Predatory Journals Hit By ‘Star Wars’ Sting

I’ve been contacted by editors who would just love for me to publish in international relations journals (I’m trained as an American literature specialist), or write a textbook on pretty much any topic I suggest. I’ve also seen my own web pages reproduced word-for-word, except for the removal of my name, in books other people have listed on their academic resumes. It’s very frustrating for students who find what appears to be the perfect peer-reviewed journal article that will help them prove the point they want to make in their term paper, only to have me call their source into question. (Why would a journal with “European Medical Technology” in the title publish a Malaysian undergraduate student’s honors paper on an obscure American poem about a Roman general?) This sting operation explains how such papers get published.

Inspired by previous publishing “stings”, I wanted to test whether ‘predatory‘ journals would publish an obviously absurd paper. So I created a spoof manuscript about “midi-chlorians” – the fictional entities which live inside cells and give Jedi their powers in Star Wars. I filled it with other references to the galaxy far, far away, and submitted it to nine journals under the names of Dr Lucas McGeorge and Dr Annette Kin. —Neuroskeptic

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