Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
Peer-review science at its best! A fake science paper, loaded with quotes and references to the Star Wars movies, has been published or accepted for publication by four medical journals.
A neurology expert has revealed they were able to convince a trio of medical journals to publish their Star Wars-themed ‘fake’ manuscript, despite it being packed full of references to George Lucas’ iconic series. The author, who writes online under the name Neuroskeptic, said their paper titled ‘Mitochondria: Structure, Function and Clinical Relevance’ was poorly written and ‘an absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism and movie quotes’.
‘I wanted to test whether ‘predatory’ journals would publish an obviously absurd paper,’ the hoax’s author wrote for Discover Magazine. ‘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.’
The name of the authors given in the fake piece are thinly-veiled references to Lucas – Star Wars’ creator – and Anakin Skywalker. Neuroskeptic went on in their blog post to explain the paper was picked up by four different journals – the American Journal of Medical and Biological Research, the International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access, the Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and American Research Journal of Biosciences. The AJMBR did not publish the paper but did request a $360 fee in order to do so.
That this keeps happening suggests that much of what is published in peer-review journals is equally bad, and should never see the light of day. The bad work gets published because the journals make their money by charging the scientists to publish things, and the scientists need to get in print to justify their cushy jobs in academia. Sadly, no one seems to care whether they can teach.