Michael Eisen Profile picture
Oct 4, 2018 12 tweets 3 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
The irony of this "study" of fraudulent nonsensical papers submitted to gender studies/critical theory journals is that it is itself the epitome of the shoddy scholarship it purports to unmask. Let's #peerreview it. areomagazine.com/2018/10/02/aca…
1) This study lacks the most basic controls. If you want to argue these papers were accepted because of their notional field of study, then you have to submit similarly nonsensical papers to journals in other fields.
Fortunately, although this is not cited by the authors (a manifestation of their shoddy scholarship) such a control was recently carried out by John Bohannon in a completely different field. science.sciencemag.org/content/342/61…
Bohannon submitted nonsensical papers to a number of cancer research journals and a number of these were accepted and published.
(Note that, ironically, Bohannon's conclusion that the #openaccess business model of the journals was to blame was also not supported by his data because of his lack of a good control - it's as if people submitting fake articles don't understand how to do real scholarship).
Contrary to the authors' claim that the acceptance of these nonsense articles in gender studies/critical theory journals proves that the field is prone to publishing bullshit, the fact that the same thing happened in a completely different field suggests a different explanation.
Namely that it is the only common feature in these two studies - journal publishing itself - and not any particular field that is the real culprit. It is particularly disappointing that the authors did not consider this or any alternative hypothesis to explain their data.
2) The description in the text misleadingly presents the data. The supplemental data describes 20 papers submitted a total of 48 times with 7 accepted and 7 in process. This suggests that these papers received 34 rejections and may get as many as 41.
While it would be desirable for the number of non-sensical papers published by journals to be 0, the manipulation of the data in presentation raises questions about the honesty of the authors.
3) We find it troubling that the authors places a solicitation for donations to the journal in which it was published on the publication when at least one of the authors is associated with (and may be compensated by) the journal.
In summary, while we agree with the authors that it is troubling that nonsensical papers are published in such numbers, we believe that the major conclusion of the paper - that this is a property of the field - is not supported by their data.
We therefore recommend that this paper be rejected.

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More from @mbeisen

Aug 18, 2018
This is such a disingenuous sleight-of-hand - rebranding the idea that one should share published data as sinister "open science" in order to argue for data hoarding blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/h…
Sharing published data isn't "open science", it's "science"
To dismiss improving upon someone else's work and data as "competition" is to misunderstand the whole point of the scientific enterprise.
Read 5 tweets
Apr 1, 2018
I do not understand how David Reich and other geneticists find it so easy to slide from arguing that there might be mean population differences between different groups of humans to claiming that characterizing such differences will be useful somehow
Even if you stipulate that there's some genetic association between ancestry and some clinically or prophylactically actionable phenotype, isn't the whole point of modern genetics to ID the relevant variants so we can make predictions at the individual rather than group level?
Yes, in the absence of knowing someone's genotype the inferences one can make based on ancestry might have some narrow practical value. But surely this is transitory.
Read 7 tweets
Oct 4, 2017
This is all true, but also misses the mark in a critical way. Of course #NobelPrizes do distort science and misrepresent its history.
The #NobelPrizes are also so biased in favor of white men that it would be comical if it weren't so tragic and destructive.
But to once a year portray these as problems of #NobelPrize a massive mistake.
Read 8 tweets

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