How Fake Science is Strongly on the Rise and Endangers Us

In this excellent paper ‘The Rise of Junk Science‘ the issue of increasing number of improperly reviewed publications is described. They now substantially dominate in number more professional scientific publications. Some even believe that there is a “global “epidemic” of scams by academic journals that was corrupting research and, in effect, endangering the public“.

With much easier access to publishing, there is an increasing number of scam scientific journals that are easily accessible, do not practice rigorous peer reviews. There are also an increasing number of fake conferences, that even name recognized scientists that don’t even attend in an attempt to attract other reputable scientists.

While this issue is probably not new – it was always possible to do vanity publishing – it spreads to an unprecedented level, and in a context where it is increasingly difficult to distinguish between legitimate and fake science. “for the first time in history, scientists and scholars worldwide are publishing more fraudulent and flawed studies than legitimate research—maybe ten times more. Approximately 10,000 bogus journals run rackets around the world, with thousands more under investigation, according to Cabell’s International, a publishing-services company. “We’re publishing mainly noise now,” Franco laments. “It’s nearly impossible to hear real signals, to discover real findings.”

Luckily there seem to be an increasing awareness of the issue and modern technology also allows to develop powerful tools to distinguish between junk science and legitimate science. Still we need to be careful that something looking like a scientific paper might also be fake or junk!