Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 29

Wouldn’t you like to expose your newer readers to some of your earlier posts that they might never have seen? Or remind your long term followers of posts that they might not remember? Each Friday I will publish a post I wrote on this exact date in a previous year.

How about you? Why don’t you reach back into your own archives and highlight a post that you wrote on this very date in a previous year? You can repost your Friday Flashback post on your blog and pingback to this post. Or you can just write a comment below with a link to the post you selected.

If you’ve been blogging for less than a year, go ahead and choose a post that you previously published on this day (the 29th) of any month within the past year and link to that post in a comment.

This was originally posted on January 29, 2018

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 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.

37 thoughts on “Fandango’s Flashback Friday — January 29

  1. Sadje January 29, 2021 / 4:34 am

    Haha! A very ingenious thing to do.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. annieasksyou January 29, 2021 / 6:20 am

    I like this a lot! Valuable information for us all to be more skeptical about the sources of our information.

    Fortunately, your reposting comes after the “official” war on science has been replaced by a smart reliance on solid science.

    Here’s my very brief poem on a part of trump’s evil legacy that’s now being dismantled

    Liked by 1 person

  3. annieasksyou January 29, 2021 / 6:23 am

    Oops! Can you edit second paragraph—changing “is” to “has”? My Inner Critic would be most grateful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 29, 2021 / 10:08 am

      Done. Do you want me to delete THIS comment?

      Liked by 1 person

      • annieasksyou January 29, 2021 / 10:11 am

        Only if you see no value to other writers who agonize about typos the way I do! Thanks.


        • Fandango January 29, 2021 / 10:41 am

          I’ll leave it. Some who ask me to correct a typo in an earlier comment specifically ask me to delete the comment in which they made the request. But since you didn’t, I won’t.


  4. margaret21 January 29, 2021 / 6:32 am

    That’s a story that ought to be astonishing. But after four years of Trump little surprises me any longer. A great, and salutary, tale.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Heyjude January 29, 2021 / 6:39 am

    Fascinating tale! As Margaret says, little surprises us now.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Don't Forget the Half January 29, 2021 / 9:24 am

    The events in this story expose quite a bit about our society, all worthy of 🤦🏽‍♀️.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. newepicauthor January 29, 2021 / 1:15 pm

    If you send me $500, I will let you publish an article on my website.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Marleen January 29, 2021 / 9:43 pm

    Wwowww. Very interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fandango January 29, 2021 / 10:07 pm

      I guess you get what you pay for.


      • Marleen January 29, 2021 / 11:20 pm

        When I took an environmental science class (about five or six or so years ago), one of the papers I wrote was based on bad science published in The Lancet (I mean the fact that it was bad science). I don’t remember why the subject I took on was relevant to the class; probably, the assignment simply had to do with writing about an article in a famous science magazine (no matter what). I had a professor for a regular aspect — the one pertaining to that paper — and a different professor as a lab teacher (completely separate). The one for lab said, for one of her assignments, I’d written a dissertation (didn’t seem like it to me). I would get these looks from them like, Why are you taking a bachelor-level course? Well, my parents only paid for high school. [That’s a way oversimplification. They also paid for pre-school, first and second grades and seventh and eighth grades. And I’ll leave it at that.]

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Irene January 30, 2021 / 8:14 am

    Respected journals have formal peer reviews on every submission before even considering them for publication, and the fact that he had to pay to get published should have been suspicious enough. I see his point, though, of that being unknown or hard to identify for a reader not in the field; what blows my mind is that a prof. had $8,500 to waste on this little experiment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen January 30, 2021 / 10:23 am

      Even the peer-reviewed journals sometimes make mistakes (although I can’t say definitively that all of them have done so). And I’m sure some have more stringent processes than other do, so there are likely different statistics. The Lancet is peer reviewed (and highly esteemed). However, when I wanted to write a paper on one of their articles, I had remembered an article that didn’t seem right to my own understanding; from maybe two years prior. By that time, the study published had been shown (in the field) to be wrong. So, it was easy to not only say I didn’t agree that it made sense (in fact it was counter to previous medical information debunking a long-standing habit), I could cite how they had gone astray. It’s best if a publication corrects itself or prints a correction or retraction in its own pages. I don’t remember if they did or not, in that particular case.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Marleen January 30, 2021 / 1:14 pm

    Just in the last few days… maybe yesterday, otherwise earlier in the week, an intelligent scientist (I should’ve gotten his name) contradicted Fauci. Fauci had said, in an interview elsewhere, “double masking” is common sense (by which I don’t know 100% if he meant then that it’s a good idea). The implication, in the interview I was seeing, was that Fauci was for it. But this other guy said you should think about what a mask is for. You need to breathe through it, but you also need to filter pathogen. If your masking doesn’t let air through, your breath along with the pathogen(s)🦠 is likely to be pushed out around the edges rather than to be filtered.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen January 30, 2021 / 7:23 pm

      Osterholm: I saw him on msnbc or cnn, but this (at the link below) is basically the same thing he said there.

      However, I would caviat that double masking isn’t the same thing as two layers of fabric. One proper homemade mask is two layers of not-stretchy-not-very-porous cloth (and possibly coffee filter material in-between them in the one mask). So, double masking would be at least four layers of cloth OR an unattractive blue/green molded thing with double-cloth over it. Maybe one layer of cloth over the molded store-bought-type of mask would be a nice compromise for some people. Personally, I’m satisfied with one appropriate mask. (Doctor Osterholm didn’t say all of that; nor did Fauci.)

      Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango January 30, 2021 / 10:26 pm

      I sometimes have enough difficulty with a single mask. I don’t know if I’d be able tolerate double masking.

      Liked by 1 person

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