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

Luke Winslow lawinslow at wisc.edu
Fri Oct 4 14:01:09 UTC 2013

> if an article clearly demonstrates serious problems of gold OA
IMHO, the article didn't demonstrate a serious problem of Open Access 
journals. It probably demonstrated a serious problem with how peer 
review works and just neglected to examine non-OA journals. Ultimately, 
it has supported the hypothesis that *some* journals seem to have 
standards which are more lax than we would like, but it has *certainly* 
collected no data to show that OA journals are better or worse than 
non-OA journals.

For example, if I wanted to do a study to see how good or bad the 
grammar used by people in email is. So we go about collecting large 
archives of email. Because we don't have the time, we go out and collect 
only emails from people named Klaus.

In writing our paper, instead of discussing the error rate in emails in 
general, we decide, "Hey, these emails sent by those names Klaus are 
filled with errors! This is huge news and people should never name their 
kids Klaus unless they want them to have bad email grammar!" Usage of 
the name "Klaus" plummets.

But of course we have no idea if the Klauses of the world actually have 
any worse grammar than the average. We didn't look at the other 99.99%* 
of the world's population. In fact, the Klauses of the world may 
actually have better grammar on average, though our data, without 
supplement, will never be able to tell us.

So are OA journals worse than non-OA journals? I have no idea. Is peer 
review somewhat shoddy? Probably.


*Rounded to the nearest 1/100th

On 2013-10-04 8:19 AM, Klaus Graf wrote:
> I cannot see what is FUD if an article clearly demonstrates serious 
> problems of gold OA. I am a little more shocked of the reactions of 
> the OA community which plays down the alarming results than of the 
> article itself. This is siege mentality and absolutely not helpful.
> Klaus Graf
> 2013/10/4 Jenny Molloy <jcmcoppice12 at gmail.com 
> <mailto:jcmcoppice12 at gmail.com>>
>         The argumentation is just wrong, and I find it
>         rather ironic that a journal accepts a paper with clear flaws
>         in the
>         argumentation that did a sting with a paper with this issue.
>     It's presented in Science as a journalistic piece rather than
>     research, the National Geographic article doesn't make this clear.
>         Conclusions they could have made: peer review does not work.
>         But that
>         they do not state.
>         So, FUD. Let's move on.
>     Agreed, but this is the FUD that's getting published to a wide
>     readership and may form the basis of some people's perception of
>     open access so as Daniel says it's worth being aware of what
>     arguments are being put out there, as flawed as they may be. I get
>     questions from people about open access just after stories about
>     it in more general forums and larger media outlets so it's good to
>     know the details to better explain why they're FUD (if they are).
>     Jenny
>         Egon
>         --
>         Dr E.L. Willighagen
>         Postdoctoral Researcher
>         Department of Bioinformatics - BiGCaT
>         Maastricht University (http://www.bigcat.unimaas.nl/)
>         Homepage: http://egonw.github.com/
>         LinkedIn: http://se.linkedin.com/in/egonw
>         Blog: http://chem-bla-ics.blogspot.com/
>         PubList: http://www.citeulike.org/user/egonw/tag/papers
>         ORCID: 0000-0001-7542-0286
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Limnology and Marine Science
University of Wisconsin - Madison

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