Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?

Between January and June 2013, Science contributing correspondent John Bohannon submitted 304 fake research papers to open access journals. The papers were designed with such grave scientific flaws that they should have been rejected immediately by editors and peer reviewers.


A particularly disturbing quote from the “comments” to the article:

by colin butler

I was recently asked to be chief editor of a proposed new journal (about climate change and global health), by a representative of Versita, part of the De Gruyter publishing group, with over 300 journals.

I was to be remunerated (after 2 years) by receiving 10% of the fees for accepted articles; but was to be paid nothing for rejected papers. When I pointed out that this created a conflict of interest it was sadly apparent that the proposer did not understand the concept.

In 2007 we published a letter in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine calling for publishers to declare their conflict of interest. Even prestigious journals such as Nature and Lancet have conflicts of interest: see



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