The Lancet is a highly respected biomedical journal that's taken an odd turn toward sensationalism and clickbait. That is troubling. Here's what we've been noticing.
Plenty of bad papers are accepted as true because the academic who wrote it is famous. On the flip side, many good papers are never written out of the fear that it could cost an academic his job. So, how about we just eliminate real names and publish papers under fake ones instead? That's the fundamental idea behind a new journal, not-so-subtly called The Journal of Controversial Ideas, set to launch next year. This idea is so good, I wish I'd thought of it first.
As the saying goes, "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." We know that's true because statisticians themselves just said so. A jaw-dropping study reveals that nearly 1 in 4 of them report being asked to remove or alter data to better support a hypothesis. That is called scientific fraud.
Some studies are so incredibly stupid, one wonders how they get published in any scientific journal, let alone a prestigious one. And yet, it's happened once again. A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine claims that eating organic food will reduce a person's risk of developing cancer. You got it right: Magic prevents cancer.
Some scientific journals are publishing articles by anti-technology activists without disclosing their blatant financial conflicts of interest. Despite all the pleas for transparency, the problem is getting worse.
Scientific journals discriminate against industry scientists, unless, that is, they happen to work for the environmental or organic industries. Those scientists don't have to follow the same rules governing the disclosure of conflicts of interest that everybody else does.
That a person with such a hostile view toward industry-funded science serves on the editorial board of a major scientific journal is disturbing. That she possesses no academic qualifications to justify her position as "senior editor" is a scandal.
Whether you're a journalist, scientist, or layperson, the KISS method (Keep It Simple, Stupid) appears to be an effective strategy for getting your message across.
In a field like gender studies, what constitutes a respectable outlet? We can make progress toward answering that question by utilizing SCImago's ranking of academic journals.
Perhaps the most problematic classification system in the scientific community is that of the impact factor, which attempts to rank journals by their relative importance. This factor for a particular journal is equal to the average number of times an article in the journal is cited in a given year. While this sounds useful, in practice, it has been a slow-motion train wreck.