The last bite was deadly--about responsibility in scientific publishing. Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Some open access journals are believed to have devaluated the highly respected image of the scientific journal. This has been, it is claimed, verified. Yet the project we believe failed and we show why we think that it failed. The study itself was badly conducted and the report, which Science published, was itself a perfect example of "bad science". If the article that was published in Science were to be taken as one of the "test" articles and Science as a victim journal (a perfect control though), the study would show the opposite of what author concluded in his paper: 100% of the controls (normal non-open access journals, in the present study this was Science) accepted the "bait" paper for publication, while in the experimental group only about 60% (open access journals) accepted the bait paper for publication. The conclusion is that, with respect to non-open access and open access, the probability of accepting pseudoscience is well in favor of this being done by a non-open access journal. Since this interpretation is based on some facts that were not included in the project itself, the only warranted result of this study would be that nothing could be concluded from it. It is concluded that the method that Bohannon used was heavily flawed and in addition immoral; that the report that was published by Science was inconclusive and that the act of publishing such report cannot be morally justified either. Various methods to improve the quality of published papers exist but scientific fraud with "good intentions" as a method to promote scientific publishing should be avoided.

publication date

  • 2014