Thursday, 30 August 2007

More on Rao et al. homeopathy tomfoolery

If anyone out there has read the stuff on this blog (here and here) about the recent special issue of the pseudojournal Homeopathy dealing with the memory of water, and the Rao et al. paper in it, they'll know there are some serious problems with the paper. If you're really interested in finding out just how rubbish this supposedly peer-reviewed paper is, I recommend the discussions of it on the JREF forum. Now Rolfe, one of the contributors to the forum, has drafted a letter to Peter Fisher, the editor of Homeopathy, pointing out the errors and problems with the presented UV-vis data. This includes my observations of graph tomfoolery, as well as many other points picked up by JREF contributors Rolfe, JJM and Pipirr. We haven't made any comment on the Raman spectroscopy data, which seems to be equally problematic (see here, look for comment No. 11). The letter is available here.

Assuming there's any response at all, watch this space...


Mich said...

Blimey Wilson. You'd best make sure that everything you publish is rock solid (pardon the pun)!

How's your research going by the way?

Paul Wilson said...

Yes, I had considered that point...after all, whose work is perfect?

I don't think it's possible, at least in geology, to publish a paper that is entirely perfect. Of course, you try to make it as good as possible, because your name is going to be on it and it will be out there in the public domain.

But that's what I find really astounding about the Rao et al. paper. The authors are not by any means just total idiots: Rustum Roy is quite an eminent materials science. But I don't get the impression that the authors have checked through the paper. It contains absolutely basic errors, and certainly whoever reviewed it was asleep at the switch. I think that whatever I publish in future, I'm generally quite careful about what I write, and it will be properly reviewed, so I'm sure it can't be as bad as Rao et al.

Anyhow, the research is going slowly but otherwise OK. I'm hoping to submit a paper to the Journal of Structural Geology shortly, with another to follow.