It's amazing some of the stuff that gets published in peer-reviewed scientific journals these days. For example, recently there was a paper published in a peer-reviewed journal in which the images appeared to be photoshopped
. The photoshopping was so badly done that it was obvious upon looking at the images that they were doctored. The paper was withdrawn after this was discovered, but why didn't the journal editors catch this before
it was published? Here are some other examples of questionable things that have made their way into journals.
- The supporting information for a recently published chemistry paper contained an editorial note that was inadvertently left in the published document. Not only did the journal's editors fail to catch this, but the paper's author is apparently being told to make up fake data: "Emma, please insert NMR data here! where are they? and for this compound, just make up an elemental analysis..." [url]
- A bizarre and completely unintelligible journal article that was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal has people wondering if it's a joke. The author spends most of the time explaining, in the most convoluted and incomprehensible manner, what the paper is apparently about, without really telling the audience what the paper is about. [url]
- The number of retracted scientific papers is increasing -- but not necessarily because more scientists are fabricating, falsifying, or modifying data. It's more likely because there is now an increased awareness of research misconduct, a greater audience thanks to the internet, and better software to detect plagiarism, image manipulation, etc. The blog Retraction Watch keeps track of scientific papers that have been retracted. [url]
- Check out some of last year's worst scientific mistakes, missteps, and misdeeds. These include at least one author who faked the e-mail addresses of and impersonated his paper's reviewers. [url]
If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post