Science journal publishes fake study

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The uncertainty of peer review: A science journal has published a fake study that supposedly proved that kissing a child’s “boo-boo” has no medicinal value.

In their study, the authors claim to be members of the Study of Maternal and Child Kissing (SMACK) Working Group, which they say is a subsidiary of Procter and Johnson, Inc., the maker of “Bac-Be-Gone ointment and Steri-Aids self-adhesive bandages.” Procter and Johnson, which is not a real consumer goods company, is an obvious mash-up of Procter & Gamble and Johnson & Johnson, two consumer packaged goods companies which sell health care items like bandages and ointments. The only contact information for the study’s authors disclosed in the research paper is a Gmail address. Bac-Be-Gone ointment and Steri-Aids also do not appear to be actual products available for sale. Additionally, many of the academic research references listed at the end of the study–including one article entitled “So what the hell is going on here?”–also appear to be fake.

The journal, the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, claims on its website that all papers published by it are copy-edited and peer-reviewed. In this case I suppose the reviewers worked for Comedy Central .


  • mike shupp

    Well … I think that’s the thing. Working physicians looking though the magazine — the year end issue of the magazine — would recognize quickly that the article was satirical. It’d be laymen that would take the whole thing so seriously.

    I can live with this.

  • hondo

    Anyone up for another round of Di-hydrogen oxide – or oxygen poisoning ala the Oxygen extinction event of 600 million (apx) years ago. Participated in a small way in the first hoax back in grad days.

  • Phill O

    I believe that should read “dihydrogen monoxide”

  • PeterF

    The hoax study that “proved” 83% unsweetened dark chocolate was good for your health should have put all serious publications on notice that there was a lot of junk science out there. Even after the authors who announced that the study was worthless drivel you STILL find references to it everywhere. (Kind of like the 97% scientific consensus on man-caused global warming).
    Also the random word generator that creates scientific sounding papers has produced articles that have appeared in supposed “peer-reviewed” publications.

  • hondo

    Sorry Phill O – it was after all New Years Eve! – and Bob doesn’t have an edit function.

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