Earlier this year, I co-moderated a panel at Science Online about open access. To me, it was about the reputation economy in science, and how new journals and models could gain credibility in a changing publishing environment. Today, Science magazine published an article that is being described as a “sting” operation to test whether a fatally flawed paper could get published in open access journals.
The quick reaction from the online community: why wasn’t this investigation extended to subscription based journals? This is a completely valid criticism. As it ran, this article seems to have a predetermined end point: to show that open access publication is harmful to science.
I may have more to say about this later, but for now, I’m collecting reactions in the external links below.
Additional, 4 October 2013: Here’s a general problem with this sort of investigation. If you have studied statistics, you know there are two kinds of errors you can make: a “miss” (type I error) or a “false alarm” (type II error).
The Science article, and every case of hoax articles accepted by journals, is only getting at the “misses” of peer review: the crazy papers that should be rejected, but weren’t.
Nobody has a way of investigating the “false alarms” of peer review: decent papers that should not be rejected and published, but are denied for publication by reviewer or editor. I think everyone has stories of prominent, significant papers that were initially rejected that went on to have a big impact in the field. The issue here is that there is no agreement on what makes a paper acceptable for publication, particularly given that many journals screen for “importance,” which is completely subjective.
If you could do the experiment – “Here is a paper that is completely publishable, competent science. Now let’s see how many journals reject it.” – you might find that the rate of mistaken rejections is far higher than mistaken acceptances.
Science Online 2013: “Open access or vanity press?” appetizer
Who’s afraid of peer review? (Science magazine’s “sting”)
Live Chat: Exploring the 'Wild West' of Open Access (Recorded 10 October 2013; video of chat still available for review)
Science reporter spoofs hundreds of open access journals with fake papers
I confess, I wrote the Arsenic DNA paper to expose flaws in peer-review at subscription based journals
New “sting” of weak open-access journals
2009 reflection on the 2013 Bohannon sting.
Flawed sting operation singles out open access journals
John Bohannon’s peer-review sting against Science
Which is it?
Open access publishing hoax: what Science magazine got wrong
Science Magazine rejects data, publishes anecdote
How embarrassing was the ‘journal sting’ for Science magazine?
Open access “sting” reveals deception, missed opportunities
Who’s afraid of open access?
Academic publishing: Science’s Sokal moment
"Open access spam" and how journals sell scientific reputation
What Science’s “Sting Operation” reveals: open access fiasco or peer review hellhole?
Science Mag sting of OA journals: is it about Open Access or about peer review?
What’s “open” got to do with it?
Heads up new Science is a special issue on scholarly communication
Glam mag fucks up, news at 11
The troubled peer review system, the open access wars, & the blurry line between human subjects research & investigative journalism
On John Bohannon article in Science
What Science — and the Gonzo Scientist — got wrong: open access will make research better
Stones, glass houses, etc.
Predatoromics of science communication
Science gone bad, or the day after the sting
Fake cancer study spotlights bogus science journals
Science Magazine Conducts Sting Operation on OA Publishers: This article notes that at least four websites – I hesitate to call them journals – published the faked paper, against the wishes of the author. Two have since been withdrawn.
A publishing sting, but what was stung?
Science's open access challenge
Unscientific spoof paper accepted by 157 "black sheep" open access journals - but the Bohannon study has severe flaws itself
Critics say sting on open-access journals misses larger point
Hoax reveals ‘Wild West’ of open-access science journals
Fake science journals create a scholarly Wild West for fast money
The Wild West world of open-access journals
What hurts science – rejection of good or acceptance of bad?
It may have been a flawed #OpenAccess "Sting" but WE ROCKED IT so submit to our journal ...
Sting operation demonstrates the value of journal Impact Factors
About Science's open access “sting”
A veritable sting
The open access sting: a missed opportunity?
Science’s straw man sting
“Truthiness” isn’t quite truth, and “sciencey” isn’t quite science, even if published in Science: Mike Taylor’s “Anti-tutorial: how to design and execute a really bad study”
Science magazine’s open-access sting lacks bite
The good, the bad, and the ugly: Open access, peer review, investigative reporting, and pit bulls
Who is afraid of Peer review: Sting Operation of The Science: Some analysis of the metadata
The real peer review: post-publication
The Bohannon “Sting”; Can we trust AAAS/Science or is this PRISM reemerging from the grave?
Who was stung – open access or peer-review?
Why a Harvard scientist wrote a bogus paper and submitted it for publication - CBC Radio interview with Bohannon
Bohannon and Science: bogus articles and PR spin instead of peer review
Peer review quality is independent of open access
Fallout from John Bohannon’s “Who’s afraid of peer review”
Lessons from the faux journal investigation - 15 October 2013
Fallout from Science’s publisher sting: Journal closes in Croatia - Retraction Watch, 17 October 2013
The Science magazine hoax (mBio wasn’t fooled, in case you’re wondering) - mBiosphere, added 18 October 2013
John Bohannon’s Open Access sting paper annoys many, scares the easily scared, accomplishes relatively little - Melville House, added 20 October
DOAJ's response to the recent article in Science entitled “Who’s Afraid of Peer Review?” - Directory of Open Access Journals, added 21 October 2013
Second response to the Bohannon article 2013-10-18 - Directory of Open Access Journals, added 21 October 2013