email notification about the omitted conflicts of interests of Professor Griffiths in a manner reminiscent of their reaction to Derry’s blog:

I note your statement below regarding multiple and third parties. Should this type of circulation continue the University will take such steps as may be necessary to protect its own position and that of any of its employees.

This time, the threat of a legal retaliation was issued by the interim Pro Vice Chancellor Research and Innovation Di Bailey who, despite her tempestuous irascibility, is a professor of mental health.

Still delving into the minutiae of quantitative scholasticism, Nick Brown of Steamtraen voiced his disappointment on Twitter (copied into a PubPeer thread) about the lack of access to raw data – for independent calculations of validity are essential to build confidence in a questionnaire.

Brittany I. Davidson raised a similar problem in accessing raw data. In that case the story ended happily, with the raw data uploaded to a repository, while the authors forestalled the skeptics by recognising and correcting some minor errors in their statistics.

  • 15. “Psychometric Validation of the Bangla Fear of COVID-19 Scale: Confirmatory Factor Analysis and Rasch Analysis” (Sakib et al 2020).

Here is Nick Brown again, concerned that in the course of meeting his publication word-count commitments, Griffiths resorted to the Control-C / Control-V key combinations while restating his ideas, instead of composing everything de novo. On his blog, Griffiths counter-argued that his self-quotations are justified and not excessive. My own feeling is that outside the narrow confines of ‘copyright’, text recycling for a new audience is not a heinous intellectual sin (especially when I do it), though it is a missed opportunity to think and write something novel and unexpected.

  • 16. “Internet abuse and internet addiction in the workplace” (Griffiths 2010)
  • 17. “Online social networking and addiction–a review of the psychological literature” (Kuss & Griffiths 2011)

Opinion is divided on the subject. All the
other captains say it is; I say it isn’t

Finally, Sutton and Griffiths (2018) argued that the Library of Babel Google Books is a valuable research tool for overturning accepted dates for the coining of some word or concept – even if a supposed earlier appearance had a different meaning. A running theme through the piece is the purblindness of so-called experts… “[Von Sydow] is not untypical as an expert academic in similarly getting the facts wrong about the origins of the term”. Sutton and Griffiths are Captain Redbeard Rum in this argument. Their paper went on to accuse Google Books of tweaking search algorithms to preserve the mainstream Deep State chronology and stop them finding anachronisms.** J. F. Derry responded with a PubPeer comment-thread that rivals the length of the original paper:

  • 2 again. “Using Date Specific Searches on Google Books to Disconfirm Prior Origination Knowledge Claims for Particular Terms, Words, and Names” (Sutton & Griffths 2018).

Sutton is titled as “Criminologist” by his self-penned Whackweedia entry, which credits him with founding “the now defunct Centre for Study and Reduction of Bias, Prejudice and Hate Crime” at Nottingham Trent U.; also with founding and editing the Internet Journal of Criminology. I like to think that the faculty of this NTU Criminology Unit called themselves “Sheriffs of Nottingham”. These days his academic activities consist largely of fighting to have an obscure Scottish grain merchant and silviculturalist recognised as the true father of Evolutionary Theory, while fulminating against the credit-stealing machinations of the “Darwin Industry” and the dupes of that fell cabal.

The broader sense of Sutton’s myth-busting and meta-pedantry, on display in that Google Books paper, is that everyone else is stupid and wrong. For instance, previous debunking of a popular misapprehension about Popeye’s dietary choices, and the iron content of spinach, is itself a popular misapprehension. Also, ill intentions and malfeasance are always a better explanation than error or misunderstanding (L. Schneider take note!).

Sutton’s publications attract PubPeer pushback and learned Letters to the Editor from Derry, documenting the evidence that (e.g.) NO, Charles Darwin did not plagiarise ideas from Patrick Matthews… which is where we came in. Sutton’s ad-hominid ad-hominem responses indicate a sense of outrage at Derry’s lèse-majesté. I do recommend Derry’s blog, by the way; where else are the changing versions of Popeye’s origin story collected in one place?

I can understand why Nottingham Trent University might regard Dr Griffiths in the brightest star in the firmament of their faculty. It isn’t so obvious why they are litigious and protective of Sutton in his academic knife-fights with J. F. Derry, but I will certainly watch the mini-series when it finally comes out.

It does seem unfair that Griffiths has been singled out for scrutiny by the vast and cool and unsympathetic critics of Pubpeer. Scores of other very smart people have been contributing to quantitative psychology in the same fashion… designing questionnaires to assign values to new constructs like “cyberchondria”, and correlating the results with scores on other questionnaires measuring other intangible constructs. It’s what academic psychologists do! So if there is a problem, it extends to the whole discipline.

Any further thoughts along those lines would require a whole separate post, with digressions about Feyerabend’s mate Imre Latakos and his attempts to demarcate progressive research programs from degenerative ones.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

* “Mindfulness” is a component of Buddhist phenomenology, and is generally preferable to the opposite. It features in the “third wave” of cognitive-behavioural therapies, notably in ACT (Acceptance & Commitment Therapy), but I’ll spare you the TED talk on that.

** “… one likely reason for the loss of functionality of the IDD method is that Google Inc. introduced a new autonomous artificial intelligence deep learning program (called RankBrain) in October 2015.”


Update 18.10.2022 by LS

Thanks to Alexander Magazinov for reminding me.

NTU has another clown among its ranks. Meet Farooq Sher, Senior Lecturer at NTU’s Department of Engineering and a wannabe Ashutosh Tiwari with his own inept attempt to run a scamference business. What Sher has is not as fancy and money-bringing like Tiwari’s fantastical “International Association of Advanced Materials (IAAM)”, I mean, even the website of Sher’s International Society of Engineering Science and Technology (ISEST) is wonky.

There are also not that many ISEST predatory conferences going on, my advice for NTU is to advertise a bit more for Sher’s scams, if they want this joint fraudulent enterprise to financially succeed.

Just like Tiwari, Sher is searching for unpaid interns from Asia to slave for his private scamference business:

Here an idea: NTU invites Tiwari for a hands-on workshop for Sher and other NTU researchers interested in setting up a thriving scamference and predatory publishing business. Griffith can give a master-class on and growing your citation index with ahem, “international co-authorships”.

The Indefatigable Ashutosh Tiwari

Four years after Ashutosh Tiwari’s scamferences and research fraud were exposed, his impressive-sounding yet fictional “International Association of Advanced Materials”, or IAAM, still opens doors, hearts and wallets.

Btw, NTU informs us that

“Dr Farooq Sher has published more than 100 research papers, several conference papers, book chapters and editorials. Apart from this, he is the editor of more than 10 different multidisciplinary scientific journals. He has reviewed more than 1300 journal papers for several journals. He has been awarded a top reviewer for Engineering from Publons Academy in 2018.”

Just like with Tiwari, the science Sher publishes with his mates, is fraudulent. Have a look on PubPeer. For example:

Saba Sehar , Farooq Sher , Shengfu Zhang, Ushna Khalid , Jasmina Sulejmanović , Eder C. Lima Thermodynamic and kinetic study of synthesised graphene oxide-CuO nanocomposites: A way forward to fuel additive and photocatalytic potentials Journal of Molecular Liquids (2020) doi: 10.1016/j.molliq.2020.113494 

Another example:

Ossama Al-Juboori , Farooq Sher , Ushna KHALID , Muhammad Bilal Niazi , George Zheng Chen Electrochemical Production of Sustainable Hydrocarbon Fuels from CO2 Co-electrolysis in Eutectic Molten Melts ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering (2020) doi: 10.1021/acssuschemeng.0c03314

Thallarcha lechrioleuca: “Figure 8. Figure 8. Current−time curves resulting from the electrolysis performed in two different molten hydroxides at 2 V.
Could authors possibly explain repetitions?
Figure 8 and Figure 12 show identical curve. One for LiOH-NaOH at 2V and another for molten chloride at 3V. Are these curves supposed to be so similar? Several repeating patterns in other curves of Figure 12.

Here, with Sher’s wife as last author:

Saleem Ahmad , Zaib Jahan , Farooq Sher , Muhammad Bilal Khan Niazi , Tayyaba Noor , Honghao Hou , Ofaira Azhar , Emina Karahmet Sher Polyvinyl alcohol and aminated cellulose nanocrystal membranes with improved interfacial compatibility for environmental applications Environmental research (2022) doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.113793

Thallarcha lechrioleuca: “Figure 4 Three copies of one mother pattern and two patterns which are identical only for larger angle part but very different at lower angles.”

I will of course inform NTU, maybe these boozy clowns and pusillanimous failed scientists will finally issue me with my long-requested letter with deranged legal threats, demanding that I delete this article and promise:

“I will not by myself, or be instructing or encouraging any other person or howsoever othewise, publish or cause to be published words or otherwise howsoever make statements to others which wrongfully refer to Nottingham Trent University and/or their employees and for any person or any body associated with Nottingham Trent University“”


Donate to Smut Clyde!

If you are interested to support my work, you can leave here a small tip of $5. Or several of small tips, just increase the amount as you like (2x=€10; 5x=€25). Your generous patronage of my journalism will be most appreciated!

NZ$10.00

12 comments on “Nuttingham Trash University

  1. smut.clyde

    I have no idea why you singled out Nottingham from the rest of the UK for being sad and alcohol-drenched.

    Like

    • Sure, sure, but it’s the degree of sadness and shitfacediness which makes the difference. I can’t explain NTU’s behaviour otherwise. Although there seems to be someone at NTU sober enough preventing the others from threatening me, which spoils all the fun. Mark, is it you?

      Like

  2. magazinovalex

    I have my 20 tenge to add.

    Farooq Sher! https://pubpeer.com/search?q=farooq+sher

    International Society of Engineering Science and Technology! https://web.archive.org/web/20220909170702/https://www.isest.org/
    (unfortunately, as their site got dysfunctional, we can rely only on the archived version).

    Still a sucker compared to Tiwari.

    Like

  3. No surprise that a hack like Griffiths prefers Google Scholar to the gold standard CSI citation tracker, what with its detection of self-citations and filter for bogus journals. By that count he currently has 923 papers since 1995 from NTU, with 37,632 citations of which 32,622 are not self-citations. That’s right, 5000+ citations of his own stuff in 900 papers (you can do the math). The total number of articles that generated the other citations is around 16,000, meaning that on average each one of those is a two-fer. Oh yes, and his real h-index is 94, not the ridiculous Google number. So all in all, for all the fluff he barely ranks as an average cancer researcher.

    Like

  4. I must admit to not having read all the relevant pubpeer threads, I only looked through some of those linked here regarding the Darwin vs. Matthews topic. But I have read the historical sketch at the beginning of The Origin of Species, where Darwin makes it very clear that his work is continuing ides from many previous authors. This is pretty much through for all scientific advances, which makes this type of analysis, trying to identify one true originator of some theory or idea, a mostly pointless endeavour (except, of course, to increase publication counts).

    Like

    • Just reference Aristotle for everything as everyone did in the Middle Ages!

      Like

    • Darwin’s grandfather wrote about evolution.

      Like

    • Matthews did not present an argument for natural selection in his musings buried in an appendix to a book on silviculture. He intuited that a universal adaptive principle was at work shaping living things to their surroundings, and what he wrote cannot really be distinguished from Lamarckism, which was well known at the time. What no-one at the time knew was how heredity worked, but despite that Darwin and Wallace did a compelling job of explaining natural selection that stimulated others to carry forward the work that resulted in the modern synthesis. That’s what counts in science, not where each random ideas come from. And once he heard about Matthews, Darwin gave him credit in a later edition of his magnum opus, which Matthews gratefully accepted. Not the sort of thing a plagiarist and his victim are likely to do. Now Einstein on the other hand was totally wrong, as I describe in my forthcoming book…..

      Like

  5. It’s worth noting Mark Griffiths defends his prolific publication record as use of excessive work to suppress physical pain that he suffers due to spinal cord compression. https://drmarkgriffiths.wordpress.com/2021/07/24/spinal-rap-a-brief-look-at-my-surgical-recovery-so-far-part-1/

    Obviously, it’s good if he can distract himself by doing useful work, but my concern is the impact on junior people who see him as a role model.

    The clearest example is Mohammed Mamun – I can see that it is not easy trying to make one’s way as a researcher in Bangladesh, and potentially someone like Griffiths could do enormous good by showing younger researchers how to do robust and valid research. Alas, it’s clear that instead he has infected Mamun with a cynical attitude to science where maximising the number of publications and citations is all that matters.
    Mamun claims to have learned the art of academic success from Griffiths and has, over the past few years, churned out numerous papers with many self-citations. His organisation seems to be set up to encourage others to do the same. There is ample evidence online that he regards publishing lots of papers as a game: https://twitter.com/sTeamTraen/status/1308771045680218113?s=20&t=W5LKyOvRBIbc0CUHUPx6Kw
    His publication record makes him look like a plausible peer-reviewer, and he has indeed been used in that role:
    http://deevybee.blogspot.com/2022/09/reviewer-finding-algorithms-dangers-for.html

    Just a few other points:
    1. I think there’s an error in the blogpost, where is says Mamun has an academic affiliation. I don’t think that’s the case: he’s not got a degree but is director of his own research organisation.
    2. I always thought the model for the History Man was Laurie Taylor
    3. What’s a 18th century highwayman got to do with Nottingham? You really should not malign this fair city, which was a crucible for rebellion against injustice in the 12th-13th century
    https://static.wikia.nocookie.net/villains/images/7/72/Alan_Rickman_As_The_Sheriff_Of_Nottingham.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20181210190650

    Like

    • Hi Dorothy,
      Thank you for your comment.
      Griffiths is most certainly not the only UK academic with serious health problems. But others don’t engage in such unscholarly activities as he does “to kill the pain” or whatever.
      On 3: guilty as charged. The Monty Python sketch is indeed anachronistic in this context, but it is a good sketch by any other account!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: