Lousy attack on open journals just reveals poor peer review

Michael Eisen took a stab back at a news item in Science that attacks open access journals for accepting a fake paper that was deliberately flawed. The Science column has the heading:

A spoof paper concocted by Science reveals little or no scrutiny at many open-access journals.

Yet, that is not what the study can conclude. Any basic study needs a control, in this case it would have been traditional, subscription-based journals.

This study can only reach the conclusion that fake papers can make their way in open access journals, but not that it is a problem of open access journals, as some have said. A similar study in closed journals was needed to be able to say this. In fact, the premier publisher of open access journals, PLoS, rejected the paper.

As an example, Science was the journal that published the, now proved deeply flawed and wrong, arsenic life paper. That paper had so many flaws, several scientists had already made the questions editors and reviewers didn’t ask in just a couple of days, in particular Rosie Redfield. Science needs to get down their high horse and see the problem for what it is: people will do anything to publish anything, so predatory and lazy journals abound. Publication has taken precedence over the science.


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