A scientific study by Maggie Simpson, Edna Krabappel, and Kim Jong Fun has been accepted by two journals.
Of course, none of these fictional characters actually wrote the paper, titled “Fuzzy, Homogeneous Configurations.” Rather, it’s a nonsensical text, submitted by engineer Alex Smolyanitsky in an effort to expose a pair of scientific journals — the Journal of Computational Intelligence and Electronic Systems and the comic sans-loving Aperito Journal of NanoScience Technology.
These outlets both belong to a world of predatory journals that spam thousands of scientists, offering to publish their work — whatever it is — for a fee, without actually conducting peer review. When Smolyanitsky was contacted by them, he submitted the paper, which has a totally incoherent, science-esque text written by SCIgen, a random text generator. (Example sentence: “we removed a 8-petabyte tape drive from our peer-to-peer cluster to prove provably “fuzzy” symmetries’s influence on the work of Japanese mad scientist Karthik Lakshminarayanan.”)
Laudable goal that, to expose predatory journals. But—as the Vox article also goes on to note—name not-for-profit journals have been scammed by fakery too.
The rot runs deep. We need sophisticated solutions, not cheerleaders waving pom poms in our faces for “science.”
So, in addition to the valuable information in the Vox piece, we recommend making a regular stop at Retraction Watch (to which, hat tip for this lead). RTWatch features provide excellent reads for, er, keeping up on the down side of science.
Note: News blogging will be light for some hours today, as O’Leary for News is working off site on another story.