So say you’re a publisher of scientific journals, and you get a bit in the post from the Center for Research in Applied Phrenology.
You’ve got two honking clues right there that your article is not, as you might say, classy.
But let us say that you are the very accepting (or at least, very curious) type. You open the paper, getting great chunks of text like this:
In this section, we discuss existing research into red-black trees, vacuum tubes, and courseware . On a similar note, recent work by Takahashi suggests a methodology for providing robust modalities, but does not offer an implementation .
Well, it’s nonsense. Kinda like phrenology, but without the awesome collecting of SKULLS.
The reason that this is such nonsense is that it was created by a program called SCIgen which automatically creates computer science papers out of random blocks of text strings.
The author of the paper may have been a machine, but these real people submitted it to Bentham Science Publications. These guys operate under a “pay to play” methodology – you the reader get free access – but you the science submitter have to pay quite hefty fees to put your paper in writing. It’s kind of like the vanity publishing industry for scientists.
And when 800 bucks is on the line, their standards allow… CRAP.
If you want to blow bits of your mind trying to read the article, just get it here.
But for a much more entertaining ride, you can watch them give a fake talk at a dubious conference.
Remember, skeptics. There’s more to bad science than energy medicine, creationism, and loaded editorial boards. Keep the critical thinking hat planted firmly on top of your head.