Fake report on Star Wars' midi-chlorians fools real science journals

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Jul 27, 2017

Cardiff Giant hoaxster David Hannum nailed it over 150 years ago when he said that there's a fool born every minute.

Perfectly illustrating this point, a made-up research paper composed by a Discover Magazine writer and neuroscientist, who goes by the handle "Neuroskeptic." He created a faux study about those controversial Force-manifesting midi-chlorians from the Star Wars prequels and their effects on biology, hoping to ferret out disreputable online academic "journals."

These questionable scientific sites prey upon researchers, scientists, and authors hoping to achieve a wider audience for obscure works by charging them a fee to do so, often regardless of the papers' truth.

This fictional examination of midi-chlorians, an "absurd mess of factual errors, plagiarism, and movie quotes," inspired by the amusing meme series, was actually accepted by four journals, including The American Journal of Medical and Biological Research (SciEP), which demanded $360 for publication, the International Journal of Molecular Biology: Open Access (MedCrave), The Austin Journal of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, and The American Research Journal of Biosciences.

Neuroskeptic was astonished that the phony paper wasn't recognized as an impostor and rejected within minutes as a total sham. It not only used a whole passage from Revenge of the Sith's Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise monologue by Palpatine, but also hilariously named the authors as Dr. Lucas McGeorge and Dr. Annette Kin.

Thankfully, most of the online academic journals quickly saw through the ruse and returned the submission, sometimes with funny notes or suggestions of their own.

What do you think of this unscrupulous practice of charging for research articles to generate revenue, regardless of the work's veracity? Or are you more annoyed that you had to even address the ridiculous notion of midi-chlorians once more?

(via Nerdist)