1847: Dubious Study
Title text: Sounds fine. I looked up the Academy, and it says on their MySpace page that their journal is peer-viewed and downloaded biannually.
This comic alludes to the growing industry in disreputable academic journals, many of whom accept articles of dubious merit for publication without rigorous peer review on payment of a fee. In an attempt to sound legitimate (and thus attract submissions), many such publishers publish journals whose names sound mistakably close to (if not identical to) established titles. Here, the National Academy of Proceedings is a play on the highly regarded academic title Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA
The title text implies that this (at present) fictional journal has a dubious online presence in the faded internet site MySpace, where the publishers make claims that may be true but are misleading: "peer-viewed" sounds similar to "peer-reviewed", the community-led process of establishing a paper's scientific integrity prior to publication, but in fact means only that scientists have viewed the content (as Cueball is now). Likewise, some journals might be "published biannually", whereas "downloaded biannually" implies that the journal is read only twice each year. Single articles in high-profile journals such as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences would expect to receive hundreds to thousands of views in their first year of publication. The fictional journal publisher no doubt hopes that an inexperienced scientist may mistake these claims for meaningful statements of authority, and thus submit a paper (and eventually pay a fee for its publication).
The National Academy of Proceedings in fact sets itself apart from certain predatory journals by ensuring that the claims on its website are in fact factually accurate (if phrased to mislead article authors, particularly those with English as an additional language); some journals are openly dishonest on their websites.
[Megan is standing behind Cueball who is at a computer desk.]
- Megan: Are you sure this study is legit?
- Cueball: Sure, it says it was accepted for publication.
- Megan: Where?
- Cueball: Hmm... The National Academy of Proceedings.
- Caption: If something is if formatted like a serious scientific paper, it can take me a while to realise it isn't one.
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