Garbage paper makes it through several open-access journals

  • #1
Pythagorean
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Main Question or Discussion Point

I will, however, point out that PLOS ONE rejected the paper (yay!) and that some Elsevier journals accepted it (jab!)

Acceptance was the norm, not the exception. The paper was accepted by journals hosted by industry titans Sage and Elsevier. The paper was accepted by journals published by prestigious academic institutions such as Kobe University in Japan. It was accepted by scholarly society journals. It was even accepted by journals for which the paper's topic was utterly inappropriate, such as the Journal of Experimental & Clinical Assisted Reproduction.

The rejections tell a story of their own. Some open-access journals that have been criticized for poor quality control provided the most rigorous peer review of all. For example, the flagship journal of the Public Library of Science, PLOS ONE, was the only journal that called attention to the paper's potential ethical problems, such as its lack of documentation about the treatment of animals used to generate cells for the experiment. The journal meticulously checked with the fictional authors that this and other prerequisites of a proper scientific study were met before sending it out for review. PLOS ONE rejected the paper 2 weeks later on the basis of its scientific quality.
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/342/6154/60.full
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Evo
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Well, the Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals was not on the accepted journal list that we use and is now defunct. It was never a valid journal. It was listed with Google Scholar, not surprised. (and notice the spelling discrepancy on the website)

http://www.jnatpharm.org/
 
  • #3
DrClaude
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Wow. Just wow.

I was especially floored by this quote:
Lader [a professor of pschopharmacology at King's College London and a fellow of the Royal Society of Psychiatrists] argues that this sting has a broader, detrimental effect as well. "An element of trust must necessarily exist in research including that carried out in disadvantaged countries," he writes. "Your activities here detract from that trust."
What a load of... If a real researcher had obtained these results and written that paper earnestly, it would have been all right, they would have been trusted?!?
 
  • #4
Mk
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I always think it is funny, the conditions under which a lie is accepted as OK.

Few people seem to be condemning those who submitted intentionally false papers to these journals.
 
  • #5
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I always think it is funny, the conditions under which a lie is accepted as OK.

Few people seem to be condemning those who submitted intentionally false papers to these journals.
How else would you expose these frauds? I guess you could find bogus papers that they had published, but that would be too much work.
 
  • #6
Pythagorean
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How else would you expose these frauds? I guess you could find bogus papers that they had published, but that would be too much work.
But there are stlll people who do that kind of thing. In this case, not looking at the publishing companies themselves, but the authors. At least, that's John Ioannidis' approach:

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science
 
  • #7
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I always think it is funny, the conditions under which a lie is accepted as OK.
Many important scientific studies are based on incomplete or wrong informations for test subjects. For example, how would you conduct the Milgram experiment without a lie?
Few people seem to be condemning those who submitted intentionally false papers to these journals.
If they make sure that those false papers don't get published, where is the problem? Those tests are crucial to check the quality of scientific journals.
 
  • #8
arildno
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I always think it is funny, the conditions under which a lie is accepted as OK.

Few people seem to be condemning those who submitted intentionally false papers to these journals.
Yes, there ARE conditions under which lies are OK.
This is one of them.
 
  • #9
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That's scary, makes me wonder about the flawed papers out there in medical sciences which are given credibility... Condemning the people who sent them is ridiculous, they're exposing the flaws in these journals.
 
  • #10
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The problem is that a lot of people wasted their time reviewing papers that were false - and for what? To expose journals that people already knew were crap. Furthermore, this was conducted by a publisher of closed-access journals - hardly an unbiased source. Had this been conducted by a university, it is unlikely it would have been approved by their human subjects ethics board.
 
  • #11
ZapperZ
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There are two different issues here, and each issue is not necessarily exclusive of the other.

First, it is a fact that there are different tiers of journals in each areas. Let's get this out of the way. If this were published in, say, Nature, then certainly there are reasons to be alarmed. Why? Because the quality control there is more strict than other many other journals. The Natures, the Sciences, the PRLs, etc. do care and pay close attention to what they publish. Now, it doesn't mean that unethical author can't sneak things in, but they have to do it in such a way that it is difficult for a referee and the editor to detect (example: the numerous discredited Schon papers). Having non-existent authors or affiliation would be something that will raise red flags in many of these well-known journals. So the type of bogus paper being highlighted here would easily be caught by these journals.

Secondly, I'm reminded of the Sokal Hoax from many years ago. Alan Sokal wanted to expose the postmodernists for what they are, which essentially boils down to them commenting on a topic on which they really know nothing about. So he wrote this non-sequitur paper that really was full of word salad, and submitted it to a well-known journal Social Text. If the journal had someone who actually understood physics and General Relativity, he/she would have easily seen it as being a total garbage. Yet, Social Text published it, only to be later embarrassed when Sokal revealed his hoax.

Now, I don't know if the people who did the paper in question have the same motif as Sokal. However, in Sokal's case, there's compelling evidence to show the flaw in post-modernists view of what they think they know, and that the publication of the Sokal paper is one clear evidence (you may read other evidence in Sokal's subsequent books). So this is more of an indictment of a whole field within philosophy, rather than just on the journal itself.

Zz.
 
  • #12
Mk
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Secondly, I'm reminded of the Sokal Hoax from many years ago. Alan Sokal wanted to expose the postmodernists for what they are, which essentially boils down to them commenting on a topic on which they really know nothing about. So he wrote this non-sequitur paper that really was full of word salad, and submitted it to a well-known journal Social Text. If the journal had someone who actually understood physics and General Relativity, he/she would have easily seen it as being a total garbage. Yet, Social Text published it, only to be later embarrassed when Sokal revealed his hoax.
Postmodernists would be the #1 people who would regard that paper as an exceptionally good postmodern paper. It's exactly the type of thing that they try to bring to light.

Example: Duchamp's "fountain"
 

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