Made easier by digital methods in publishing:
These companies have become so successful, Franco says, that for the first time in history, scientists and scholars worldwide are publishing more fraudulent and flawed studies than legitimate research—maybe ten times more. Approximately 10,000 bogus journals run rackets around the world, with thousands more under investigation, according to Cabell’s International, a publishing-services company. “We’re publishing mainly noise now,” Franco laments. “It’s nearly impossible to hear real signals, to discover real findings.”
Outside of university departments, very few people know about the scale of the problem; Franco is one of a few scholars in North America who are sounding the alarm. In 2017, two engineers in the US, Marc A. Edwards and Siddhartha Roy, published a paper (in a reputable journal) about how researchers are implicated in junk-publishing scams: otherwise honest scholars cut corners and engage in junk publishing to further their careers without paying mind to the detrimental and sometimes dangerous effects on their fields of research. “If a critical mass of scientists become untrustworthy,” Edwards and Roy concluded, “a tipping point is possible in which the scientific enterprise itself becomes inherently corrupt and public trust is lost, risking a new dark age with devastating consequences to humanity.”Alex Gillis, “The Rise of Junk Science” at The Walrus
This article offers a lot of valuable information and should be read carefully. A couple of caveats though: He assumes that there is a “respectable science media” out there but actually, they are becoming corrupt too. Consider:
When medical journals get woke, they fight racism, not cancer. Will your doctor sound like a self-absorbed neurotic?
New England Journal of Medicine, seeking new editor, urged to get woke. Journal editor: “The main job of journals will not be to disseminate science but to ‘speak truth to power,’ encourage debate, campaign, investigate and agenda-set — the same job as the mass media.
Lancet: Why has a historic medical publication gone weird?
Gillis’s overly respectful view of Correct science media stems from one key problem with his assumptions: He assumes that the rise of junk science is mainly due to new publishing technology.
No. Not every field of endeavor went off the rails due to new technology. The roots of science decline go more to changes in value systems that separate righteousness from truth and truth from fact. In a word, naturalism (nature is all there is), often called “materialism.”
In any event, remember what you read here, the next time you see a writeup of a taxpayer-funded study on why people don’t trust science that treats the lack of trust solely as a psychological problem with the non-trusters. And never strays into the heresy of enquiring as to evidence-based reasons for lack of trust.
Note: The article leans heavily on Canadian examples because it is from Canada.
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See also: A study of the causes of science skepticism sails right by the most obvious cause of skepticism: Repeated untrustworthiness