Real Fake News

I remember reading a story awhile back about a Harvard University researcher who had the good fortune of having a paper he wrote accepted for publication by 17 medical journals. I thought was pretty impressive.

The paper was titled “Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?” I thought that was an impressive, albeit a bit strange, title for an article being published in 17 medical journals.

Some of the reviews of his article called his methods “novel and  innovative.”

And that is, indeed, quite impressive. Because, you see, this Harvard researcher’s paper was created entirely by using an online random text generator. It was total gibberish.

Still, 17 “respected” medical journals accepted it for publication. Well, 17 journals accepted it. And they would publish it once the researcher paid the $500 “processing fees” to each “journal.”

Upon further analysis, most of these so called medical journals turned out — surprise, surprise — to be bogus.

Many of these publications sounded legitimate. The paper’s author, Mark Shrime, now an Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology and of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Harvard Medical School, pointed out, “To someone who is not well-versed in a particular subfield of medicine — a journalist, for instance — it would be easy to mistake them as valid journals. As scientists, we’re aware of the top-tier journals in our specific sub-field, but even we cannot always pinpoint if a journal in another field is real or not.”

When Shrime looked up the physical locations of these publications that accepted his paper, he discovered that many had very suspicious addresses; one was actually inside a strip club.

But hey, just think about the how great this will look on Shrime’s CV. He wrote an “academic paper” that was accepted for publication by 17 medical journals.

Not too shabby.

3 thoughts on “Real Fake News

  1. Marilyn Armstrong January 29, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    I used to have one of the gibberish generators. It would also analyze any gibberish you fed it by percentage. We fed them a handout from AFTRA and they said it was 99% gibberish, something with which Garry completely agreed.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. newepicauthor January 29, 2018 / 2:07 pm

    What could an ear, nose, and throat and related structures of the head and neck doctor possibly know about Cocoa Puffs anyway?


  3. Sight11 January 29, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    I have heard about them. Infact there is a new trend in Social Sciences in which an old thesis is ‘remodeled’ with a new author. They just make sure it is at least 20 to 25 yrs. Old.. What a world we live in Sensei..


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