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How a fake "Cuckoo For Cocoa Puffs" article got accepted by 17 Medical Journals

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posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 09:56 PM
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Many fake journals out there charging for "processing fee" that doctors from other countries don't know about.




As a medical researcher at Harvard, Mark Shrime gets a very special kind of spam in his inbox: every day, he receives at least one request from an open-access medical journal promising to publish his research if he would only pay $500.

"You block one of them with your spam filter and immediately another one pops up," Shrime, an MD who is pursuing a PhD in health policy, tells me.

These emails are annoying, for sure, but Shrime was worried that there might be bigger issues at stake: What exactly are these journals publishing and who is taking these journals to be credible sources of medical information?

Shrime decided to see how easy it would be to publish an article. So he made one up. Like, he literally made one up. He did it using www.randomtextgenerator.com. The article is entitled "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" and its authors are the venerable Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles. The subtitle reads: "The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals." Shrime submitted it to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. (They have not "published" it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a "processing fee." Shrime has no plans to pay them.) Several have already typeset it and given him reviews, as you can see at the end of this article. One publication says his methods are "novel and innovative"!. But when Shrime looked up the physical locations of these publications, he discovered that many had very suspicious addresses; one was actually inside a strip club.

Many of these publications sound legitimate. To someone who is not well-versed in a particular subfield of medicine—a journalist, for instance—it would be easy to mistake them for valid sources. "As scientists, we’re aware of the top-tier journals in our specific sub-field, but even we cannot always pinpoint if a journal in another field is real or not," Shrime says. "For instance, the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is the very first journal I was ever published in and it’s legitimate. But the Global Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is fake. Only someone in my field would know that."

What angers Shrime more than anything is that fake journals seem to target doctors and researchers in developing countries for whom $500 is an enormous sum of money. "When you dig into these publications, it’s clear that the vast majority of authors on their table of contents come from lower-income countries," he says. "They’re preying on people who aren’t able to get into the mainstream medical journals because they come from a university that nobody recognizes or they have some other scientific disadvantage."


It's a shame some good doctors in other countries get scammed because of these fake articles, on the flip side, it's also a shame that the public also get scammed when unscrupulous doctors write shoddy articles, pay the fee, publish the article and it gets reported in the press as "fact". Too bad we can't crack down on these shoddy "medical journals" that aren't legit.




posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 10:28 PM
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a reply to: Anyafaj

Soon I will publish my medically deficient article on "The Spinal Situation Augmented By Linear Deviant Non-emergent Dormant Flippers". Nobody can argue with a medically published author, and soon I shall wine and dine with my medical colleagues. This, and more (women and song), for $500? A bargain at a tenth of the price!



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 10:36 PM
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Many anti-supplement articles are published the same way... through use of advertising agencies, by way of the shady system outlined in the article... according to something I read years ago... that could've been written by advertisers paid by "Big Herbal" ... heh.

Money now buys science, thus reality itself.

I need some dopamine... or 40 some years of bed rest!


edit on 1/27/2015 by Baddogma because: spacers ... in wrong place leading... to awkward ....hesitation



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 10:41 PM
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Yeah, money buys these, thus easily being passed as legit with no question. Being backed by even more money when questioned. It's probably how at least some legislation buys laws to for restrictions on health, food items for example.



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 10:50 PM
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a reply to: Anyafaj

Oh yes I have been aware of this for a while I even did a thread on it back in 2013. Since then I have been in more than a few debates on here where a article that had been touted as in a journal to be credible. I always point to the thread from 2013 and tell them it matters what journal it comes from. Some people believe me and some do not mainly because the article says what they want to hear(confirmation bias).

Most recently I was debating someone on a matter and they produced an article about a homeopathic remedy that claimed it could do some very wonderous things. Nevermind that homeopathy is nothing but water. They insisted that because it was in a journal it must be true and of course all journals are equal. There have been cases where PubMed has some of those faulty articles, but to be fair PubMed is just a search engine of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. I have found separate articles on there that will completely contradict each other.

It can be difficult at times to separate the BS Journal articles from the legitimate ones.



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 10:53 PM
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originally posted by: Grimpachi
a reply to: Anyafaj

Oh yes I have been aware of this for a while I even did a thread on it back in 2013. Since then I have been in more than a few debates on here where a article that had been touted as in a journal to be credible. I always point to the thread from 2013 and tell them it matters what journal it comes from. Some people believe me and some do not mainly because the article says what they want to hear(confirmation bias).

Most recently I was debating someone on a matter and they produced an article about a homeopathic remedy that claimed it could do some very wonderous things. Nevermind that homeopathy is nothing but water. They insisted that because it was in a journal it must be true and of course all journals are equal. There have been cases where PubMed has some of those faulty articles, but to be fair PubMed is just a search engine of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. I have found separate articles on there that will completely contradict each other.

It can be difficult at times to separate the BS Journal articles from the legitimate ones.


I'll be quite honest, until I saw this on Drudge a bit ago, I'd never heard such a thing. It didn't surprise me, but I'd never heard it before today. I am surprised we don't have a medical committee that would regulate such a thing to ensure bogus articles don't get published. (Not a law, mind you.)



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 10:54 PM
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a reply to: Anyafaj

Maybe these are the people Al Gore and the IPCC use to get their AGC studies published. I wouldn't doubt it LOL.

Cheers - Dave



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 11:02 PM
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There's a very funny online MIT tool called SCIgen. It makes computer science research papers with graphs and everything. It's not just random text. It uses lots of jargon to make it confusing. You can enter custom author names. The best paper I got was titled "deconstructing super blocks using niceness". I believe there is also mathgen now that does math papers.

pdos.csail.mit.edu...

Enjoy!

Edit: Sorry, I failed to mention that this was used for the same purpose. They were not only offered publication but invited to speak at conventions.
edit on 27-1-2015 by Ksihkehe because: Left out background on info.



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 11:12 PM
link   

originally posted by: Anyafaj

originally posted by: Grimpachi
a reply to: Anyafaj

Oh yes I have been aware of this for a while I even did a thread on it back in 2013. Since then I have been in more than a few debates on here where a article that had been touted as in a journal to be credible. I always point to the thread from 2013 and tell them it matters what journal it comes from. Some people believe me and some do not mainly because the article says what they want to hear(confirmation bias).

Most recently I was debating someone on a matter and they produced an article about a homeopathic remedy that claimed it could do some very wonderous things. Nevermind that homeopathy is nothing but water. They insisted that because it was in a journal it must be true and of course all journals are equal. There have been cases where PubMed has some of those faulty articles, but to be fair PubMed is just a search engine of references and abstracts on life sciences and biomedical topics. I have found separate articles on there that will completely contradict each other.

It can be difficult at times to separate the BS Journal articles from the legitimate ones.


I'll be quite honest, until I saw this on Drudge a bit ago, I'd never heard such a thing. It didn't surprise me, but I'd never heard it before today. I am surprised we don't have a medical committee that would regulate such a thing to ensure bogus articles don't get published. (Not a law, mind you.)


PUBMD does filter but even sometimes crap gets through. Until there is a reliable way to discern good from bad I found a site once that tracked if an article was rejected before.

A Natural News article surfaced here not to long ago that reprinted an article from a journal to boost sales for a product which just so happened to be advertised by Mercola on their site. After looking into it a little I found out it had been rejected by three journals before it was finally printed in one. You can be pretty sure the fantastic claims were hogwash.

One of the problems is there are several publishing companies based all over the world many of the un-reputable ones were tracked to Africa and some of the publishing fees were in the thousands.

Like the Nigerian prince scam in a way.



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 11:25 PM
link   

originally posted by: Anyafaj
Many fake journals out there charging for "processing fee" that doctors from other countries don't know about.




As a medical researcher at Harvard, Mark Shrime gets a very special kind of spam in his inbox: every day, he receives at least one request from an open-access medical journal promising to publish his research if he would only pay $500.

"You block one of them with your spam filter and immediately another one pops up," Shrime, an MD who is pursuing a PhD in health policy, tells me.

These emails are annoying, for sure, but Shrime was worried that there might be bigger issues at stake: What exactly are these journals publishing and who is taking these journals to be credible sources of medical information?

Shrime decided to see how easy it would be to publish an article. So he made one up. Like, he literally made one up. He did it using www.randomtextgenerator.com. The article is entitled "Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?" and its authors are the venerable Pinkerton A. LeBrain and Orson Welles. The subtitle reads: "The surgical and neoplastic role of cacao extract in breakfast cereals." Shrime submitted it to 37 journals over two weeks and, so far, 17 of them have accepted it. (They have not "published" it, but say they will as soon as Shrime pays the $500. This is often referred to as a "processing fee." Shrime has no plans to pay them.) Several have already typeset it and given him reviews, as you can see at the end of this article. One publication says his methods are "novel and innovative"!. But when Shrime looked up the physical locations of these publications, he discovered that many had very suspicious addresses; one was actually inside a strip club.

Many of these publications sound legitimate. To someone who is not well-versed in a particular subfield of medicine—a journalist, for instance—it would be easy to mistake them for valid sources. "As scientists, we’re aware of the top-tier journals in our specific sub-field, but even we cannot always pinpoint if a journal in another field is real or not," Shrime says. "For instance, the International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is the very first journal I was ever published in and it’s legitimate. But the Global Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology is fake. Only someone in my field would know that."

What angers Shrime more than anything is that fake journals seem to target doctors and researchers in developing countries for whom $500 is an enormous sum of money. "When you dig into these publications, it’s clear that the vast majority of authors on their table of contents come from lower-income countries," he says. "They’re preying on people who aren’t able to get into the mainstream medical journals because they come from a university that nobody recognizes or they have some other scientific disadvantage."


It's a shame some good doctors in other countries get scammed because of these fake articles, on the flip side, it's also a shame that the public also get scammed when unscrupulous doctors write shoddy articles, pay the fee, publish the article and it gets reported in the press as "fact". Too bad we can't crack down on these shoddy "medical journals" that aren't legit.


For another example of hilarious scientific trolling exposing the problems that occur in peer review journals, check this out: retractionwatch.com... Some brilliant satire



posted on Jan, 27 2015 @ 11:29 PM
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originally posted by: SpaceOverlord

originally posted by: Anyafaj
Many fake journals out there charging for "processing fee" that doctors from other countries don't know about.




It's a shame some good doctors in other countries get scammed because of these fake articles, on the flip side, it's also a shame that the public also get scammed when unscrupulous doctors write shoddy articles, pay the fee, publish the article and it gets reported in the press as "fact". Too bad we can't crack down on these shoddy "medical journals" that aren't legit.


For another example of hilarious scientific trolling exposing the problems that occur in peer review journals, check this out: retractionwatch.com... Some brilliant satire



That is too funny!!



Some excellent trolling. I must say!



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 12:11 AM
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a reply to: Anyafaj
These journals and their embarassing defiling of the scientific method make me fill with rage...but It always brings a smile when scientists use satire to fight back.
World class trolling indeed



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 07:05 AM
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I bet it works better when a private interest funds a research lab and threatens to take away funding if the results are not what they wanted. Bribes are probably more effective.




edit on 28-1-2015 by MichiganSwampBuck because: Typo



posted on Jan, 28 2015 @ 07:20 AM
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originally posted by: Baddogma
Many anti-supplement articles are published the same way...



Quite the opposite, actually. No one in science gives these predatory journals credibility, only those looking to decieve the layman (supplement claims being a common one).




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