Quality and openness

Alastair Creelman, In Our Time: Science, Oct 15, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I've seen this is a few places now: "John Bohannon of Harvard University wrote a deliberately flawed biology article using a fictitious name and non-existent institution and submitted it to over 300 open access publications. It was accepted by about half of them." Every once in a while someone does this, and not only to open access publications. Who can forget SCIgen, which in 2005 managed to get a number of gibberish papers accepted in scientific jornals and conferences? Last year, the similar MathGen application got a paper accepted in a mathematics journal. There's also the Alan Sokal hoax in which a physics professor published patent nonsense in a prominent social theory journal. And then there is the Voynich manuscript, unearthed in 1912. Or the deeply flawed paper that Michael Eisen didn't submit as a hoax to Science. So the lesson here is not that open access journals are flawed - it is that peer review is flawed. But we knew that already.

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