I've long since become fed up with the intellectual and academic dishonesty of those who claim that climate change is 'settled science' (when in fact it's far from settled), or who proclaim that this or that or the other study proves that this or that or the other dietary component is good or bad for us. (Funny how those verdicts tend to change so often, isn't it?)
The problem of scientific misconduct is widely known. What's less widely known is that many so-called 'scientific' journals have a pattern of misconduct as well - brilliantly described by an article in the Ottawa Citizen.
I have just written the world’s worst science research paper: More than incompetent, it’s a mess of plagiarism and meaningless garble.
Now science publishers around the world are clamouring to publish it.
They will distribute it globally and pretend it is real research, for a fee.
It’s untrue? And parts are plagiarized? They’re fine with that.
Welcome to the world of science scams, a fast-growing business that sucks money out of research, undermines genuine scientific knowledge, and provides fake credentials for the desperate.
And even veteran scientists and universities are unaware of how deep the problem runs.
When scientists make discoveries, they publish their results in academic journals. The journals review the discovery with independent experts, and if everything checks out they publish the work. This boosts the reputations, and the job prospects, of the study’s authors.
Many journals now publish only online. And some of these, nicknamed predatory journals, offer fast, cut-rate service to young researchers under pressure to publish who have trouble getting accepted by the big science journals.
In academia, there’s a debate over whether the predators are of a lower-than-desired quality. But the Citizen’s experiment indicates much more: that many are pure con artists on the same level as the Nigerian banker who wants to give you $100 million.
. . .
At the University of Saskatchewan, medical professor Roger Pierson wonders how can scientists trust the journal system to share knowledge.
“Basically you can’t any more,” he said, except for a stable of well-known journals from identifiable professional societies, where members recognize ethical work is in all their best interests.
He had just spent time with the committee that oversees tenure and promotions at his university.
“We had three cases where people had published things in what were obviously predatory journals, and they didn’t think anything was wrong with that.
“The reality though is that these (fake journals) are used for promotion and tenure by people who really shouldn’t be there. The world is changing fast ... It’s a big problem.”
He tracked a paper from one job applicant to the journal website and found the giveaway clue: It takes weeks to publish, the site said, but if authors needs faster service to impress their universities then “it costs another $500 and they’ll publish it in days.
“It’s got absurd. There are hundreds if not thousands” of shady publishers, Pierson said.
“Universities are particularly vulnerable” to being fooled by these fake credentials.
It used to be pretty easy to spot them, said Pierson. “But the predatory journals are becoming a little more sophisticated, (and) new journals in every field are popping up weekly.”
Even Pierson didn’t know the latest trick. Journals are rated on their “impact factor” — how often their articles are used as references in later studies. And the predatory journals are now buying fake impact factors from equally fake rating agencies.
He believes this taints the reliability of what is published everywhere.
There's more at the link.
So, when 99% of published articles on a subject all agree about it . . . and more than half of them are published by these predatory journals . . . how trustworthy is their consensus? As far as I'm concerned, it's not worth the paper it's printed on or the pixels used to display it.