The same Elsevier started a journal in 2005 called Explore, devoted to “science and healing.” The very subtitle of the journal exposes its ludicrousness. How can a journal publish healing and science — not medical science, health science, or hygiene science, but science, period — at the same time? As a cursory look at the articles available online demonstrates, speculations about consciousness and cosmology, spiritual phenomena and quantum non-locality, “scientific” investigation of reincarnation, etc., are legitimate candidates for publication.
The editorial board of Explore says it all! Larry Dossey, the Executive Editor, is the author of such books as The Power of Premonitions: How Knowing the Future Can Shape our Lives and Prayer is Good Medicine. Benjamin Kligler is one of the Coeditors-in-Chief. He boasts his certification in Ericksonian Hypnotherapy and acupuncture. Dean Radin is the other Coeditor-in-Chief. He is Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, whose mission is to support individual and collective transformation through consciousness research by exploring phenomena that “do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models.” He regularly presents papers in the annual meetings of Parapsychological Association (PA) and the Society for Scientific Exploration (SSE). PA, according to its website, is “a professional organization … engaged in the study of psi (or ‘psychic’) experiences, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, psychic healing, and precognition.” SSE boasts peer-reviewed (what else?) research on consciousness, physics, alternative energy, healing, and more. SSE has provided a critical forum for sharing original research into … unconventional topics that often cross mainstream boundaries!
When the executive editor himself publishes books on “knowing the future” and the “healing power of prayer;” and when coeditors-in-chief engage in the exploration of phenomena that do not necessarily fit conventional scientific models and do research on telepathy and psychic healing, what is the purpose of “peer-review?”
If there is no criterion for rejecting the very notion of “knowing the future,” “healing power of prayer,” or “psychic healing,” how can any other nonsense be rejected in the “peer review” process?
There are many other venues for publishing “peer-reviewed” pseudoscience (see this for a comprehensive list). For example, NeuroQuantology, a venue in which Deepak Chopra has disseminated some of his ideas, is “an interdisciplinary journal of neuroscience and quantum physics.” The affiliation of Sultan Tarlaci, its founder and Editor-in-Chief, reads “Dept of Neurology, Assoc. Prof. Editor-In-Chief NeuroQuantology, Turkey.” The institution to which the “Dept of Neurology” belongs is not mentioned! A search brings up his affiliation in ResearchGate, in which his institution is listed as Sifa University in Izmir, Turkey. While he seems to have an MD, his training is claimed to be as diverse as physiology, phycology (the study of algae), and neuroscience. He also publishes about quantum physics! Going through the only list of the faculty at Sifa University, I couldn’t locate his name in any of the listed departments!