Wikipedia and the so-called "Bogdanov affair" (I)

Astonishingly enough, we discover that the Wikipedia administrators have censored on May 5, without any real argument about their content, several important factual corrections introduced by a net surfer to the Wikipedia article (in English) « Bogdanov Affair » :

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bogdanov_Affair&oldid=427554435 (version corrected by the net user)

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bogdanov_Affair&oldid=423661433 (previous Wikipedia version, April 12, restored by the administrators on May 5 without previous discussion)

In particular, these corrections emphasized that, contrary to the Wikipedia assertion « the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) issued a report concluding that “la valeur de ce travail est nulle” ("the value of this work is nil") » concerning the theses of Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff, the CNRS has never published or distributed such a report and no actual proof of the authenticity of the text published by Marianne seems to be available. The validity of the theses has been recently confirmed by the University of Burgundy (Université de Bourgogne) :

http://www.u-bourgogne.fr/IMG/pdf/cp-29-10-2010-theses-bogdanov.pdf

In an official opinion of November 4, 2010, the Commission d'Accès aux Documents Administratifs (CADA) has stated that the actual report, supposed to have been elaborated by the Comité National de la Recherche Scientifique (CoNRS), should be made available only to the persons concerned. Such an advice is based of the French legislation protecting personal data and similar information.

 

The Wikipedia texts are available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

The last version of the Wikipedia article « Bogdanov Affair » written by the net user (indicated as 10:16, 5 May 2011) :

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bogdanov_Affair&oldid=427554435

modified the beginning of the article as follows :

 

The so-called "Bogdanov Affair" is a supposedly academic dispute regarding the legitimacy of a series of theoretical physics papers written by French twins Igor and Grichka Bogdanov (alternately spelt Bogdanoff). These papers were published in reputable scientific journals, and were alleged by their authors to culminate in a proposed theory for describing what occurred at the Big Bang. Grichka and Igor Bogdanov got their Ph. D's from the University of Burgundy (France) in 1999 and 2002 respectively. Since the 1980's, they have developed an original and successful style to transmit scientific information to the general public which may have generated professional jealousies from some journalists and scientists. Perhaps this is the actual "affair".

The controversy started in 2002 when rumors spread on Usenet newsgroups that the work was a deliberate hoax intended to target weaknesses in the peer review system employed by the physics community to select papers for publication in academic journals. The Bogdanov brothers defend the veracity of their work, and the University of Burgundy has confirmed the validity of their theses.

A report attributed to the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) is claimed by some journalists to have concluded that “la valeur de ce travail est nulle” ("the value of this work is nil").[1]. However, there is no proof of the authenticity of this text, the material published by the media carries no signature or stamp, and the possible authors are unknown. Because of professional secrecy, as the actual report would belong to CNRS and to the University of Burgundy who did not intend to make it public, transmitting such a document to journalists would in any case have been illegal [2]. This also seems to clearly follow from the CADA (Commission d'Accès aux Documents Administratifs) advice published by Marianne itself [3]. The CADA advice explicitly states that, according to French law on administrative documents, such a report should be communicated only to the persons directly concerned.

Furthermore, it does not seem that the report was prepared in a normal contradictory way after due hearing of all the scientists concerned (Grichka and Igor Bogdanoff, members of the thesis examining boards...), and no proof seems to be known either that it was finally ratified by the competent sections of the Comité National de la Recherche Scientifique (01, Mathematics, and 02, Theoretical Physics) which normally do not examine university theses.

There is apparently no claim that the CNRS report had been communicated to the Bogdanoff brothers and to the membres of the thesis boards during the seven years (2003-2010) elapsed between its elaboration and the first article by Marianne on the subject [4]. This article (0ctober 15, 2010) appeared after the CNRS had referred the case to the CADA (September 30) and was waiting for its advice (given on November 4) before answering to the media request. The CNRS has not published the report, and the University of Burgundy does not mention it in its October 29 press release.

Some physicists have treated this "affair" as evidence of the fallibility inherent within the peer review system. The debate over whether the work represented a contribution to physics, or instead was meaningless, spread from Usenet to many other Internet forums, including some blogs of physicists. The ensuing dispute received considerable coverage in the mainstream media.

The authors' credentials to write on physical cosmology are based on their Ph.D. degrees that the University of Burgundy has recently confirmed. Although both were given the low, unusual, but passing, grade of "honorable", the subjects dealt with were rather cross-disciplinary and highly nontrivial. (....)

 

(end of the extract)

References 1-4 were :

  1. ^ http://www.marianne2.fr/docs/rapport_cnrs_bogdanoff.pdf
  2. ^ See for instance, from the blog of Indépendance des Chercheurs La Science au XXI Siècle : CNRS, frères Bogdanoff, médias... (I), (II) and (III) and links given by these articles
  3. ^ http://www.marianne2.fr/Affaire-Bogdanoff-l-imposture-doit-rester-feutree-_a199319.html
  4. ^ http://www.marianne2.fr/REVELATIONS-Le-rapport-du-CNRS-qui-flingue-les-Bogdanoff_a198523.html

Thus, the original source of the text presented by Wikipedia as a CNRS report was explicitly provided (reference 4), showing that it does not correspond to any CNRS publication or press release.

A link with the Marianne article containing the CADA official opinion was also given in reference 3.

Similarly, the sentence and the University of Burgundy has confirmed the validity of their theses contains a link with the press relase of the University of Burgundy of October 29, 2010 :

http://www.u-bourgogne.fr/IMG/pdf/cp-29-10-2010-theses-bogdanov.pdf

 

Can one reasonably ignore such factual informations ?

Incredibly, the Wikipedia administrators not only ignore them but they write :

  • (cur | prev) 10:16, 5 May 2011 Luk (talk | contribs) (60,861 bytes) (adding {{pp-semi-vandalism|expiry={{subst:#time:F j, Y|+2 months}}|small=yes}} using TW)
  • (cur | prev) 10:16, 5 May 2011 Luk (talk | contribs) m (60,809 bytes) (Changed protection level of Bogdanov Affair: Semi-protection: vandalism, same IP as in the French Wikipedia. Please discuss your changes before editing. using TW ([edit=autoconfirmed] (expires 10:16, 5 July 2011 (UTC)) [move=autoconfirmed] (expi)

(end of quote)

Where is the « vandalism » in providing relevant information ? And what means the comment « same IP as in the French Wikipedia » ? This is just not true, even if all the French IP's can present similarities as seen from other countries.

Instead, the Wikipedia administrators could have, at least, studied the corrections introduced before blaming their author.

 

After the removal of the net surfer's version, the following text was restablished, identical to the previous version and without taking into account any of the factual elements pointed out by the blamed net user :

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bogdanov_Affair&oldid=427555933 (version indicated as 10:22, 5 May 2011)

 

The Bogdanov Affair is an academic dispute regarding the legitimacy of a series of theoretical physics papers written by French twins Igor and Grichka Bogdanov (alternately spelt Bogdanoff). These papers were published in reputable scientific journals, and were alleged by their authors to culminate in a proposed theory for describing what occurred at the Big Bang. The controversy started in 2002 when rumors spread on Usenet newsgroups that the work was a deliberate hoax intended to target weaknesses in the peer review system employed by the physics community to select papers for publication in academic journals. While the Bogdanov brothers continue to defend the veracity of their work, the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) issued a report concluding that “la valeur de ce travail est nulle” ("the value of this work is nil").[1] Some physicists have also treated this as evidence of the fallibility inherent within the peer review system. The debate over whether the work represented a contribution to physics, or instead was meaningless, spread from Usenet to many other Internet forums, including the blogs of notable physicists. The ensuing dispute received considerable coverage in the mainstream media.

The authors' credentials to write on physical cosmology are based on Ph.D. degrees they obtained from the University of Burgundy; Grichka Bogdanov received his degree in mathematics, and Igor Bogdanov received his in theoretical physics (in 1999 and 2002 respectively). Both were given the low, unusual, but passing, grade of "honorable"; Igor initially failed and was required to publish three papers in peer-reviewed journals before being given a degree. (...)

 

(end of the extract)

The authorship of this restoration is indicated as follows :

with the following user page :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:~Pyb

  • sysop on the French-speaking Wikipedia, Wikisource and Wikimedia Commons,
  • Former member of the french ArbCom,
  • former chair of Wikimédia France

(end of quote)

We very much regret that Wikipedia censors in such a way corrections to its articles that do not please to influent or supposedly « majoritary » (?) groups, without really discussing the content of the corrections. Although Wikipedia is obviously a useful tool, its reliability seems to require a different way of proceeding.

 

See also our articles :

Wikipédia français et conflits d'intérêts (I)

Wikipédia français et conflits d'intérêts (II)

CNRS, frères Bogdanoff, médias... (I)

CNRS, frères Bogdanoff, médias... (II)

CNRS, frères Bogdanoff, médias... (III)

Wikipédia français et chasse aux "faux-nez"

Luis Gonzalez-Mestres et Wikipédia français (I)

Luis Gonzalez-Mestres et Wikipédia français (II)

Faut-il "excommunier" Stephen Hawking ? (I)

Morts des blogs ou annonce d’une censure ?

CNRS et concours DR1 : notre recours

CNRS, concours DR1 et transparence

CNRS, concours DR1 et comportement des élus

Conflits d'intérêts et institutions françaises (I)

Conflits d'intérêts et institutions françaises (II)

Conflits d'intérêts et institutions françaises (III)

Conflits d'intérêts et institutions françaises (IV)

 

Indépendance des Chercheurs

indep_chercheurs@yahoo.fr

http://science21.blogs.courrierinternational.com

http://www.mediapart.frhttp://blogs.mediapart.fr/blog/Scientia

Groupes de discussion :

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/problemes_des_scientifiques

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/combatconnaissance

 

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