A bogus scientific paper, with numerous errors, was accepted for publication by more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
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"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

A bogus scientific paper, with numerous errors, was accepted for publication by more than 150 peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The scientist purposely wrote a paper that should have been unacceptable for publication in order to see if peer-review would spot the problems. What he found was that more than half the journals to which he submitted didn’t notice or care, and accepted the paper as is.

The journals in this case were open-access, meaning that they are free to readers but charge authors money for publication. Thus, rejecting papers is against their financial interest. Nonetheless, the number of journals willing to be unethical is quite disturbing, and reveals a rottenness lurking in the heart of the science field that no one wants to talk about.

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5 comments

  • Phil Berardelli

    If the article is true, it does indeed expose a rotten trend in what should be a field beyond reproach. Unfortunately, deceit and dishonesty have also peppered the climate science community for a long time now. As a former science writer, who has seen, first-hand, examples of bias and contempt for contrary points of view, I worry that when the depth of the deception is finally revealed, it could take a generation or more to repair the damage to the discipline’s credibility. Scientists, above all, should be fierce skeptics. When they are not, both the field and the public suffer.

  • Edward

    I have been hearing, recently, that psychology papers are also having a lot of trouble with credibility. There have been a couple of scientists whose works have been withdrawn due to falsified papers. Climate science is not the only field that is having trouble, but it does seem to be the only field that continues to rely on models that have demonstrably failed to predict reality.

    I certainly hope that fudging does not spread to the physical or space sciences. It is bad enough that we have buildings, bridges, and dams fail due to design or construction problems — it would be even more tragic if people were killed due to fudged science that the engineers relied upon.

    I would like to see fudge return to the confectionary and the ice cream parlor, where it belongs.

  • D. K. Williams

    150 journals? Sounds fishy to me.

  • Tom Billings

    Phil, I am very much afraid the time it takes to repair the damage will be longer than that. I have gotten, for years now, people responding in person to a datum I would put into a discussion about spaceflight (like the recent discovery of lavatube cave entrances on the Moon) with the reply, …”yeah, …and how do we know it isn’t another fake set of digits cooked up to keep someone in a job?” Then, they will cite some of the climate science maldiversions of peer review, or the biochemistry frauds, or the recently admitted stem cell frauds, as a reason to not believe in a picture of the skylight found in the Marius Hills region of the Moon.

    These sorts of direct problems with belief that science academics actually follow the scientific method are merging, in my experience, into the general distrust of academia spreading faster and faster in society. The brand that is “Science” cannot stand up to being totally identified with a collapsing academic world. We must find a way to get science separated in the minds of the rest of society from association with the betrayals that academia is becoming associated with. These range from financial predictions about the worth of a university degree, to the politics that dominates academia, to the insistence on freedom of speech only for those toeing the line of the majority in the faculty senate. All too many are realizing that universities have whored themselves to those in power regularly *at*least* since the 1530s, when Henry VIII bought the opinions of universities across Europe about his annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon.

    These problems have been brewing since no later than 1970, and taking 50 years to restore confidence in the scientific method *after* we defund the presently perversely performing institutions will be a good performance, ..if we can do it.

  • Tom Billings

    So, …what’s fishy about it?

    I know of people who submitted to at least 45 different journals before getting a paper published, ..when they weren’t paying for it either through themselves, or their department.

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