[open-science] Fake Cancer study published in 157 Open Access Journals

Jenny Molloy jcmcoppice12 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 4 08:16:07 UTC 2013

Hi Daniel

Thanks for sharing! It would have been nice to see a comparison to
acceptance rates by closed access journals, as one commenter further down
the article points out, peer review problems are not OA specific.

The author addresses this in this Retraction Watch Article:

"I did consider it. That was part of my original (very over-ambitious)
plan. But the turnaround time for traditional journals is usually months
and sometimes more than a year. How could I ever pull off a representative
sample? Instead, this just focused on open access journals and makes no
claim about the comparative quality of open access vs. traditional
subscription journals."

This post also explains that 137 of the 157 journals which accepted are
already recognised as predatory (as per Beall's

I think National Geographic did start explaining that this is not
specifically an open access issue, but could have flagged up that fake
journals to make money are a by-product of the pay to publish business
model, not the licensing terms under which the papers are are made
available. They also included unhelpful comments like this:

"The public wanted open access to scientific literature, and now they are
getting it," Steneck says. "They now need to get over the idea that they
can get all that information for free without someone doing the real hard
work of reviewing papers."

I don't think anyone has that idea and it maintains the myth that open
access = no peer review rather than shoddy/fake journal = no peer review.


On Fri, Oct 4, 2013 at 7:54 AM, Daniel Lombraña González <
teleyinex at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi there,
> Today I've found this interesting article in National Geographic<http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/10/131003-bohannon-science-spoof-open-access-peer-review-cancer/>about a study conducted by Bohannon to test if Open Access peer reviewed
> journals actually rejected a spoof study due to several important errors
> (copy & paste from the original article):
> The spoof study had at least three problems:
>> **
>>    -
>>    The study drug killed cancer cells with increasing doses, even though
>>    its data didn't show any such effect.
>>    -
>>    The drug killed cancer cells exposed to medical radiation with
>>    increasing effect, even though the study showed the cells weren't exposed
>>    to radiation.
>>    -
>>    The study author concluded the paper by promising to start treating
>>    people with the drug immediately, without further safety testing.
> Only 106 performed a review, while the others basically accepted the paper
> for publication (PLOS One rejected it).
> In the article you can feel a subtle "attack" or complain against Open
> Access journals. However in the same article they say that they think it
> will happen the same in non OA journals; i.e. they mention two cases where
> Science, the popular journal, actually accepted two papers that were not
> good (one was a faked and the other one refuted).
> In summary, I think this type of articles actually reveal a problem
> regarding publishing: reviewing articles is really complicated (for any
> type of journal), taking into account that as a researcher you don't get
> any credit for doing a proper one, and that usually the paper does not
> provide all the data, information, etc, etc. to replicate the study.
> All the best,
> Daniel
> --
> http://daniellombrana.es
> http://citizencyberscience.net
> http://www.shuttleworthfoundation.org/fellows/daniel-lombrana/
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