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A sting worth copying

The journal Science has pulled off a major sting operation, thanks to writer John Bohannon.

Bohannon put together a blatantly false scientific paper replete with errors and ethical lapses and sent it to 304 open-access "scientific journals" to see if the paper would be reviewed by peers and, if so, whether they would find the mistakes. Of course, he also wanted to see who would publish without so much as a read-through.

See, the business of publishing papers is just that, a very lucrative business. Scientists have to pay to have their papers published, and they do so because they have to publish or they perish.

More than 150 journals accepted the paper for publication. Only 36 noted the flaws in the submission.

One journal accepted the paper and asked for $3,100 to publish it.

What Bohannon found constitutes a stunning indictment of the scientific open-access journal business.

But ...

But, what about all those journals in political science, sociology, English, history, medicine, physics, etc., that also make researchers pay to publish?

How many of them are suspect?

Every field needs a John Bohannon.

Unfortunately it's just true that if you give people an opportunity to act badly, they will do so.

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