Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting

By Neuroskeptic | July 22, 2017 4:57 am

A number of so-called scientific journals have accepted a Star Wars-themed spoof paper. The manuscript is an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes. I know because I wrote it.

Inspired by previous publishing “stings”, I wanted to test whether ‘predatory‘ journals would publish an obviously absurd paper. So I created a spoof manuscript about “midi-chlorians” – the fictional entities which live inside cells and give Jedi their powers in Star Wars. 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.

star-wars-sting-midichloria

Four journals fell for the sting. The American Journal of Medical and Biological Research (SciEP) accepted the paper, but asked for a $360 fee, which I didn’t pay. Amazingly, three other journals not only accepted but actually published the spoof. Here’s the paper from the International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access (MedCrave), Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics (Austin) and American Research Journal of Biosciences (ARJ) I hadn’t expected this, as all those journals charge publication fees, but I never paid them a penny.

Edit 28th July: All of the above journals have now deleted the paper, so I’ve made it available on Scribd.

So what did they publish? A travesty, which they should have rejected within about 5 minutes – or 2 minutes if the reviewer was familiar with Star Wars. Some highlights:

  • “Beyond supplying cellular energy, midichloria perform functions such as Force sensitivity…”
  • “Involved in ATP production is the citric acid cycle, also referred to as the Kyloren cycle after its discoverer”
  • “Midi-chlorians are microscopic life-forms that reside in all living cells – without the midi-chlorians, life couldn’t exist, and we’d have no knowledge of the force. Midichlorial disorders often erupt as brain diseases, such as autism.”
  • “midichloria DNA (mtDNRey)” and “ReyTP”

And so on. I even put the legendary Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise monologue in the paper:

darth-plagueis-science

Ironically, I’m not even a big Star Wars fan. I just like the memes.

To generate the main text of the paper, I copied the Wikipedia page on ‘mitochondrion’ (which, unlike midichlorians, exist) and then did a simple find/replace to turn mitochondr* into midichlor*. I then Rogeted the text, i.e. I reworded it (badly), because the main focus of the sting was on whether journals would publish a ridiculous paper, not whether they used a plagiarism detector (although Rogeting is still plagiarism in my book.)

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]”. Reference 7 cited an article on Rogeting followed by “The majority of the text in the current paper was Rogeted from Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrion Apologies to the original authors of that page.”

*

Credit where credit’s due, a number of journals rejected the paper: Journal of Translational Science (OAText); Advances in Medicine (Hindawi); Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access (OMICS).

Two journals requested me to revise and resubmit the manuscript. At JSM Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (JSciMedCentral) both of the two peer reviewers spotted and seemingly enjoyed the Star Wars spoof, with one commenting that “The authors have neglected to add the following references: Lucas et al., 1977, Palpatine et al., 1980, and Calrissian et al., 1983”. Despite this, the journal asked me to revise and resubmit.

At the Journal of Molecular Biology and Techniques (Elyns Group), the two peer reviewers didn’t seem to get the joke, but recommended some changes such as reverting “midichlorians” back to “mitochondria.”

Finally, I should note that as a bonus, “Dr Lucas McGeorge” was sent an unsolicited invitation to serve on the editorial board of this journal.

*

So does this sting prove that scientific publishing is hopelessly broken? No, not really. It’s just a reminder that at some “peer reviewed” journals, there really is no meaningful peer review at all. Which we already knew, not least from previous stings, but it bears repeating.

This matters because scientific publishers are companies selling a product, and the product is peer review. 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. Preprint archives, blogs, your own website – it’s easy to get something on the internet. Peer review is what supposedly justifies the price of publishing.

All of the nine publishers I stung are known to send spam to academics, urging them to submit papers to their journals. I’ve personally been spammed by almost all of them. All I did, as Lucas McGeorge, was test the quality of the products being advertised.

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  • OWilson

    Not too surprising to me, because you are quite literate, and technical content is obviously in demand for today’s hungry journals.

    I believe our erstwhile regular Uncle Al could be a regular contributor to some of them. Get the jargon right and a cab driver could do brain surgery in a hospital, before they find out his cab is double parked! :)

    But there is no field more needy than climate “science” which will grasp at any scenario however contrived, that helps push the AGW meme.

    In these days of “consensus” following and Politically Correct “conventional wisdom”, critical thinking has little currency!

    • Durknit Pentex

      Had to stick the climate denial thing in there, didn’t you? Look to yourself for a critical lack of “critical thinking.” Next you’ll be on about liberals.

      • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

        “liberals” Progressives.

      • Paul Rain

        You should be ashamed of yourself. It’s people like you who are turning the frogs gay.

        • Erik Bosma

          Although, there’s nothing wrong about that… just sayin’.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

            Pray the frogs’ gay away

          • AussieM

            Can we make all the cane toads in Australia gay though, so we can stop them spreading?

          • smut clyde

            Don’t blame me if they start humping the echidnas.

        • Charles Vermont

          Laugh it up, fuzzball.

      • https://allowlive.com/floyd-mayweather-vs-conor-mcgregor-live-stream/ watch mayweather vs mcgregor

        “Beyond supplying cellular energy, midichloria perform functions such as Force sensitivity…”

    • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

      CHEMTECH 23 (11) IBC (1993), 22 (12) IBC (1992), 22 (7) OBC (1992), 21(1) IBC (1991), 20(10) OBC (1990), 20 (7) OBC (1990), 20 (4) 193 (1990) [IBC, Inside Back Cover; OBC, Outside BC].
      I particularly enjoyed the “Citrostellar Device,” a planet-shatterer based upon thinly sliced chilled grapefruit.

    • HaroldCallahan

      Even GW deniers have nothing to say about ocean acidification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification

  • Денис Бурчаков

    Hilarious. Applaudo.

  • http://www.mazepath.com/uncleal/qz4.htm Uncle Al

    Do not disparage your valid ratio of female to male authorship, though 2:1 battles patriarchal oppression. Content is secondary to embracing all voices..

    http://www.perspectivalrealism(.)org/about-us/
    …Objective reality arises from perception, history, and political propinquity.
    netwar(.)wordpress(,)com/2007/07/03/feminist-epistemology/
    …Science is invalid for violating social intent.
    www(.)iep(.)utm(.)edu/fem-stan/
    …“women’s lived experiences, particularly experiences of (caring) work, is the beginning of scientific inquiry.” Philoso-enuresis.

    WHAT DO WE WANT? Evidenced-based science.
    WHEN DO WE WANT IT? After peer review.

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  • Fox2

    You should have added Sokal, 1996 as a reference

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Good idea!

    • Tabbycat

      I live in Sokal.

  • Khaldoon Aljerian

    FYI

    Midichloria are real

    http://web.mst.edu/~microbio/BIO221_2007/M_mitochondrii.htm
    “Midichloria midochondrii is a gram negative, non motile, and non spore forming bacteria. It is the only bacteria as of December 2006 to be described as an endosymbiote of a mitochondria.”

    https://parasitesandvectors.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13071-015-0958-3
    Inhibition of the endosymbiont “Candidatus Midichloria mitochondrii” during 16S rRNA gene profiling reveals potential pathogens in Ixodes ticks from Australia

    • Disqustd

      We know it’s real, there are journals that published the information.

      • Khaldoon Aljerian

        That is great! I just wanted to clarify it for others.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      I didn’t know that!

      “The name of this bacterial genus, Midichloria (mi.di.chlo’ria. N.L. fem. n.), is derived from the midi-chlorians, a symbiotic, microscopic life form described in the fictional Star Wars universe.[1]”

      • Khaldoon Aljerian

        Thank you!

    • mlmontagne

      But do they modulate force sensitivity?

      • Khaldoon Aljerian

        In the “Star Wars” version they do, according to the information above. In real life they are bacterial organisms.

        • mlmontagne

          Yes, I was kidding. It is fascinating though, and amusing, that someone has named an actual biological entity after a thing in Star Wars.

          • Khaldoon Aljerian

            Lol…sorry I didn’t catch it the first time around. Sarcasm can be missed sometimes especially in writing.
            The author is definitely amazing and creative. It is very entertaining when a scientist has a sense of humour.

  • The Mgt.

    I like these papers! Unfortunately, most of them get retracted sooner or later even though they are valuable pieces of 21st century literature. The star wars hoax is not bad – but I have to admit that the “Conceptual penis as a social construct” was of higher quality.
    We definitely need an HF (hoax factor) in addition to the IF!

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      They’re slightly different. The ‘conceptual penis’ was more of a parody whereas this is a spoof.

      • saymwah

        I think the difference is that your Star Wars paper goes after predatory journals, who thoroughly deserve it, whereas hoaxes like “Conceptual Penis” and the Sokal article were unkind attempts to make an entire field look stupid for no reason other than the hoaxers thought the field was stupid.

        As regrettable as it is that it was possible in both of these cases that incoherent nonsense got published, the predators in those cases were the hoaxers. Academic “exposé” hoaxers are of the same ilk as dishonest, ideologically-motivated jackasses like James O’Keefe.

        • TheRatiocinator

          One man’s “unkind” is another man’s “necessary”. Sokal’s was wonderful, and if anyone was made to look stupid, well, not publishing the paper was always an option . . .

        • Banjo

          O’Keefe is doing valuable work the bought-and-sold mainstream stooges won’t because they too are “ideologically-motivated.”

        • Guessed

          James O’Keefe is doing God’s work in exposing the liberal left’s lies and hypocrisy.
          There. I said it.
          Hoaxers who ridicule a field for its silliness will either be caught by serious adherents who review the hoax paper, or the adherents of a silly world view will embrace the stupid and be revealed as idiots. Deservedly.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

            There, you said it. That doesn’t make it true, though. There, I said it.

          • Hairof Thefrog

            I think I stumbled into a right wing wacko echo chamber…..James O’Keefe???? That clown should be in jail….or maybe stoned in public by his many victim’s.

          • Turtler

            How cute. Saying someone should be killed because You don’t Like Them……

            Because apparently a proven criminal like the younger Moran (who has been convicted for his crimes) deserve to add murder to their rap sheets.

          • Jon Carry

            Behold the classic Liberal! Like all Left-wing ideologues, he is in favor of killing those who oppose him.

          • Ian Walker

            you be discoursing with a room full of sock puppets, generated and wrangled by an alien AI… Read your Gibson – they be writing loas in your mind…

        • S.M. Stirling

          That’s because the entire field IS stupid. There’s no there there.

          • werewife

            If you are THE S.M. Stirling, I just wanted to let you know that The Peshawar Lancers, The Sky People, and In the Halls of the Crimson Kings are great favorites of mine! Also, that this comment is wonderfully pithy.

          • Jesse Kotel

            I personally loved the Raj Whitehall series he wrote with David Drake

        • Jon Carry

          James O’Keefe has done brilliant work exposing the lies of the Swamp.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

            Are you confusing him with James Comey?

          • Jon Carry

            Wut? James Comey is the Swamp.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

            Trump praised Comey for draining the Swamp, until it became clear that Trump was the Swamp and was in danger of being drained by Comey.

            Jeff Sessions likewise.

          • Ian Walker

            It is only because Trump wants to build a Hotel on the swamp… And Comey once asked me how to hide in the presence of the potus, in an environment sparse of cover – a difficult ask for a tall man whose hour had cometh… I suggested the curtains, he didn’t quite make it…

          • Hairof Thefrog

            If you can say that with a straight face, you need mental help.

        • earthtone55

          The hoaxers were conducting a controlled experiment. “Is the field stupid”? Then they went and proved their hypothesis. That’s called “science”.

          As to O’Keefe, I can see why you hate him, though pretty hard to see how he’s dishonest. He publishes videos of people making jackasses out of themselves. Again. . .”science”.

          • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

            The hoaxers hoaxed one journal. That proves little about a whole field.

            My spoof proves nothing about a whole field either but at least I admit it.

          • earthtone55

            I was being snarky in response to the above, but if you really wanted to, you could do a “controlled experiment” on every journal in one particular field to see how rigorous the exclusion criteria are.

            It would be fun to come up with BS papers and submit them to EVERY journal in EVERY field just to compare the level of BS detection.

            Still, you wouldn’t necessarily prove anything about the merits of research in these fields, just the journals. Presumably the two correlate, but that’s also hard to prove.

          • saymwah

            I seem to remember Sokal saying at around the time of the Social Text thing that he only showed that it was an intellectually unrigorous journal and not that he was trying to discredit an entire field. But it strains credibility that someone like Alan Sokal, who must surely have better things to do, would go through the trouble of writing a phony article and the subsequent back-and-forth with the editors just to take aim at a single minor journal. And he must surely have known that the right would be all over his stunt as evidence of the liberal rot in academia.

          • Turtler

            “The hoaxers hoaxed one journal. That proves little about a whole field.

            My spoof proves nothing about a whole field either but at least I admit it.”

            A very good point. At most it’s a case study about the relevant journals in a couple fields.

            (And in at least one case- like those that understood a spoof- it might be because they could use some strait laced humor in their work.)

            One must not torture the evidence beyond what it can support, and the entire that an entire field can be discredited or eliminated just because of a few sting like this.

            But it can be valuable.

          • https://printablecalendar365.com/free-printable-september-2017-calendar-holidays/ Printable Calendar

            I agreed with you.

          • The Wise Wizard

            O’Keefe posts videos that have been edited to change the meaning and context presented in the videos. He’s a liar and a fraud.

          • BillK

            Videos you can download the unedited raw video of should you so desire.

          • lurker by nature

            They weren’t though.

            “Conceptual Penis” hoaxers dishonestly tried to claim that publishing in a predatory pay-to-play journal said something about the field they wanted to make look bad, when the predatory journal was not only clearly predatory but didn’t even claim to publish in the field the hoaxers were trying to make look bad.

            Not only is that not called “science”, it makes anyone who aligns themselves with the hoaxers look intellectually bankrupt.

            Nor is splicing together video edited to make it look like people said and did things they didn’t actually say or do “science”. That’s what is called “fraud”. Unless it’s done by Sacha Baron Cohen, in which case it’s called “fiction”.

        • Mike Jaeger

          People don’t wanna know the truth. Truth is treason in the empire of lies…
          If enough people believe a lie, it becomes socially acceptable. This is what the political propaganda machine of the US Government counts on. James O’Keefe is just putting it on display.

        • Jimpithecus

          Do you feel this way about whistle blowers in general?

        • Turtler

          ” whereas hoaxes like “Conceptual Penis” and the Sokal article were unkind attempts to make an entire field look stupid for no reason other than the hoaxers thought the field was stupid.”

          You say that as if they were a bad thing. In reality peer review and other honest review is precisely about trying as hard as you can to break something so that it can be rebuilt better.

          Were the hoaxes unkind? Perhaps but far less unkind than having honest, credible people be taken in and duped by journals and people that were either utterly corrupt or too lacking in rigor to detect. Masquerading as a credible source when you are not is unkind to those who depend on you.

          And guess what? The field or at least the entities that fell for it PROVED to be stupid by accepting it.

          “As regrettable as it is that in both of these cases incoherent nonsense got published, the predators in those cases were the hoaxers. ”

          Predators are not always bad.

          And the idea that the corrupt, the stupid, the dishonest, the lazy, or some combination of the aforementioned somehow have some right to be treated just as nicely or credibly as anybody else is not just bumpkins, it is actively harmful to the field. If you want an example of what can happen without enough quality assurance, take a look at Steam Greenlight.

          “Academic “exposé” hoaxers are of the same ilk as dishonest, ideologically-motivated jackasses like James O’Keefe.”

          That’s not the insult you think it is.

          A: Why the scare quotes around expose? This was an expose. Whether or not you agree with it is irrelevant.

          B: Can you pray tell point to a case where O’Keefe was dishonest?

          Because the most credible thing I’ve seen levied against him is “creative” or biased editing, which can be a point…..

          ….. except he takes pains to release the raw data; the unedited feed for people to look at. So ironically O’Keefe is honest enough that he provides the evidence used against him re the editing agenda when otherwise it would be a hessaid she said scenario.

          And finally…

          C: Being ideologically motives and a jackass does not mean you are wrong. In many cases it can be hugely beneficial. Hence adversarial reviews. Because many of the people who will be most motivated to find problems and keep people honest are those with a vested interest in going after the given people or thesis. Have balance from neutrals and friendlies and then see.

          “I seem to remember Sokal saying at around the time of the Social Text thing that he only showed that it was an intellectually unrigorous journal and not that he was trying to discredit an entire field.”

          Which is apropos to what his hoax proved, and I think those claiming it proved more are wrongheaded.

          “But it strains credibility that someone like Alan Sokal, who must surely have better things to do, ”

          Who judges what is a better thing to do? Science Commissars? The Geogeaphic Gestapo? Some committee?

          Scientists may live in a community and work in teams but they exist as individuals with their own motives and agendas. Leave them as they will. Frankly I think few people are better equipped to figure out what the best thing Sokal can do with his time than Sokal.

          “would go through the trouble of writing a phony article and the subsequent back-and-forth with the editors just to take aim at a single minor journal.”

          Well it makes sense and is a valuable service. There’s a reason why White Hat Hackers try to break open systems and the military has an Opfor.

          ” And he must surely have known that the right would be all over his stunt as evidence of the liberal rot in academia.”

          To which I say “Why should that affect anything?”

          Granted I am a member of the right but the fact remains just as true for Young Earth Creationists or the Tobacco Industry. The idea that people should avoid debunking or running tests on a given group for fear of it empowering the evil people who vote differently from oneself is perverting the scientific method and one’s integrity as a scholar.

          • saymwah

            Way wrong. Sokal deliberately chose Social Text because at the time it wasn’t a peer-reviewed journal. Then he refused to rewrite as the editors asked. He only got published because he was a famous physicist.

          • Turtler

            “Way wrong. Sokal deliberately chose Social Text because at the time
            it wasn’t a peer-reviewed journal.”

            But it was also prestigious. It was an assessment of how well they were.

            “Then he refused to rewrite as the editors asked. ”

            Indeed, much like this expose did. Again, this is supposed to be a problem?

            “He only got published because he was a famous physicist.”

            …. And whose fault is THAT?

            Because you want to paint it as if Sokal was a big meanie for doing it. But you seem to exonerate Social Text and others for not taking the time to up their standards, and in this memorable case not even bothering to stick to their own demands for a rewrite because they got blinded by the “oooh Famous Scientist” issue.

            In other words, falling victim to an appeal to authority and betraying what little of their internal standards they had because of it.

            If this is the best defence you have for this kind of conduct, it merely underlines why Sokal was right to do what he did. Especially since Social Text could have completely avoided this by simply not caving.

      • Ian Walker

        surely the ‘conceptual penis’ is the spoof?

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  • Timothy K. Ready

    I’d think the citing of Yoda as a source would the game away give…

    • Ulaş Çamsarı

      Bravo!

    • JiGGLeBiLLy

      Give it away, that would!

    • Saifee Rashiq

      Well played Sir !

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  • Disqustd

    FAKE NEWS! Fake science!

    • McHunt

      Fake reply

  • Debiprasad Ghosh

    Deep Reviewer will review using AI … another three years!

  • Michael Kochin

    Study of “predators journals” fatally flawed by selection bias.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      I deliberately selected “predatory” journals, but I didn’t specifically select the worst ones. For example, I suspected Hindawi would reject the paper, because they’re ‘borderline’ predatory, so I included them in the sample to be representative.

      • Michael Kochin

        In order to claim that “predatory” journals are worse than “nonpredatory journals,” you have to submit to both.

      • smut clyde

        I am happy to believe the best of Hindawi, for they are not clogging up my email account with spam. Obviously they are in the business to make money, but that is true of every publisher.
        “Rejecting your paper” is not in itself evidence of honest intentions or of a business model of selling people high standards (gate-keeping or peer-review standards. Even for a predatory / parasitic journal, the editors should have realised that “This is a sting, there will be bad headlines and gloating if we publish this”. So some of the companies in your sample did not want to publish your paper… some did so because they saw it was bad science, not even worth peer-reviewing, and some did so because they realised it was a trap. With Hindawi in the first group.

        What sting operations indicate is that some parasitic journals are so blinded by greed that they don’t care about their reputations at all. Or they decide that their business will benefit from having a reputation for willingness to print anything.

        • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

          I get mail from Hindawi, mainly invitations to submit to special issues. I got 8 of them in 2016. They’re not the worst of the spammers, but spam they do.

          • smut clyde

            Don’t give them my address!

    • FeRD

      This wasn’t a study, it was never presented as a study, and scientific rigor was neither claimed nor implied.

      • Michael Kochin

        So you agree that this article shows nothing about the merits or lack thereof of “predatory” journals as opposed to the others?

        • FeRD

          So does this sting prove that scientific publishing is hopelessly broken? No, not really. It’s just a reminder that at some “peer reviewed” journals, there really is no meaningful peer review at all.

          Emphasis mine.

  • Nicholas Fonseca

    Is peer review really what you are paying for? My understanding was that the individuals doing the peer review do it for free. Maybe you are paying for type setting? Or maybe paying for impact factors that have been shown to be unscientific?

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      The peer reviewers don’t get paid, that’s true. But “peer reviewed” are the magic words you’ll find in any spam e-mail from a predatory journal. The promise of access to the “peer reviewed” literature is why people submit to them.

      You’re right that they perform typesetting, but no-one would pay $360 (or more) just for typesetting.

      • Nicholas Fonseca

        My point exactly, they are really not doing type setting at all. It isn’t as though they are working on printing presses or using some kind of weird photo typesetting machine. We have computers, and the individual submitting probably had to follow guidelines for formatting their document. And they don’t pay peer reviewers. It seems the reviewers are probably not really reviewing the papers at all; more likely taking a quick look to see if it looks “sciency enough” That is where you have to ask yourself if it is worth paying for the “publishing” aspect at all. If the reviewers aren’t filtering fake science before these things are “published” what are you paying for? You are paying for prestige. Again, if they aren’t reviewing the paper or putting any real effort into typesetting what are you paying for? I understand upkeep for the digital repository and paying people to run the operation costs money so it cant be “free” but it doesn’t sound like you are getting what you pay for.

  • DutchS

    So does this sting prove that scientific publishing is hopelessly broken? YES. Just like all the other innumerable stings targeting both journals and trade publications. Peer review is a coarse screen like chain link fence. It doesn’t stop even ridiculous crap from getting by, and beyond a certain point it is as likely to block worthwhile papers as to block garbage. It’s a scandal how many scholars ignore the evidence for the worthlessness of peer review in the face of so much evidence. On a par with climate denial.

    • Grim Beard

      “does this sting prove that scientific publishing is hopelessly broken? YES. ”

      No, it demonstrates that peer-review is broken (or non-existent) *in these journals*. When these sort of fake papers make it into something like the BMJ (http://www.bmj.com/) then we’ll know that scientific publishing as a whole is broken.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

        Agreed.

      • kfunk937

        Although we do have the BMJ to thank for publishing this. I’m still on the fence as to whether it is better qualified as parody or satire, but as criticism of the “no vaxxed versus unvaxxed studies” claim, it was pithy, and ranks among my favourite useful, but not-science papers (along with the one described here.

        • Ben

          I’m still on the fence…

          I’m not going to say it.

    • OWilson

      Peer Review is hopelessly overrated anyway.

      I mean, I’m as sane as the next guy, but look at who the next guy is!

      • smut clyde

        [Looks around] Me?

  • http://arturotozzi.webnode.it/ Arturo Tozzi cns

    I wonder whether you will put it in your CV.

  • StanUlam

    Published it indeed, you did.

    • Rick Caird

      Nice subtle reference.

      • orangesec

        These are in fact the droids you are looking for.

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  • IAMCHINO

    Which of those journals are indexed by reputable organizations like Thompson Reuters?

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      None, to my knowledge. Reputable journals wouldn’t have accepted this paper. However, unfortunately, there are lots of disreputable journals these days out to make money.

    • Sepilok

      there are some dodgy journals on WoS and also Scopus.

  • http://www.southernmanblog.com/ Southern Man

    At most universities, publication is a requirement for tenure. Therefore, there is a demand for journals that will publish – well, anything – and a market has risen to meet that demand. Is there anyone who is surprised at this?

    • DavidT

      I think we can parse this is little more finely. A very large percentage of these predatory journals are published in Asia and India, and it’s the universities in those countries in which promotion and tenure — and raises — depend upon simple publication, while in most American and European universities promotion and tenure rely upon publication in peer-reviewed, high-status journals. That doesn’t mean that the occasional Western scholar doesn’t publish in a predatory journal, but academic departments, deans, and promotion committees are usually very sensitive to the status of journals, and typically do not award benefits, promotions, etc on the basis on those sketchy publications.

      • mlmontagne

        I don’t understand the term, “Predatory journal.” What does it mean?

        • Jimpithecus

          A predatory journal is one that will advertise to academics that it will publish their work for a fee and will usually do so, very few questions asked. They will, as the current case demonstrates, publish low-quality to no-quality work.

      • saymwah

        Good point. This reminds me a bit of first-world trolling of third-world internet scammers, like the story James Veitch tells in his TED talk. It’s funny if you’re privileged enough to punch down at minor-league third-world criminals who might not have decent alternative ways of making a living.

        So maybe another way to view the rise of predatory journals is that in a perverse way they give scientists in developing countries–who generally lag far behind scientists in developed countries–access to the career advancement that we get to take for granted.

        • Turtler

          “It’s funny if you’re privileged enough to punch down at minor-league third-world criminals who might not have decent alternative ways of making a living.”

          Screw the “proof little third world ecrimimals” meme, it is funny no matter how you cut it.

          Firstly because the meme isn’t generally true. 419eater (which mostly covers email scams but has the same principle here) goes into this a fair deal. http://www.419eater.com/html/ethics.htm

          See point 4.

          The tldr is generally that the people innocent scam artist meme is generally a lie. One posited by criminals themselves. And ironically it generally gets advanced by people who struggle to get by MUCH less than their law abiding countrymen and who prey upon the innocent domestically and abroad. They are like La Cosa Nostra from Lagos or El Chapo from Calcutta.

          And that’s for comparatively lowbrow, poorly spelt emails. The sophistication and time to set up a predatory journal is significantly more, and so probably attracts the cream of the gangs or at least well off white collar criminals.

          Again, these people tend to. Victimize those closest to them more than most.

          But Let’s set all that aside and assume that this particular journal really is run from somebody’s shack in Joburg and really is used to feed the family.

          To which I say: why should THAT change anything? Email baiting is still a crime, and running a sub par for profit journal is at least ethically dishonest. The idea that the people responsible for this should be able to make Special Plead after Special Plead to get out of the due consequences for their action is a slap to the face of their more honest and rigorous peers.

          And finally, as someone who has done self defense: the entire idea of “punching down” as some kind of moral qualifier is stupid. It doesn’t really matter from an ethical or moral standpoint if you are punching up or down, it matters what it IS you are punching. For the same reason you could punching the pinned body of a toddler or a murderous home invader.

          “So maybe another way to view the rise of predatory journals is that in a perverse way they give scientists in developing countries–who generally lag far behind scientists in developed countries–access to the career advancement that we get to take for granted”

          Ehhh, maybe in Some cases. Issue I see is that a lot of them are present throughout the developed world, that a lot of people from developing countries can and do publish in journals of international stature, and that vanity publishing (which I distinguish from strictly predatory publishing because the former can include quality vetting) is an old way of printing indeed.

          • saymwah

            You Social Injustice Warriors have way too much time on your hands.

          • Turtler

            Not nearly as much “way too much time” as someone who finds the time make one sentence name calls of zero content.

            Oh, and “Social Injustice Warriors”? Chowderhead, you were the one trying to play apologist for crackpot or even outright CRIMINAL journalists under the logic that it there is something wrong with “punching down at” “minor-league third world criminals” just because they MIGHT “not have decent alternative ways of making a living” (which is dubious since even the low grade email scan syndicates tend to be quite well off, let alone more sophisticated scams like fake journals).

            That’s actually going to bat for ACTUAL Social Injustice, as well as good old fashioned CRIMINAL Injustice (since last I checked, fraud is a crime virtually everywhere, including in the likes of Nigeria, Bangladesh, and so on).

            If the label “Social Injustice Warrior” fits on someone in this conversation, it’s You.

          • saymwah

            Sorry for triggering you.

          • Turtler

            If you should be sorry for anything, it should be how you do not care enough about your own points and claims to argue them.

            Second up should be why you decided to be a literal Social Injustice Warrior online by defending the crooked as if the off chance they can’t get gainful employment justifies what they did.

            And honestly, after dealing with some dodgy scumbags in places like Namibia (who are not that far removed from the scambait email goons or the predatory journals) one sentence hacks on the internet don’t trigger me much.

        • Sepilok

          Saymwah predatory journals are toxic for scientists in developing countries, as it rewards the ones that cheat and take the easy path, over the ones that try to get published in peer-reviewed journals.

        • DavidT

          Sorry for the delay in replying to your comment — I’ve been traveling and just returned last night. I agree that it is important for scientists in developing countries to have access to career advancement opportunities that may be taken for granted in the developed world, but the problem identified here is the willingness of unscrupulous publishers — typically in the same developing countries — to exploit these weak systems of reward. I would not excuse sloppy or faulty research on the simple grounds that publishing bad work is the only way to achieve advancement; I would, however, fault publishers who promise high quality journals and then deliver junk.

          I was reminded that we have a similar problem with health care financing in the States — a vast system of companies search out ways to make profit off of loopholes in insurance payments, opaque medical bills, etc. I’m been reading Elisabeth Rosenthal’s new book “An American Sickness” on such scams, and it’s scary, but it’s the same problem as predatory publishers: take advantage of a need or demand in ways that exploit loopholes (such as weak oversight of quality).

          • saymwah

            I don’t think there’s any *justification* for predatory journals. My point was only that they’re opportunistically filling a demand that results from structural inequality in the same way that predatory “payday” lenders do. Until the underlying cause is addressed, there will always be opportunistic predators.

          • DavidT

            True that! — I think we agree completely, and I was only addressing that issue of the underlying causes, which, as you note with payday lenders, and I note with ‘drive-by physician consults’ — pop up in response to opportunities.

    • Charles Vermont

      These aren’t the academics you’re looking for.

    • Biologyteacher100

      I often have mentored young untenured professors. They know that publishing in one of these fake, predatory journals is a black mark against their tenure and promotion. Every scientist knows the names of 20 to 50 legitimate journals in his or her specialty.

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  • CL

    on spam:

    When you look at the dark side, careful you must be … for the dark side looks back.

  • http://www.churchofreality.org mperkel

    Are you trying to tell me Star Wars isn’t real?!?

  • Will

    Thankfully, PLOS One isn’t on the list!

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  • http://www.Bullshido.net Phrost

    I don’t have anything substantial to add to this, but kudos!

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Thanks!

  • smut clyde

    as a bonus, “Dr Lucas McGeorge” was sent an unsolicited invitation to serve on the editorial board of this journal.

    That is worth noting, for there has been speculation about the prospects of the “Control Zinianz” project, with some people reluctant to write them off as parasitical (despite the massive spamming). But if Zinianz found out so quickly of Lucas McGeorge’s scholarly ambitions and set out to exploit him, it is another scam from one of the publishers you contacted.

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  • Augray

    What’s needed is a comprehensive list of “peer reviewed” BS journals and a way to flag every reference to them in resume, CV and bibliography. “Publish or perish” might then rightfully become “publish and perish.”

    • Guessed

      It is a fool’s errand. I get two invitations per day to submit something to some obviously bogus journal and I block them all. But they keep coming, with different names, editors, URLs, etc. They are like hydra; block one and two more pop up.

      • Marco

        Same with the predatory conferences. I found out some time ago that allied academies ltd is (now?) led by Gedala, the man who owns Omics.

      • Augray

        About right. Maybe a better solution would be to encourage universities to have a publication whitelist. Publish [in one of these] or perish..

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  • dannyR

    “I wanted to test whether ‘predatory’ journals would publish an obviously absurd paper” [emph. added]

    It’s pss-poor journalism, let alone science, to attempt a falsification of something already determined to be compromised. I’d want an equal number of gold-standard journals tested.

  • TsuDhoNimh

    “Rogeting” is the same as “content spinning” or “article spinning” and there is software that does it for you.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_spinning

    https://www.creativecali.com/bad-seo-content-spinning/

    • kfunk937

      Makes one nostalgic for the good old days a plagarist could just walk in with a thesis snipped out of the university library’s hard-bound set, complete with the library’s edge stamps.

  • monkeyonfire

    Piltdown midichlorions!

  • tamper

    I am looking for a research collaborator. I’m currently trying to establish a link between vaccination against Huttese measles and force sensitivity. My research was spurred by anecdotal reports of highly force sensitive individuals originating from Tatooine where vaccination is common due to the large numbers of Hutt gangsters acting as a natural reservoir of the pathogenic virus.

    Please contact Sid Ious at the Central Research Institute on Coruscant.

    • WaitWhut

      Do it.

  • DanielAMcAllen

    ” “The authors have neglected to add the following references: Lucas et al., 1977, Palpatine et al., 1980, and Calrissian et al., 1983”. Despite this, the journal asked me to revise and resubmit.”

    I bet they wanted to publish and see who noticed. I suspect most scholarly journals could use the occasional levity.

    • dannyR

      It has crossed my mind that a journal might straitfacedly publish something so clearly Onion-worthy to a technically informed readership just to enjoy the hilarity-ensuement.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

        That does happen, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t happen in this case, because two of the journals that published the paper have since deleted it.

    • earthtone55

      Could be. Alternatively, the journal has a policy of never outright rejecting ANY manuscript. Its always, “polish this up and send it back then we’ll take another look”.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

        Yes, I think that’s it, but it’s a questionable policy, since some papers, like this one, are unfixable.

        • earthtone55

          Presumably the authors would get discouraged making revisions and re-submissions LONG before the reviewers tired of reading them. So it would be up to the author to pull the plug.

          Still, I agree, if something really looks utterly unpublishable (eg lets say I submitted something to objectively the wrong journal) the reviewers would be doing everyone involved a favor by saying so. In your case, since the reviewers effectively winked at your hoax, rejection with instructions to revise the paper then resubmit could also be viewed as a sort of counter-hoax.

          • Sepilok

            Earthtone55 – I take it you aren’t a reviewer. I get really pissed off when editors send my article for review that should have been culled at the initial submission stage. Reviewer (generally) aren’t paid for their efforts, so we don’t want to have to deal with rubbish.

  • Yehiel

    “Science” is settled.

  • Rick Caird

    I am not a fan of peer review. This points out what we already knew: Peer review is nothing more than cursory look at the paper and sometimes not even that.

    I am reminded of the Rogoff and Reinhardt (This Time is Different” ) who wrote a paper on government debt that was peer reviewed and published. A year or two later a grad student wrote to them explaining he could not reach the same values in the spreadsheet they did. It turned out there was an error in the spreadsheet. No one who “peer reviewed” the paper ever really bothered to check it. Peer review is at best a “sanity check” by reviewers who hold similar opinions.

    Don’t ever get me started on global warming papers. No one ever checks the calculations of the “adjustments” to the underlying temperature data.

    Peer review is an empty term that turns out to be meaningless.

    • Marco

      It is an abject lie that no one checks the adjustments. There probably is no field where such checks are done so routinely as in climate science! Case-in-point: last year’s Nature paper from NCEI was reproduced by several bloggers within a few weeks.
      Also, there are literally five major groups around the world that make a surface station record, each using their own methodology: NASA GISS, NOAA NCEI, BEST, JMA and HADCRUT. They all give very similar results. Most importantly, BEST was done as a ‘red team’ exercise, and yet it gives essentially the same result, too.
      Climate naysayers of course then decided BEST was part of the conspiracy…

      • Rick Caird

        It is not an abject lie, you fool. They all use the same underlying data and apply their own adjustments to it. In the case of NOAA, they adjust the adjustments to continue to show warming. That is the key, the adjustment always increase the warming. Now, my point was addressed to peer review. Are you seriously claiming the peer reviewers go through and check the validity of the adjustments by recomputing them? Of course, you don’t believe that.

        Now, see this paper (peer reviewed no less):

        https://thsresearch.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/ef-gast-data-research-report-062717.pdf

        And commentary:

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/07/06/bombshell-study-temperature-adjustments-account-for-nearly-all-of-the-warming-in-government-climate-data/

        • Marco

          You refer me to WUWT and call *me* a fool?? Oh dear.

          Yes, all five use the same raw data and different approaches to correct for known issues. All five end up with essentially the same end-result. What does that tell you?

          Well, since you refer me to WUWT, it tells you “it must be a big conspiracy!”, while ignoring that the adjustments overall *reduce* the warming:
          http://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-how-data-adjustments-affect-global-temperature-records
          See also https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/01/thorough-not-thoroughly-fabricated-the-truth-about-global-temperature-data/

          But this is data you do not like, so I am sure you will dismiss it. Five independent groups getting essentially the same result? Conspiracy!

          • Rick Caird

            I referered you to the original paper and then the commentary. Of course, I knew you were not capable of reading the original paper, so I tried to get you some help. So, tell me how WUWT ,isinterprets the paper. Of course, you can’t.

          • Marco

            So you refer me to a pseudoskeptic website to read the commentary on a paper written by three people who have just about no discernable expertise in the field…falsely assuming I would not be capable of reading the paper. I am fully capable, and clearly more capable than any of those who signed off as peer reviewers. After all, I would already have started by saying that NCDC no longer exists. It has been NCEI for two years already, which any competent person in the field would know (and I don’t even work in this field! Can you imagine the incompetence of those who reviewed it?). Then there’s the “There was a major station dropout (75% of the stations), which occurred suddenly around 1990”, which shows the authors (and reviewers) are not even aware of why this is; a hint: it is not a drop-out, but the long, hard work in the early 1990s to collect data from non-reporting surface stations.

            But most importantly, any competent reviewer would have asked several tough questions. For example: but how about BEST? Why is that not included? And then followed that question with: what cyclical pattern are you talking about? Where is your analysis of said cyclical pattern, and how would an increase in data (new stations) affect your analysis? A competent reviewer would also have questioned the graphs in section V, as the authors suddenly solely use Tmax, rather than Taverage, which was used in the earlier sections. A competent reviewer would also question whether it is valid to use the “days above x degrees” statistics, since those are not corrected for the change in instrumentation going from the 1940s to more recent times. A final death hit from any competent reviewer would be to point out that you cannot just make any step changes without doing a proper analysis (figure VI-1), so how would the linear trend look like? (hint: it is virtually the same as that for HADCRUT 4), and why the frick did you use RSS TLT v3.3 data, when RSS itself says it contains a known cool bias?!

            Sooo many obvious problems, and neither authors nor reviewers noticed them. Or equally likely, did not care. Intended result achieved: some people can once again play ostrich.

            Oh, but since I am not an expert in this field, allow me to also point out the criticism of someone who is, Victor Venema:

            http://variable-variability.blogspot.nl/2017/07/NOAA-NASA-Hadley-CRU-Global-Average-Surface-Temperature-Data-EPA-CO2-Endangerment-Finding-best-project.html
            make sure to click on the link for the report with Victor’s annotations. You might learn something – but the ease with which you linked to the paper and WUWT suggests to me that you will not do so, because it will rattle your core beliefs.

    • Charles Vermont

      I find your lack of faith disturbing.

      • Rick Caird

        I don’t know to take your “disturbing”.

        • Jimpithecus

          You missed the Star Wars reference.

  • Ed Minchau

    The academic journal paradigm made sense when publishing and distribution was expensive. When the Internet was still DARPAnet, hyperlinks were invented to make citation and redirection easy. This is why the Internet was created in the first place: to replace the academic journal system with something that allows worldwide publication and cross-referencing for low cost and no (or very little) time delay.

    It no longer makes sense to have the printed journal system. The Internet is entrenched. Anyone can publish an academic paper as a PDF file. Anyone can start a blog and publish their PDF there. The peer review process becomes not just a small group of referees, but a worldwide audience leaving their own comments on a blog. Footnotes becomes hyperlinks and citation becomes trackbacks.

    I think the future of academic publishing is not on paper at all, but as some combination of arXiv and blogs.

  • Chi Huavara

    The science is settled!

    • Chi Huavara

      Or, settled the science is. You pick.

  • Tóth János

    No reason to sting predatory journals as it is well known that they publish everything submitted, if not for the APCs then for the content they desperately need to attract more authors. I believe that even though there are ethical issues to consider beforehand, properly developed stings could help science. For example; submitting a very weak and obviously flawed (but not nonsensical) manuscript to a well-chosen sample of legit journals could highlight real problems if not screened out during the early phases of the peer review cycle. But submitting fake papers to fake journals, that is unproductive and entirely self-serving, with no genuine additional value to the scientific community.

    • earthtone55

      Value is to the public and to those on the fringes of academia to raise awareness of the fake journals.

      The real, problem, incidentally, isn’t fake articles submitted to fake journals. The real problem is real articles with fake data being submitted to real journals.

      • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

        That’s also a big problem.

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  • http://www.headlice.org Sukwinder Dixit

    Maybe this explain why Anakin Walker have so bad acting

  • mlmontagne

    Good Lord! This makes Alan Sokal’s hoax paper look like a model of scientific prudence by comparison. This paper should not be read while eating or drinking anything.

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  • Charles Riggs

    Brilliant!

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  • Pat Popov

    Was Dr Annette Kin invited to serve on the editorial board as well?

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Not yet!

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  • Jimpithecus

    Now someone needs to write a paper about the dangers of dihydrogen monoxide.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      It causes Yoda’s ataxia.

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  • James McGinn

    Unfortunately all of science has evolved into a clusterfuck of consensus-based nonsense. And it is not a new thing. Many scientific disciplines have sacred assumptions that they refuse to scrutinize, often because funding is in some way attached to it.

    • IskurBlast

      Agreed and its even worse in the soft sciences like physiology. I study personality disorders as a hobby and the DSM is a travesty. A bunch of grey hairs refusing to update their theories based on what the empirical evidence is telling us because it would invalidate some seminal paper they wrote 3 decades ago.

      You can make arguments to young psychologists or students with hard evidence from brain scans to back up your point and they will go ‘nuh uh the DSM says xxxx’. They treat it like its the bible.

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  • Mnestheus

    As your contribution to Sokalist Realism has been reprinted by the world’s most widely read climate disinformation blog, Watts Up With That , perhaps you can persuade Watts to lobby for your elevation to the Editorship of the next edition of the Heartland Institutes epic anti-encyclopeia of climate quackery.

    With you on board, S. Fred Singer and the other collators of The Non-Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report could reach for the stars with The Report of The Non-Intergalactic Panel on Chloroplast Change on the age old question : are Death Stars changing the weather?

    At the very least you should get a trip to China out of it:
    https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2016/11/not-only-nixon-could-go-to-china.html

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Well, here’s my message to Watts Up With That:

      The key difference between my Star Wars paper and your blog is that I meant my paper as a joke.

      • Ron Turner

        You meant it as a joke because you are a joke.

      • Ron Turner

        Look at the URL, moron!

        • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

          My message wasn’t in response to the link. It was just a general message for WUWT.

        • FeRD

          I like the class inherent in Ron’s response, though. (Retracted only if, by some slim chance, the comment was directly intended as a reference to this classic Kids In The Hall sketch. “Look skyward, moron!” remains one of my favorite phrases in the history of the English language.)

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  • HappyFollowerWictol

    Where can I get this piece please I want to read it

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Two of the journals have deleted it, but it’s still available here and should be in Google cache too.

  • jmt

    You should do a yearly update where look at Science Citation Index and see who’s citing this work now that it’s been published.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Two journals have deleted it – albeit with no retraction notice so they’re not proper retractions. It’s still available at the third journal that published it and should be in Google cache too.

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  • Gérard Escher

    the links to the published papers seem dead. Retraction ?

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  • 15 Redstones

    Where can I find the paper? All the publishers have deleted it already :(

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic Neuroskeptic

      Two of the journals have deleted it, but it’s still available here.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Two journals have deleted it, but it’s still available here!

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  • Nicholas Fonseca

    It should be pointed out that peer review isn’t BS. I personally know people who do peer review in their fields and they do put time into it. They are experts in their field and take time out of their already busy schedules to review someones paper. I feel it is wrongheaded to say all peer reviewers don’t read the papers.

  • Deejaye6

    Great, kid. Don’t get cocky!

  • Adnan Salim

    I am the Senate

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      You have control of the senate and the courts!

  • http://necada.org Marek Nečada

    This matters because scientific publishers are companies begging for (free) peer review and then selling it as a product.
    FTFY

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  • siempre44

    This illustrates supposed science journals publishing tripe but how about such old guard as National Geographic and Scientific American, and their new competitor, New Scientist? What used to be proper science publishers are now wastelands of space aliens, multiverse, string theory , climate change, and whatever politically correct click bait comes to them each month.Science publishers are just as full of fake news as the NYT , CNN, or Washington Post these days.

    • http://xfoolnature.org Doug Nusbaum

      People who deny global warming are, literally dumber than almost life forms on the planet, and that includes plants, fish, animals insects, even bacteria. Those all have enough sense to notice that the climate is getting warmer, and to move to cooler areas, such as higher elevations, and towards the poles.
      http://dnusbaum.com/AGWdeniers.html

      For those who do deny glob warming, please do not embarrass your self with a post containing some sarcasm about all the animals now (NOT) at the poles. I said moving, not moved. And like almost all ecological changes, this takes place over multiple life times, not the length of a TV show.

      • siempre44

        Doug, the climate scam is not global warming. The climate scam is the scam AROUND the warming that has been going on for 12,000 years since the end of the last Ice Age but is being used to scam money out of people. Of course the planet is warming. The scam is the apocalypse scare and the money being stolen to make people “safe” from what is the 5th interglacial period.

  • rodeoclownmonkey

    This is how academic integrity dies, to the sound of thunderous applause

  • Scientia Portal

    The links don’t work. Could you upload the paper somewhere or copy-paste the text as a Post Scriptum so we can read it for ourselves? Thanks!

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  • Andrew Porter
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  • Sergio Della Sala

    This is sagacious and entertaining. Many thanks. Though something needs to be done to stop the deluge of vanity press. In this editorial my take on the matter, with a proposal, i.e. that publications in predatory outlets be counted as negative in researchers’ career: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010945217300497

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  • Sandi Putra

    I am in awe

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  • Ian Walker

    Nice, are you familiar with the work of Gowers, the mathematician? Should look him up. On another note, there is actually some serious stuff in your paper, but maybe not where you think… The origins of creativity have bothered me for a long time, and I spoofed a platform into existence to help research it – twitter (amongst others, the web and the social web, in fact). What you have done with your spoofing may actually hold within it, new science. After all, all new science is heresy is it not? You would be astonished at what I have created via Dionysian mischief, rather than Apollonian slog (though the slog came before the mischief, I did the time before the crime – a bit prescient ‘eh?) It is this emergent, paradigm busting creativity that is the only thing that gets me out of bed (well, it actually keeps me in bed, as the twilight is, where the wild things are…) If this gets through (and I doubt it will) I ask you to ponder the subtext of the recent SW movies – the mechanisation of the force for example… And then “think”, and as a counterpoint look at the current state of affairs in the EEG world – incoherent phases spoiling the reductionist party when it comes to ICA for example, and then wonder about ‘strange matter’ much in vogue in the Physics world… Don’t sneer at whimsy, and silliness (and maybe you aren’t after all…) – it may just save us all; keep your (minds) eye out for little pink unicorns ;^D

  • stmccrea

    Well done! This should remind all of us that something being published has no necessary relationship to whether or not it is true.

  • https://www.youtube.com/user/EzeeMediaCreations Ezee Posse FM

    You Sir are an effing LEGEND! This whole sting has gave me a right good giggle. Better watch those force sensitives don’t get out of whack. It would of been great if the journals with said sting had been archived.

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/neuroskeptic/ Neuroskeptic

      Thanks!

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  • Susan Bechtel

    Stunning! Sharing!

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Neuroskeptic is a British neuroscientist who takes a skeptical look at his own field, and beyond. His blog offers a look at the latest developments in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology through a critical lens.

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