Jun
17
2009

Hoax paper causes hoax journal editor to resign.

This is somewhere between ‘practical joke’ and ‘proving a point’:

The editor-in-chief of a journal is to resign after claiming that the publisher, Bentham Science Publishing, accepted a hoax article for publication without his knowledge.

The fake, computer-generated manuscript was submitted to The Open Information Science Journal by Philip Davis, a graduate student in communication sciences at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and Kent Anderson, executive director of international business and product development at The New England Journal of Medicine. They produced the paper using software that generates grammatically correct but nonsensical text, and submitted the manuscript under pseudonyms in late January.

Davis says he decided to submit the fake manuscript after receiving several unsolicited invitations by e-mail to submit papers to open-access journals published by Bentham under the author-pays-for-publication model.

…either way, it’s funny. Particularly the fact that the article in question purported to be from the Center for Research in Applied Phrenology, which has at least three layers of funny there to unpack, from the aesthetic to the scatological.  Almost as funny is that the verification procedure apparently involved getting the author’s credit card number.

If you’re wondering why the category for this is Not-politics – bad journal article writing does have a policy element to it – it’s because the model of pay-to-publish reminds me of the self-financed publishing model found as a subplot in Foucault’s Pendulum.  Which was probably one the points of Davis & Anderson.

Moe Lane

PS: This SCIgen – An Automatic CS Paper Generator is also pretty funny.  See here for the last five Presidents’ contribution to the field of Computer Science.

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