Predatory academic journals peddle fake science to make a quick buck and now scientists are fighting back, according to Motherboard, a multimedia publication.
In a paper published in several scientific journals, Newer Tools to Fight Inter-Galactic Parasites and Their Transmissibility in Zyrgion Simulation, leading scientist Beth Smith laid out research describing a new method to fight the terrible parasites that live by implanting false memories in their hosts, Motherboard wrote.
That report is, of course, fake, according to the publication.
Beth Smith, the Zyrgion simulation and intergalactic memory implanting parasites are all references to Rick and Morty. But that didn’t stop three scientific journals— ARC Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, IOSR Journal of Pharmacy and Biological Sciences andClinical Biotechnology and Microbiology from publishing the paper, according to Motherboard.
The Rick and Morty scientific report is the work of Farooq Ali Khan, an undergraduate college professor and doctoral student in India.
Many academic and scientific journals have a peer review process, which means a group of scientists or experts in the field reviews papers to ensure their accuracy.
But for every legitimate journal, Ali Khan says there are predatory institutions that publish reports sight unseen or demand money from the authors to publish, according to Motherboard.
“The fake science, fake news epidemic is getting worse by every day, and I really wanted to do something about it,” Ali Khan told Motherboard. “There’s a lot of money involved in it and these people are getting more powerful, and several mediocre science papers are being published, which is a severe threat to science [and] academic research.”
Ali Khan is a Rick and Morty fan who wanted to expose some of the academic journals publishing junk science, according to Motherboard.
He reached out to American librarian, Jeffrey Beall, an outspoken critic of what he calls “predatory journals.”
Beall maintains a list of offenders on his personal blog. Ali Khan picked 14 journals from the list and submitted his fake Rick and Morty paper to them.
Three published the paper without comment and five demanded payment for publication, according to the report.
Three of the journals rejected the paper outright, including Journal of Bacteriology & Parasitology, which sent Ali Khan commentary from the reviewers.
“The article’s language is very confusing and many words doesn’t make any sense to me, for instance, dinglebop, schleem, schwitinization,” one reviewer said.
“Is this a joke?” Another asked. “Intergalactic parasites?”
Only one of the 14 journals Ali Khan submitted his paper to took the time to have it peer reviewed.