Fake Science Sullies Sound Research

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have: predatory publishers.

For a price, some publishers will accept any article regardless of credibility.

According to a Guardian article, these publishers are churning out “fake science” for profit. The Guardian, which conducted an investigation in collaboration with German publishers NDR, WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin, notes there are a handful of “predatory open-access publishers” including India-based Omics publishing group and the Turkish World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology -- aka Waset.

Some authors are well aware of the reputations of questionable publishing houses but use the pay-for-print method to circumvent the lengthy process of peer-reviewed journals. Other authors are clueless and just assume their paper made the grade. Where it gets messy: Not every journal published by a predatory publisher is itself predatory. Some have active editorial boards, and provide real peer review. 

“You simply don’t know if the studies, which are published with Omics are good, worthless, or bad, because you cannot be sure if and what kind of editorial process or peer review takes place there,” says Svea Eckert, a researcher who worked with NDR on the investigation. “That is the problem with the predatory publishers in the end: eroding trust in science. A slowly creeping poison. Something might look like a study, but is not worth the paper where it is written on.”

As part of her research, Eckert successfully submitted an article created by the joke site SCIgen, which automatically generates gibberish computer science papers. The paper was accepted for discussion at a Waset conference, which Eckert attended and filmed for NDR.

You can read the entire Guardian article here


Traci-bio-photo.jpgTraci Purdum is Chemical Processing’s senior digital editor. She loathes shady science but adores The Facts of Life theme song.  You can email her at tpurdum@putman.net.

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  • When an author submits his paper he assumes responsibility for it. The publisher should also identify the reviewers in the published paper. Why don't they do it?

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