Blog Posts

Fake Facts for Free

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Filed under: Media Pranks

From Wil:

Fake research paper accepted into hundreds of online journals
by Lindsay Abrams
October 4, 2013

A “sting” operation found that open-access journals will accept anything — for a price


The dream of open access to scientific knowledge has come up hard against the truism that you can”™t trust everything you read on the Internet.

A fabricated “” and highly flawed “” research paper sent to 304 online journals by John Bohannon, a science journalist at Harvard, was accepted for publication by more than half of them. The paper, about a new cancer drug, included nonsensical graphs and an utter disregard for the scientific method. In addition, it was written by fake authors, from a fake university in Africa and, as a final flourish, had been changed through Google Translate into French and back to English. Collaborators at Harvard helped him make it convincingly boring. (more…)

Sociopathic Social Research: How One Man Rigged Results for Academic Fame and Fortune

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Filed under: Fraud and Deception

Submitted by Peter Markus:

The Mind of a Con Man
By Yudhijit Bhattacharjee
New York Times
April 26, 2013

DiederikStapelOne summer night in 2011, a tall, 40-something professor named Diederik Stapel stepped out of his elegant brick house in the Dutch city of Tilburg to visit a friend around the corner. It was close to midnight, but his colleague Marcel Zeelenberg had called and texted Stapel that evening to say that he wanted to see him about an urgent matter. The two had known each other since the early “™90s, when they were Ph.D. students at the University of Amsterdam; now both were psychologists at Tilburg University. In 2010, Stapel became dean of the university”™s School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and Zeelenberg head of the social psychology department. Stapel and his wife, Marcelle, had supported Zeelenberg through a difficult divorce a few years earlier. As he approached Zeelenberg”™s door, Stapel wondered if his colleague was having problems with his new girlfriend.

Zeelenberg, a stocky man with a shaved head, led Stapel into his living room. “What”™s up?” Stapel asked, settling onto a couch. Two graduate students had made an accusation, Zeelenberg explained. His eyes began to fill with tears. “They suspect you have been committing research fraud.” (more…)