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Fake Scientific Papers are Alarmingly Common

re: scientific fraud
re: Sebastian Rushworth MD: How to understand scientific studies (in health and medicine)
re: Sebastian Rushworth MD: How Well do Doctors Understand Probability?
re: Scientific Consensus – A Manufactured Construct

Real science is never settled, and anyone who has certainty on such things is not qualified to discuss it.

Follow the science... fraud.

Fake Scientific Papers are Alarmingly Common


But new tools show promise in tackling growing symptom of academia’s “publish or perish” culture

When neuropsychologist Bernhard Sabel put his new fake-paper detector to work, he was “shocked” by what it found. After screening some 5000 papers, he estimates up to 34% of neuroscience papers published in 2020 were likely made up or plagiarized; in medicine, the figure was 24%. Both numbers, which he and colleagues report in a medRxiv preprint posted on 8 May, are well above levels they calculated for 2010—and far larger than the 2% baseline estimated in a 2022 publishers’ group report.

“It is just too hard to believe” at first, says Sabel of Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and editor-in-chief of Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience. It’s as if “somebody tells you 30% of what you eat is toxic.”

His findings underscore what was widely suspected: Journals are awash in a rising tide of scientific manuscripts from paper mills—secretive businesses that allow researchers to pad their publication records by paying for fake papers or undeserved authorship. “Paper mills have made a fortune by basically attacking a system that has had no idea how to cope with this stuff,” says Dorothy Bishop, a University of Oxford psychologist who studies fraudulent publishing practices. A 2 May announcement from the publisher Hindawi underlined the threat: It shut down four of its journals it found were “heavily compromised” by articles from paper mills.

...The “publish or perish” pressure that institutions put on scientists is also an obstacle. “We want to think about engaging with institutions on how to take away perhaps some of the [professional] incentives which can have these detrimental effects,” van Rossum says. Such pressures can push clinicians without research experience to turn to paper mills, Sabel adds, which is why hospital affiliations can be a red flag.


WIND: “publish or perish” = follow the money is a guiding principle that will rarely if ever mislead you—even when it appears to be unrelated. It always applies to science.

Paper mills as per above, the replication crisis, the fact that most published research findings are false... could it be that 10% of studies may be correct, with 90% being fraud/junk/badly done/etc? The peer review farce is yet another layer gilding this lily.

It’s not just the small journals; journals like JAMA and BMJ have a proven track record of publishing garbage along with failing to retract repudiated studies and especially Big Pharma studies. It’s all follow the money; those journals have a huge profit incentive to keep selling printed studies.

Doctors are trained to think that RCT’s are the gold standard. But most such studies hide the data (often even from the researchers!) and many are ghost written by Big Pharma. A lot of doctors don’t know that, and trust such studies blindly. And no doctor has the time to go dig into study after study. The system is broken.

The issue of scientific fraud is far larger: other types of malfeasance are submarined in numerous ways, particularly in Big Pharma medical research. These include studies designed for an outcome, biased cohort selection, failure to publish unwanted results, hiding of data from even the ostentisible authors, and many more gambits that only the most sophisticated analysis can ferret out. Because it’s ferrets running most of the scientific show.

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