New international investigation tackles ‘fake science’ and its poisonous effects

(20 July 2018) Hundreds of thousands of scientists worldwide have published studies in self-described scientific journals that don’t provide traditional checks for accuracy and quality, according to a new journalistic investigation.

Dozens of reporters from media outlets in Europe, Asia and the United States have analysed 175,000 scientific articles published by five of the world’s largest pseudo-scientific platforms including India-based Omics Publishing Group and the Turkey-based World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology, or Waset.  In addition to failing to perform peer or editorial committee reviews of articles, the companies charge to publish articles, accept papers by employees of pharmaceutical and other companies as well as by climate-change skeptics promoting questionable theories.

Some of those publishers send targeted emails to scientists who are under pressure to publish as many articles as possible in order to obtain promotions and improve their curriculum, according to the findings by Norddeutscher Rundfunk (NDR), WDR and Süddeutsche Zeitung.

In addition to the German outlets, a group of more than a dozen media organizations including the New Yorker, Le Monde, the Indian Express and the Korean outlet Newstapa took part in the investigation. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists facilitated the collaboration.

Read the full story from the ICIJ,  International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, here.