These are not the studies you’re looking for. A scientist annoyed at the rise of bogus science journals has highlighted the problem by publishing “research” about “The Force.”
Researchers have to submit their work to an almost forensic analysis by competing experts in their field.
Only the strongest work gets published. At least, that’s the theory.
Problem is, opportunistic publishers have identified a supply versus demand opportunity.
There are more researchers wanting to get their papers published than there is space among established journals.
So why not create a new one?
It could work. If they applied the same, almost judicial, standards.
To check, one neuroscientist going under the name Neuroskeptic decided to submit a “Trojan Horse” research paper to test their credentials.
“I wanted to test whether ‘predatory’ journals would publish an obviously absurd paper,” he writes.
The research pinned its subject on the fantastical Star Wars invention of “midichlorians” … a magical substance which carries “The Force.” The papers also blatantly plagiarized other people’s work, was nonsensical and was full of basic factual errors.
Not enough red flags?
“I filled it with other references to the galaxy far, far away and submitted it to nine journals under the names of Dr. Lucas McGeorge and Dr. Annette Kin,” Neuroskeptic writes.
Four “predatory” science journals didn’t care. They accepted the “research” at face value.
The International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access, The Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, The American Research Journal of Biosciences and The American Journal of Medical and Biological Research all accepted the paper. One even invited him to sit on their editorial board but only after demanding a $360 fee.
“Neuroskeptic” published his experience in the magazine Discover.
“For transparency, I admitted what I’d done in the paper itself. The Methods section features the line “‘The majority of the text of this paper was Rogeted [7.]’”
He adds three journals did reject his paper, while a further two asked him to revise and submit the manuscript.
It is just one of a recent spate of “fake” research papers being sent to suspect journals.
One submitted a study based on a fictitious disease taken from a “Seinfeld” episode.
“This matters because scientific publishers are companies selling a product and the product is peer review,” Neurskeptic writes in Discover. “True, they also publish papers (electronically in the case of these journals,) but if you just wanted to publish something electronically, you could do that yourself for free.”