When a scientist submits his or her recent findings in the form of a “paper” to a journal, the manuscript is sent to a panel of reviewers, fellow scientists who have agreed to read the submitted paper and criticize it for flaws in its reasoning, experimental setup, or data processing. This is known as the “peer-review process” and it forms the cornerstone of the scientific enterprise.
An article published in the journal Science today reveals the details of a hoax that was perpetrated over the course of a year to test, we are told, the open-access publishing model. While traditional journals like Science charge often-massive fees for anyone to access their papers, open-access journals charge the publishing authors a fee and allow their paper to be read by anyone. With traditional journals, you pay to read; with open-access, you pay to publish.
The hoax? A paper written by a fictional…
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