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The ‘Fake News’ Phenomenon Is Damaging Science, Too

Science By
Scientist in a laboratory
(Getty Images)

 

Readers don’t just have to worry about fake news anymore — they also have to worry about fake science.

A recently published investigation in The New Yorker examines the illegitimate publishers that promise academic credibility in exchange for cash.

In the past, academia had a number of established journals that profited through advertising and by selling subscriptions to libraries. But the Internet changed this model, introducing one of open-access. This meant that journals like the Public Library of Science, or PLoS, could offer free and widely available studies to the public.

Authors would pay a fee for the privilege of having work peer-reviewed and published. 
But with this new model came the opportunity for widespread abuse — illegitimate journals with questionable legitimacy began to crop up and contact researchers to pay a significant fee to be peer-reviewed and published. These journals — including the Journal of Clinical Toxicology and Enzyme Engineering — had names close to legitimate journals, but actually offered no peer review at all.

Read the full investigation at the New Yorker.

Also, watch John Oliver’s investigation into additional variables that impact scientists and affect the credibility of their complex work.