The Scientist (subscription required) published a story recently about how Merck — famous(!) for such drugs as Vioxx — created a fake journal to publish findings favourable to its products. The journal, entitled Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine, was even published by Elsevier, one of the largest journal publishers around. Obviously, I’m not aware of a lot of palaeontological groups that would have the marketing budget to pull this off, although the anti-evolution Creation Research Society does publish a journal called (unimaginitively) the Creation Research Society Quarterly Journal. While the public health issues with the Merck journal are obviously of much more importance, the CRS journal demonstrates that you don’t need a huge marketing budget to publish misinformation (although the CRS would argue that’s what I do too). I would imagine that in the migration to electronic formats for journals, that the financial barrier to entry in self-publishing a “science” journal would be getting smaller every day. Who knows, maybe soon we’ll have the Matthew Vavrek Journal of Awesome and Totally Accurate Research.
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