Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Easier Than Doing the Work

If you want to have your name included on a meta-analysis that's going to appear in a journal with an impact factor of about 3.4 without doing any of the work involved, it'll cost you $15,000, Scientific American reports.

Sciam's Charles Seife delves into to the world of what he calls "fill-in-the-blanks research."

He searched published scientific articles and found evidence that certain passages and phrases are being used over and over again in a variety of journals, with some phrases changed here and there. On their own, he notes, the papers don't seem so dubious. It's just when the same odd phrasings or error is repeated throughout the literature that suspicions arise — he notes seeing about a dozen versions of one paragraph with just the gene and disease names changed.

There are, Seife reports, organizations that will arrange paper authorships for people seeking a high-profile publication. Sciam had a Chinese-speaking reporter contact one such organization, MedChina, posing as a researcher. That reporter was offered an authorship for $15,000.

And journals are working to catch up — a few that Seife contacted weren't aware that there was a market for authorships.

"The whole system of peer review works on the basis of trust," Damian Pattinson, editorial director of PLOS ONE tells him. "Once that is damaged, it is very difficult for the peer review system to deal with."

The Scan

Interfering With Invasive Mussels

The Chicago Tribune reports that researchers are studying whether RNA interference- or CRISPR-based approaches can combat invasive freshwater mussels.

Participation Analysis

A new study finds that women tend to participate less at scientific meetings but that some changes can lead to increased involvement, the Guardian reports.

Right Whales' Decline

A research study plans to use genetic analysis to gain insight into population decline among North American right whales, according to CBC.

Science Papers Tie Rare Mutations to Short Stature, Immunodeficiency; Present Single-Cell Transcriptomics Map

In Science this week: pair of mutations in one gene uncovered in brothers with short stature and immunodeficiency, and more.