Peer Review: predatory journals (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Monday, March 11, 2019, 00:37 (106 days ago) @ David Turell

It is important for scientists to get published. Unfortunately there are journals that invite authors to publish with them posing as authentic peer-reviewed publications:

"“Predatory journals” pretend to be high quality peer-reviewed journals, when they’re really just scams out to make money. It can be difficult to tell the difference between real and predatory journals, however, and many academics have been tricked. But sometime the tables are turned.

"Gary Lewis, a senior lecturer in psychology from Royal Holloway University in London, decided to prank a predatory journal that emailed him out of the blue. He concocted an utterly mad paper about British politicians and the hand they used to wipe their behinds. It argued that conservative, or right wing, politicians would wipe with their left hand, and left wing, or progressive, politicians would wipe with their right.

"He described himself as a researcher from the Institute of Interdisciplinary Political and Faecal Science and told the publishers, Crimson Publishing, that the paper had been peer reviewed by Dr I P Daly. Unbelievably, Testing inter-hemispheric social priming theory in a sample of professional politicians – a brief report was published in full.


"When Christoph Bartneck, an industrial designer who works on the interaction of humans and computers and robots at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email asking if he’d like to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics, he smelled a rat – and decided to do so.

"He knew nothing about physics, so he let the autocomplete function of his Apple devices do the work for him. He started sentences using words like nuclear or atomic and let the iOS software complete them. Obviously, it made no sense whatsoever: even the title was crazy – Atomic Energy will have been made available to a single source. What?

"The first line of the paper is awesome: “Atomic Physics and I shall not have the same problem with a separate section for a very long long way.”

"Nonetheless, within three hours the paper had been accepted and Bartneck was asked for $1099. He didn’t pay.


"Another MedCrave publication – International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access – also got pranked. The psychology blogger known only as Neuroskeptic submitted an article about the midichlorians found in each cell that help people connect to the Force. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s straight from the Star Wars prequel movies.

"It’s completely full of nonsensical Star Wars references and is basically plagiarised from the Wikipedia page on mitochondria, the small, very real organelles found in each cell of our bodies. Even worse, he admitted to doing this in the paper itself. They still published it.


"This is my favourite. In 2005, computer science professors Eddie Kohler from Harvard University and David Mazières from Stanford University, both in the US, became so sick and tired of predatory journals and conferences spamming their inbox that they put together a 10-page fake article that they would automatically send off to any predators that emailed them.
The result is a simple as it is naughty. The entire article, including the graphs and flow charts, is made up of only seven words: “Get me off your f@#king mailing list”. Computer scientists found it so funny that it spread far and wide.

"Things begin to get really hilarious when Peter Vamplew, an associate professor in IT at Federation University Australia, sent off Kohler and Mazières’ original paper to the International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology.

"The predatory journal had emailed him with an invitation to submit a paper, and immediately accepted it for publication. I think we can guess that it isn’t peer-reviewed."

Comment: It is nice to have lighter articles to chuckle over. Money is the source of all evil. With my background, medical research articles and books published, for several years, out of the blue, I received invitations to "important" foreign conferences, all of which I ignored.

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