I published a fake paper in a ‘peer-reviewed’ journal

C C Offline

EXCERPTS (Bradley Allf): I received a strange email from a pair of academic journals [...] The email was written in a jarring mix of fonts, and riddled with formatting mistakes and bungled idioms. The editor who sent it to me had, inexplicably, attached a handbook on Covid-19 hospital protocols... It was the kind of email you might expect to receive from a long-lost uncle who wants to send you a barrel of gold bullions if you could, kindly, just wire him the cost of the shipping via Western Union.

Except they didn’t want my money — at least not yet. They wanted a research manuscript. I suspected the email was from [...] a growing menace known as “predatory journals”. In the niche world of academic publishing fraud, these groups make money by posing as legitimate scientific journals, publishing anything they get their hands on, and then charging authors hundreds or even thousands of dollars in processing fees.

While some straight-laced researchers simply get duped into submitting to these journals, other people write bogus articles for more nefarious reasons — to pad their publication record, for instance, or to lend an air of credibility to pseudoscientific ideas that would never pass muster with serious scientists. [...] What makes these frauds so devious is that it’s extraordinarily difficult to tell whether a journal is real just by looking at it online.

[...] They wanted me to send them a manuscript ... which they claimed they would publish a few weeks later if it met their editorial standards and passed a “rigorous” independent peer review involving at least two reviewers. Instead, I concocted seven pages of flapdoodle, including references — loosely following the plot of the TV series “Breaking Bad” — about the educational value of high school students driving into the desert and making drugs.

The paper was ridiculous. [...] True to their word, a few weeks after my submission, an editor let me know my article made it through peer review and was published. (It’s still online here despite my not having paid the $520 publishing fee.) I was floored.

[...] Although my article was goofy, the truth is I could have written anything I wanted and presented it to the world as legitimate science, using the slick veneer of this journal as cover to spread disinformation. Suppose I had instead invented an article disputing the health benefits of vaccination?

This flavor of disinformation is not hypothetical; it’s happening right now. This summer, a paper claiming that 5G radio signals cause coronavirus was published in The Journal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents, which is suspected by some to be a predatory journal in part because some members of its editorial board appear to be dead...

[...] In just the past few months, other articles hosted by dubious publishers have suggested that olive oil and “provincial herbs,” or jade amulets, may prevent Covid-19. A recent review of publishing during the pandemic found more than 360 articles related to Covid-19 that were published in likely predatory journals. ... There are occasional attempts to stem the rise of predatory publishing. ... So what can be done to stop predatory journals and give the public more informed access to legitimate science? (MORE - details)
Zinjanthropos Offline
By coincidence I put this link on another forum a few days ago. 


I’ll ask the same questions. Do you know anybody on this list and how in the world did they get past peer review in the first place? The list is quite long and each has many retractions which I don’t think a predatory peer review would do. 

A bogus paper not only gets a predatory thumbs up but can also receive the same from qualified peer review.

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